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Blog Feature

By: Chelsea Sayegh on January 9th, 2018

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Your Guide to Senior Care: Independent Senior Housing

Adult children are tasked with many important decisions when it comes to the care and well being of their parents. While easing the transition through the aging process may seem overwhelming, the results can be fulfilling -- both for caregivers and seniors.

Read on to learn more about how to promote a fulfilling quality of life for your aging loved ones by enabling their sense of independence.

The more active your aging loved one remains, the more independent he/she will be. In fact, lack of activity leads to a higher risk of common trips and falls which compromise independence. A combination of daily strength training and cardiovascular activity offers optimal health benefits.

For many seniors, walking is an easy and effective way to reap the benefits of daily physical activity. Just be sure to consult with your aging loved one’s primary care physician before beginning a new exercise program.

Loneliness and isolation not only affect quality of life, but also longevity. Promote independence and longer life by fostering meaningful social interactions. Smartphones offer a new way to keep distant loved ones in touch with each other. While learning this new technology can be intimidating, the rewards are well worth it.

What can help encourage these activities and increase independence in your loved one is exploring the option of independent senior housing

Independent Living Communities

Despite its generic name, independent living in Connecticut means independent senior housing inside a community specifically set up for seniors. You own or rent a living space in the same manner as anywhere else, with the difference that you can get help with any of your daily activities easily and conveniently. Independent living communities are set up to encourage, but not compel, socialization while offering entertainment options.

Independent living retirement communities are usually limited to those 65 and older. The emphasis is on having a safe, secure and convenient environment. The communities provide small private apartments for independent living, but also generally have dining facilities that provide three meals a day for those who want to use it. People with canes, walkers and wheelchairs may be living independently, yet need the daily dining services. Laundry services, not just laundry rooms, should also be available.

Many communities have fairly lavish day rooms, craft rooms, libraries and media rooms. Organized activities are on the schedule such as exercise classes and group excursions to shopping areas or cultural events. Transportation to doctor's appointments is usually provided. Folks who live in these facilities do not need help with daily activities of living. They may privately hire people to assist them with their health needs, but nursing care is not provided by the independent living facility.

Residents in independent living apartments or communities take full advantage of being self-reliant.

Here are five (5) little known facts about independent living:

1. The Turning Point to the Meaning “Retirement”

Independent living is retirement living with a fresh twist. Retirement communities first appeared in the 1920s, and were dubbed a society where “older people didn’t have to see younger people work.” Frankly, most retired seniors still wished they could work. Soon, Florida became best known as host to a growing, active middle-class group of retirees and in their wake, golf courses tripled in the United States. With technology developments, leisure time now had an exciting new meaning for active seniors.

 

2. What it Takes to be an Independent Senior Housing Resident

Independent living is the ultimate goal for aging adults. Whether they remain in their own home or move out of the neighborhood and downsize, independent living is a personal decision and one also dictated by funds. However, most seniors who are fully able to take care of themselves will not wake up one day and suddenly move out of their homes of 40 years. It takes a certain mindset influenced by: 1) the passing of a spouse along with the refusal to live a sedentary, reclusive lifestyle, and 2) proactive thinking, particularly by those who plan for their retirement and want to be in a home environment that will accommodate their needs as they age (i.e one floor living, wheelchair accessible, location to relatives).

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3. No Heavy Legislative Checks and Balances

Of all the senior living options (and there are quite a few), independent living is the least supervised by the state for understandable reasons. This type of residence offers similar protection as any residential home, therefore a list of restrictive rules are not applicable here. One of the protections offered for independent living residents is controlled architectural design (called universal design) built to provide suitable living quarters for people with diverse physical abilities.

 

4. Sub-Levels of Independent Senior Housing

There are various sub-levels of independent living and all offer personal care services. These include:

  • Continuing Care Retirement Communities (CCRCs): offer three levels of care under one umbrella. As your needs change, you have the option to move from independent living to assisted living to skilled senior care.
  • Retirement Communities: provide a broad range of homes from condos to mobile homes for rent or for sale.
  • Senior apartments: offer the same amenities but on a smaller scale.
  • Subsidized housing: offer the same amenities and only a portion of the rent is paid privately.

 

5. Independent Living Trends

Architectural designs and services for seniors are continually changing to keep up with the new appreciation for and outlook on retirement. More sophisticated social programs, augmented with advanced technology are targeted for seniors like Baby Boomers who vow never to stop having fun, wearing lycra/spandex and never to have gray hair.

Making the Choice

Independent living is a positive senior living option that symbolizes free will and choice for seniors and tends to be the ultimate goal for all aging adults.

You should choose independent living if you remain capable of taking care of yourself without outside assistance but may still want some help from time to time with daily activities. Some options like Wesley Heights Cottages offer complete independence in a manageable setting, paired with perks such as social opportunities, snow and trash removal, and access to a library, hair salon, and wellness center. In short, independent living strikes a nice balance between the extremes of living totally by yourself and entrusting yourself to shared assisted living community. In contrast, if you require personal care but not to the point of needing constant attention, then assisted living might be a more suitable option.  

 

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About Chelsea Sayegh

I started working as a Marketing Coordinator for United Methodist Homes in October of 2016. I work on public relations, website management and community planning for their award winning independent and assisted living communities. As a graduate of Ursinus College with a degree in Media and Communications and a passion for serving nonprofits, United Methodist Homes has become my home away from home. I spend my days working in a community filled with smiling faces, helpful hands and wonderful residents. I have a passion for assisting seniors and take great pride in being able to promote a company with such a positive mission and values. As an individual committed to learning and growing, I have jumped right into this exciting career!

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