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Independent Living

What is Independent Living?

Independent Living is designed for active and healthy seniors who want to live independently and not have to worry about any house chores and maintenance. Other common names associated with this type of senior living are Retirement Communities, Senior Apartments, Retirement Living, Active lifestyle, Active Adult Community, 55 + Communities and Senior Communities.

Independent Living allows seniors to participate in a variety of recreational activities. This type of senior living community provides lots of opportunities for older adults to socialize. Independent living is based on a large-scale community, focused on an active and entertaining lifestyle for people aged 55 and over. These senior facilities are appropriate for retired seniors, who want to live in a community with full amenities similar to a resort-type lifestyle.

Generally, independent living communities provide 24-hour building security. Since residents maintain their independence, assistance with daily living such as bathing, dressing, toileting, grooming, and medication assistance are not provided. If the senior residents require any help with activities of daily living, then assisted living should be considered. However, it is important to note as well that several independent living communities work with 3rd party caregivers who can assist with activities of daily living. It will be best to contact the Independent Living Communities directly to check on this or you can contact one of our Senior Care Advisors at 877-523-6523 for more details.

In this section, we will explain the difference of independent living and the other senior living options. We will include topics that can help families determine whether or not Independent Living would be the right senior living option for you, or your elderly loved ones.

Let’s discuss the different types of Independent Living communities so you can have a better understanding to help you and your families make the best-informed senior housing decision.


 

Senior Apartments

Senior apartments usually require residents to be at least 55 years old. They are similar to Retirement Communities but may not have as many amenities. Senior apartments offer their senior residents different floor plans like studio, one-bedroom or two-bedroom apartments. Typically, the apartments have full kitchens and bathrooms. Plus, all the apartments have safety features like handrails, grab bars, illuminated pathways and are usually handicap accessible. Senior apartments give their senior residents a home-like feel.

There are 2 types of Senior Apartments- you can usually find a Low-income Senior Apartment that is usually subsidized by the government to help low-income seniors with their housing needs. On the other hand, there is also Luxury Senior Apartments that cater to seniors who can afford luxury services and amenities.


 

What is the cost for Senior Apartments?

The cost of the senior apartment will depend on the location and the floor plan you choose. Low-income senior apartments maybe less than $1000 per month and the luxury senior apartments can cost more than $5000 a month.

Senior Apartments are generally appropriate for the following:
• Older adults who are 55+ years old
• Retired seniors
• Independent Senior Citizens who don’t require assistance with Activities of Daily Living like bathing, dressing, toileting, transferring and medication assistance.
• People who want to maintain their independence for as long as possible
• Do not like to do any house chores and maintenance
• Seniors who downsize
• Looking for lower cost – not having to pay for property tax and other costs related to maintaining a home
• Active adults who love to travel so they don’t need to worry about their place while traveling as Senior Apartments have 24-hour security.
• Seniors who want to be in a community-setting for more socialization and interaction.
• Older adults who do not require medical assistance daily

If you need help locating a Senior Apartment for your or your older relative, please contact our Expert Senior Care Advisors at 877-523-6523 for free options with pricing and availability information.


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Retirement Communities or Retirement Homes

Retirement Communities are for seniors who are active, alert and would like to remain independent as long as possible. Retirement Communities are luxury senior apartments that are recently updated or renovated with modern features and amenities. Retirement Communities offer different types of housing options, which include large spacious room, villas and cottages. Retirement communities offer a luxury resort-style living for seniors.

Typically, retirement communities have a lot of programs and activities that are suited for seniors with healthy active lifestyle. Amenities may include gym/fitness center, pools, spas, tennis courts, walking and biking trails. Some of the retirement communities are located near beaches or golf courses.


 

How much Do Retirement Communities Cost?

The cost for Retirement Communities is higher compared to Senior Apartments. The fees will depend on location and the type of room or housing option you choose. Retirement Communities have a lot of amenities and services so the cost typically starts at about $3000 per month and can go up to more than $8000 per month. Keep in mind too that some of the Retirement Communities have expensive entry fees while others only require minimal community fees.

Retirement Communities would be a good fit for the following:

• Older adults that are 55+ years old
• Retired seniors who want to be around other seniors
• Seniors who want to maintain a healthy and active lifestyle
• People who love to socialize and participate in daily activities
• Seniors who do not want to worry about household chores and maintenance
• Enjoys gourmet meals and fine dining
• Independent seniors who do not require medical assistance
• Seniors who do not like to worry about safety and security since 24-hour security service is always provided.

If you are ready to find a Retirement Community that will fit your lifestyle, contact our friendly, Expert Senior Care Advisors at 877-523-6523 for a list of options with pricing and availability information.


 

Continuing Care Retirement Communities (CCRC)

Continuing Care Retirement Communities are senior living communities that offer a wide variety of senior care services. This type of senior living community provides their residents access to independent living, assisted living, memory care and skilled nursing care. All the services are provided in the same senior living community. Generally, seniors who choose CCRCs are active and independent. They like the convenience of aging in place. When the time comes that the seniors will need any long-term care services, moving to another senior care facility won’t be necessary. Residents of Continuing Care Retirement Communities are assured that all their future care needs can be provided in the same Senior Living community.


Cost for Continuing Care Retirement Communities:

Continuing Care Retirement Communities, also referred to as “Life Plan Community: require an entrance fee before the senior will be allowed to live in the community. The entrance fee for this type of Senior Living Community starts at $100,000 and can go up to more than $1,000,000. On top of the entrance fee, the typical monthly fees can range from $3,000 to about $6,000 per month.
It is important to know that entrance fees may not be refundable if the senior dies or moves out. CCRCs usually have several payment options and contracts to choose from. Some communities will allow you to pay a higher entrance fee to help reduce the monthly payments, while some will require a smaller entrance fee but with higher monthly costs.
Before you sign the contract be sure to read all the policies including rate increases, add on services and refunds to ensure that the Continuing Care Retirement Communities will be the best option for your health and money-wise. It is always a good idea to consult your lawyer and financial advisor before making your decision.

Continuing Care Retirement Communities may be the right option for the following:

• Older adults that are 55+ years old
• Seniors who want to maintain a healthy and active lifestyle for as long as possible
• Loves socialization and interaction with other seniors
• Senior Couples who want peace of mind that they can continue to live together despite the change in their medical condition.
• Seniors who do not like to worry about safety and security since 24-hour security service is always provided.
• People who have the means to pay for the entrance fee that will allow them to have a lower monthly fee that will cover for all the services provided in the community.

 


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Things To Consider When Searching for Independent Living Communities

Finding the right independent living community require time, to help you research available options. You do not want to rush your decision as you want to make sure that you are making the best-informed decision for your or your elderly loved ones. Let’s discuss the important things you may want to consider when choosing the right Independent Living Community.

 

1. Current Residents, Caregivers and Staff members

One main aspect to look at is the current residents, caregivers and staff members in the Independent Living community. Be sure to observe the people in the community and try to picture yourself or your aging loved one there. Ask them questions so you’ll have a feel of how they interact with residents in the community. Are they friendly, respectful and knowledgeable? If you feel comfortable with the people in the community and can picture yourself or your elderly loved one living in that community, then it may be a good fit.

2. Social Activities and Amenities

Are you looking for an Independent Living Community that provides lots of activities and social interactions? How about amenities, are you looking for something in particular? Maybe a tennis court, swimming pool or spa?
Activities and amenities vary per community so be sure to ask for a their Activities calendar and a list of amenities to ensure that they will have what you are looking for.

3. Caregiving and other Health Services

Independent Living communities are generally for people who are alert and independent. It’s more for seniors who do not really need assistance with Activities of Daily Living like bathing, dressing, toileting, grooming and med management. However, most of the Independent Living communities work with 3rd party caregiving agencies that can help with day-to-day tasks.
If “Aging in Place” is something you or your aging loved one is considering, it is important to find a senior living community that provides caregiving and other health related services. This is an important factor to consider so moving to another senior care community won’t be necessary when changes in health conditions occur.

4. Finances and Payment options

Before selecting the right Independent Living that fits your needs, it is important to check your finances and determine your budget. You might want to consult your financial advisor about this to help with your long-term care planning expenses.
Be sure to talk to the Independent Living Community Director or Business Office Manager to determine their pricing structure, annual increases, and other fees that the community charges. Find out what their billing and payment policies are. Once you have all the documents in writing, review the contract carefully. You want to make sure that you can afford the monthly cost and other fees in the community.

5. Location

When selecting an Independent Living community, most families consider the location as one of their top priorities. Seniors and their families want to make sure that the community is in a convenient location to make it easier for friends and families to visit. Finding a community near their doctors are also important.


Independent Living Amenities

Amenities for Independent Living communities vary. It may include game rooms, libraries computer rooms, golf, swimming pools, tennis, fitness centers, beauty and barber shops, cafes, clubhouses and beautifully landscaped outdoor areas. They also have private apartments with several floor plans, meal service, weekly housekeeping and linen service, common areas for socializing with other seniors, concierge, and transportation services.


Activities

Activities and programs in Senior Independent Living facilities may vary depending on the actual size of the community. Usually, large Independent Living facilities offer a wider range of senior activities and programs as they have more senior participants. Educational trips, fitness classes, cultural programs, spiritual events and religious services may also be available in these types of communities.

Many of these facilities can also offer long-term continuing care that provides for housing, residential services, and nursing care in one location, and usually for a resident’s lifetime. Personalized services like assistance with grooming, medication reminders, monthly wellness check and more may be arranged to help meet the changing needs of independent living residents.


Are pets allowed in Independent Living Communities?

This is probably one of the most popular questions we get from families. Most Independent Living Communities are pet friendly. Seniors are usually allowed to bring their pets for as long as they are able to take care o their fur babies.
Senior Living communities recognize the benefits and importance of pets to senior’s health. However, pet policies and rules vary per community.

To learn more about pet policies, rules and services in Independent Living Communities in your area, contact the facility directly or talk to one of our friendly Expert Senior Care Advisors today. Call 877-523-6523.


Paying for Independent Living Communities

Independent Living Communities are usually an out-of-pocket expense. Medicare and Medicaid do not pay for independent living facilities. However, Medicare and Medicaid may pay if it’s the senior will require long-term care.

There are several ways to pay privately for independent living. Seniors may use their monthly income or their retirement money while some may use their retirement benefits. Let’s discuss some of the most common ways to pay for independent living or retirement communities:

1. Monthly Income or Retirement Fund

Most seniors use their monthly income and retirement fund to pay for independent living fees. Some of the monthly funds are from the senior’s retirement account distributions, stock investments or income from any investment properties.

2. Social Security and Pensions

Most seniors who received social security retirement benefits use this monthly income to help pay for their monthly rent independent living communities.

3. Income from Selling Their House

Some people decide that as they age, a big house is no longer needed. As a result, they decide to downsize, sell their home and move to an independent living community. The income they get from selling their home is used for paying for the cost related to moving to a retirement community.

4. Government Housing Assistance

The government may help pay for independent living by offering housing vouchers for low-income seniors. Check the U.S Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) website for qualifications and requirements. Please note that not all Independent Living Communities accept the housing vouchers. Contact your local HUD office for more details:

5. Supplemental Security Income (SSI)

This is provided by the Social Security Administration for people who have very limited income and resources. According to the Social Security Office, to qualify for this benefit, the elderly must have less than $2,000 or less than $3,000 for married couples. Contact your local Social Security office to check if you or your senior loved one is eligible for this benefit. You can also call 1-800-772-1213. Visit the Social Security Administration Website for more details on how very low-income seniors can take advantage of this SSI benefit to help pay for Independent Living.


 

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