group of seniors posing for a selfie while playing cards at an independent living facility

What is Independent Living?

May 11, 2023

Independent living enables aging loved ones to live their life on their own terms and, for the most part, without needing to rely on external help. It’s a lifestyle choice that focuses on self-reliance and autonomy, allowing individuals to make decisions for themselves and continue taking responsibility for their lives.

This type of living solution often includes living in one’s own home, or in an independent living community. An aging loved one taking advantage of this will still be handling their own personal needs, and making decisions about one’s health, finances, and more. Independent living is especially important for seniors who wish to remain active and independent as they age.

For those with disabilities or chronic health conditions, independent living can still be an option and provide greater freedom, independence, safety, and quality of life.

smiling senior woman sits with a nurse for an assessment

The Different Types of Independent Living Options

Independent living is an attractive option for many seniors who want to remain in control of their lives while still having access to the support they need. Knowing about the different types of independent living options available is very essential to making an informed decision about where to live.

From senior apartments and retirement communities to continuing care retirement communities, there are several options varying levels of independence and support. In an article in US News and World Report, “Independent living is classified into six domains: hearing, seeing, mobility, communication, cognition and self-care.”

The type of independent living options will depend on the amount of assistance needed to support the independent lifestyle.

seniors dancing at an independent living social activity

Benefits of an Independent Living Facility

Of course, this lifestyle offers many benefits as it has the potential of least impact on one’s personal independence. As we age, it’s essential for us to hang on to as much freedom and autonomy as possible, for as long as it’s safe to do so.

An independent living facility offers several benefits, including all-inclusive rent, meals that are prepared, less of a daily burden of chores and household responsibilities.

A facility also offers the best of two worlds – privacy and community. A facility like this is very much like an enhanced apartment with amenities geared around supporting an independent lifestyle. You’ll have the privacy of your own unit, but there is also often a thriving community with social events and activities.

senior couple sits outside on a bench having a conversation at their independent living facility

Preparing for Independent Living

Preparing for an independent lifestyle as a senior can certainly be a daunting task. With the right plan and resources, it is absolutely achievable. The process can be complicated, as you’ll want to determine what kind of independence you’re looking for, what your level of care needs will be and how you’ll pay for it.

If you have savings and retirement accounts socked away, you might be in great shape. You might have equity tied up in your home or other properties that will need to be sold to pay for facility fees and rent. There is also the need to downsize and so much more.

This is where a free assessment with a team like ours can come in and really help you and your loved ones understand what options are available and how to best help you prepare.

a senior couple enjoy mimosas at their independent living community room

The time to start planning for independent living is now

You might be looking at this for an aging loved one. You might also discover that there is a lot that needs to be done and put into place to make sure this transition is as smooth as possible. The thing to realize is that it is never too early to start planning ahead for independent living options.

Talking with a financial planner, an estate planner and attorney are big steps. And getting in touch with a placement service early will help you be ready for the pitfalls that lie ahead for this kind lifestyle adjustment.

While no one really wants to think about what they’ll need to do when they start slowing down a little, it’s better to know what options are available to you, and your loved ones, before the time comes.