As people get older, they are eventually faced with the decision of where and how to live. This is especially true after the death of a partner or a spouse or when a new medical situation presents itself. For some people, they may want to live independently, but an illness or disability prevents them from living completely on their own. For others, income presents a difficulty for keeping up a home. And still for others, they may be able to live on their own, but they want the social interactions communal living provides. There are many reasons someone may decide it is time to move to an independent living home.
Independent living communities offer a fairly active and independent lifestyle while also providing social opportunities to connect with other people who are in the same age group and who share common interests. By being able to forego chores such as meal planning/preparation, laundry and housekeeping, and by having access to a calendar of organized activities, seniors are given the opportunity to enjoy their retirement without the responsibilities of owning their own home.
Since independent living communities are designed for “independent” seniors, the features and amenities provided in each private, individual living space are similar to those one would see in a small home or apartment. These “apartments” usually include a small living area and full-service kitchen giving them the opportunity to prepare and host their own dinners when they want, while often offering multiple communal dining experiences as well.
Independent living offers a chance for seniors to experience the joy of community and activity while not having to worry about the daily grind and upkeep of home life.
Independent living differs from assisted living in that assisted living homes have more around the clock medical staff, are more involved in daily activities such as bathing, eating, toileting, etc., and often have memory care units attached to them for those with dementia or Alzheimer’s disease. The biggest difference between an independent living home and an assisted living home is the presence of full-time medical and custodial care offered in assisted living homes.
When deciding between living in an assisted living home or an independent living home, it’s necessary to weigh the needs of the senior. There are many facilities that offer both independent and assisted living care, as well as memory care. These facilities can be the best of both worlds as you can determine with time which space is the best for the individual.