So, you’ve reached that point in life where the kids are grown and your days of working (full time anyway) are behind you. You now have the freedom to choose where and how you want to live. If flexibility and peace of mind are important to you, consider moving to an independent living community.
Also known as 55 plus, senior communities, or active lifestyle communities, independent living facilities offer the benefits of living in your own home, while having access to services and assistance that older adults may need. There are many reasons why this type of housing is rapidly becoming a popular choice amongst retirees.
Focus on life, not maintenance
As you get older, it’s normal that your needs and priorities change. The dream house that was perfect for raising a family may not be suited to your needs as you enter their golden years. Likewise, a fifth-floor apartment in the city center might start to lose its appeal if you crave a different type of lifestyle.
Even if you wish to remain at home, it can be tiring to keep up with the demanding maintenance schedule. Aging in place can be difficult in a multi-story home, and remodeling projects can be costly.
The homes in independent living communities are already designed with useful accommodations, such as grab bars and widened doorways. You can even find facilities that offer additional services, such as housekeeping and prepared meals.
Independent living communities also allow seniors to embrace the new chapter in their life by eliminating the need to devote time and energy to home maintenance. In most communities, outdoor spaces and exterior features are managed by a maintenance team. That means you’ll never have to mow the yard or clean a gutter ever again.
The option for continuing care
One hidden benefit of choosing an independent living facility is the possibility of continuing care. These communities house different levels of assisted senior living in one location.
Continuing care facilities also offer enough flexibility for couples to live together, even if they require different levels of support. It also eliminates the likelihood of being separated should either partner experience significant changes to their independence.
Since these communities have an on-site medical and caregiving team, it also provides safety and security for all residents. Should you need emergency medical attention, help is always nearby.
There are more than 2,000 continuing care communities in the U.S. and chances are, there is one near you. If you love your neighborhood, you don’t have to move, even if your care needs increase.
Maintaining social connection is important for everyone, but it is especially important for seniors who are more likely to experience loneliness. Independent living communities create an environment where it’s easy to meet and interact with people from your generation.
Independent living offers the best of both worlds when it comes to socialization. You can continue to host your family and friends in your own home for dinners and barbeques. At the same time, you can choose to attend events organized by the community and get to know your neighbors.
Many communities have common spaces where residents can take classes, watch movies, or play games together. Most communities are well-connected to public transit or will arrange transportation to bring residents to interesting nearby destinations.
The CDC recommends that people over the age of 65 engage in at least two and half hours of moderate exercise per week. Independent living facilities make it easy for their residents to reach this goal.
For example, many communities have onsite tennis courts, swimming pools, and pickleball fields. You can also join an activity club and go hiking or golfing with other residents.
It’s not unusual to find communities with excellent amenities like fully-equipped gyms. Otherwise, many independent living communities will offer their residents free or discounted passes to local sports clubs or fitness courses.
Perhaps the biggest selling point of an independent living facility is the emphasis on convenience. Most communities offer turn-key properties – many even fully furnished- that make moving and downsizing a breeze.
To maximize the independence of their residents, these facilities are often situated in well-planned communities that incorporate everything you need in your daily life. Supermarkets, hairdressers, and shopping centers are usually a short walk away.
Other independent living facilities are ideally located near economic and cultural hubs, so there’s always plenty to do and see.
If independent living seems right for you, start researching communities in your desired location. You can schedule a tour of the community, or even stay overnight to see if the lifestyle is a good fit for you.