Independent Living

November 12, 2012

Independent Living

As we get older many of us have to start thinking about our current and future living arrangements. To make the right decision for yourself it is important to learn what choices are available to you.

Independent living is a housing arrangement that is particularly aimed at seniors who are aged over 55. The housing can vary from living in a house to considering moving into an apartment.

The main difference between the other housing options and independent living is the level of assistance that you will be offered in your day to day living. If you choose you can have a home help to assist with your independent living, the same as if you were in regular housing. If you or your spouse is in need of 24 hour care you may want to consider a nursing home or an assisted living facility.

In the United States there are senior housing complexes that are subsidized by the Department of Housing and Urban Development that are available to seniors who are on a low income. In certain areas you may find yourself on the waiting list for many years so it’s good to plan in advance if you want to consider this.

Senior apartments are complexes that have an age restriction of 55 years and over placed on them. The rent for these apartments may include transport services, recreational programs and meals that are served in a communal dining room.

A retirement community is a group of units of houses for seniors over 55 years of age. The units may be duplex, townhouses, mobile homes, single family homes or condo. Should you wish to buy one of these units you may have to pay a monthly fee to cover the clubhouse, recreation centre or maintenance of the outside areas.

CCRCs (Continuing care retirement communities) offer a service and housing that will allow you to access assisted living, skilled nursing facilities and independent living in the one community. If a resident feels they need more help with their daily living arrangements they are able to transfer to one of the skilled nursing facilities or assisted living facility that is located in the same site.

There are some things to consider when you are thinking of giving up your present living arrangement and these are:

  • Acknowledge your emotions at this new stage in your life, as although you are having difficulty in maintaining your home or you feel it is too big for you, you may not want to move.

  • When making such a big decision feelings of stress and anxiety are normal emotions.

  • It may be you feel it is becoming more and more difficult to meet up with friends.

  • Gather as much information as you can about independent living before making any decisions.

  • Talk with your family and friends if you feel that the anxiety is becoming too much for you to cope with.

  • If you live in an area where you need transportation you may find yourself feeling isolated. Living independently can offer you the opportunity to socialize on the same site and transport is offered if there are activities not on site.

It doesn’t matter what type of facility you want to consider but do make sure you feel comfortable in the community that you have chosen. Gather information on the activities that are available, what is your opinion of the staff and how do you find the other residents. All of this has to be taken into consideration before making a decision.

There is no hard and fast rule for a community that has independent living facilities. It is completely up to you and what you prefer. Do you like a smaller community or do you like a busy community? What sort of housing style do you prefer, could you live in an apartment or do you want to live in a detached house? Plan for the future when looking at an independent living facility, e.g. if you require ramps can they be installed, can the units be adapted easily.

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