Life at an independent living community means enjoying the convenience of a maintenance-free apartment, without the rigors of home and yard upkeep, cooking meals and other daily tasks. For many, independent living provides an exciting new opportunity, but the process of finding the right community can seem daunting.
Luckily, a few helpful tips – like accounting for how much assistance you need with daily tasks and knowing which amenities are most important to you – will help you navigate the many independent living options available. In this article, you’ll find the most important factors to consider as you look for a new home in a senior living community.
Know your budget
As you begin looking at communities, your budget will be one of the most important factors in choosing the place you’ll call home.
Your financial situation doesn’t just dictate which communities you can afford;, it also impacts how comfortable you’ll be in the one you choose. Finances can be a source of stress for people of any age, and knowing you’re financially secure in your new home will help you feel good about your decision to move.
Many residents pay their monthly costs through a variety of methods, such as Social Security income, savings and retirement accounts, the sale of an existing home, long-term care insurance, support from family members or a combination of these.
Budgeting for rent in an independent living community looks a little different than the typical budget for living at home. For example, the monthly rent at many senior living communities typically covers your apartment, utilities, food, transportation, maintenance and more. When comparing costs, it’s important to look at all the individual bills you’re accustomed to paying, and see what’s covered by the flat fee at the communities you’re most interested in.
Identify the level of care you need
Before moving, it’s important to have a realistic understanding of how much assistance you need to live safely and comfortably.
Independent living residents do not require routine care or assistance. They enjoy services like meal preparation, cleaning, transportation and more. If you’re in reasonably good health and don’t need medical assistance, independent living provides a low-maintenance lifestyle free from everyday tasks, affording you the freedom to spend your time as you choose.
Residents in assisted living communities may have declining motor function, so they receive support with day-to-day tasks like eating, bathing and getting dressed. Like independent living residents, they also enjoy having their meals prepared, cleaning, transportation and other services.
Don’t rule out independent living just because you need additional care, though. If you only need help with one aspect of daily life, like bathing, Holiday’s independent living communities welcome third-party providers to help with those tasks. This can reduce monthly costs and allow you to maintain an independent lifestyle. Those who don’t yet need assistance also find comfort in knowing that third-party care services can enable them to stay in their community if their needs change.
There are many online resources for older adults to determine their level of care. For example, this checklist from the American Association of Retired Persons (AARP) helps families assess whether their family member can remain fully independent or if assistance from caregivers is required.
Find the community that accommodates your preferences
What do you need to live well? After decades of working hard, caring for your home, and juggling bills and responsibilities, it’s time to spend your retirement the way you want. Quality senior living communities take care of the cooking, cleaning and even driving, so you can spend your days doing what you’re passionate about.
Knowing and prioritizing the services and amenities that matter most to you will help you identify a community that helps you live your best life right now.
Click the Photo Above to Start Your Senior Living Search Checklist.
Consider which of the following items are must-haves and which would be nice or aren’t important:
- Health and safety preparedness
- Caregiving assistance
- A large apartment
- Meals provided
- Diversity of menu items
- Cleaning service
- Outdoor space and access to parks
- Proximity to shopping, restaurants and cultural institutions
- Fitness equipment and classes
- Planned activities and outings
- The culture and age range of residents
Amenities, levels of care, culture and apartment layouts will vary from one community to another, so it’s important to know what features you need. Recreational activities, clubs and events are great perks to look for in addition to residence features. Whether you’re looking to start a boardgame night, join a bowling league, catch a live show or learn to paint – if there’s something you want to do, it’s important to know you can do it in your new community.
Keep in mind, you aren’t limited to communities in your area. Many people find this the perfect time to move to a dream destination. If you’ve always wanted to be close to the beach, moving to an independent living community can make it easy to take that leap.
See the communities for yourself
The best way to get a feel for any independent living community is to schedule an in-person visit or virtual tour. Planning a visit will give you a preview of the type of community you’ll be living in and the people you’ll call neighbors.
Independent living communities can vary in architecture, type of amenities, housing sizes and more. Sit down for a meal. Join a class or social event. Seeing the community in person will give you a good feel for what it would be like to live there. After all, it’s where you may spend some of the best years of your life – you deserve to know exactly what you’re getting.
Independent living communities near me
With our helpful retirement community search tool, you can easily find a Holiday community in your area. Browse nearby locations to learn more about their amenities, and schedule a visit or contact a representative for more information.
If you’re ready to take the next step and begin the search for your perfect new home, we’re here to help. Contact us today to learn more about life at Holiday and schedule a visit – we’d love to chat over coffee and answer any questions you may have.