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What is Independent Living?

Independent living communities are also known as retirement communities, retirement homes or senior housing. For today's baby boomers and seniors, retirement living communities offer a broad range of intellectual, physical and social activities to enhance golden years' enjoyment.

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Enjoying the Golden Years of Retirement

The retirement years should be enjoyable. In fact, some say they're the best years of life since you don't have to deal with the stresses of mortgage, kids and jobs.

When a senior chooses an independent living community, he or she has the physical and mental capacity to live independently, but wants companionship from others his/her age. And independent senior living provides not only socialization, it also provides fun activities and stimulation.

Independent living communities offer specific services and amenities that cater to senior citizens and promote active, healthy lifestyles for the golden years. Here are a few of the active lifestyle offerings at retirement living communities:

  • Community involvement
  • Continuing sense of self
  • Amenity-filled, maintenance-free living
  • On-site and off-site activities

Retirement Community Costs

Many independent living communities offer a carefree lifestyle, free of  everyday living responsibilities, such as meal preparation, housekeeping, laundry and house maintenance. Independent living costs can vary by retirement community, based on the size of the apartment, geographical location of the community and the services needed at the community. According to Genworth.com, the average cost of a one-bedroom, independent living or retirement community in the U.S. in 2012 was $2,750 a month.

Often times there is a basic rate that covers all independent living services, with an additional fee for special services. Here are some typical services included in independent living:

  • Monthly rent and all-inclusive utilities, except local telephone services and cable
  • One to three restaurant-style, chef-prepared meals in a community dining room
  • Maintenance repairs, including appliance, safety and living repairs and updates
  • Housekeeping, including laundering of linens and towels
  • Weekly, socially-engaging activities
  • Transportation for shopping, medical and off-site activities

It's important to ask each community about their individual costs and services, as they can vary by community. For example, concierge and guest services may include an additional cost.

Services Offered in Independent Living

Some independent living communities offer a wide variety of non-medical services:

  • Comfortable private, or semi-private, rooms
  • One to three daily, home cooked meals
  • Basic housekeeping and laundry service
  • Exercise and activity programs
  • Onsite beauty and barber salon
  • Social programs and activities
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