Independent living provides seniors with convenience, community, and peace of mind. By eliminating tedious chores from seniors’ to-do lists, stress levels drop while quality of life improves.
This popular style of senior living gives residents full control over their day-to-day schedule, while offering a range of social activities, companionship, meals, and 24/7 security. Senior independent living is designed for people who want an easier lifestyle, but don’t require help with activities of daily living, such as reminders to take medicine or assistance with bathing or dressing.
“Independent living provides older adults with freedom from chores, a new social environment to build a network of friends, and emotional support,” says Kathleen Leonard, a Senior Living Advisor at A Place for Mom and former director of an independent living community. “The entire community becomes their home, not just their apartment.”
Independent living communities vary in size, services, and design. Whether you choose a resort-style community with high-tech amenities or a cozier, homelike option, there are many more independent living services and amenities than people may realize, says Leonard.
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Most independent living communities have an activities director who schedules, promotes, and manages events. Some activities may even be planned and personalized to fit residents’ specific interests. Seniors have the freedom and flexibility to pick and choose from a calendar of options or plan their own activities — onsite or off-site — with family and friends.
“Some weekly activities may include painting, crafts, or chair yoga exercises,” Leonard says. “For holidays, they typically have amazing parties filled with barbecues, buffets, music, and field trips to fun places like beaches, museums, parks, or to watch fireworks.”
Additional senior independent living activities may include:
Seniors in independent living can say goodbye to grocery shopping and unhealthy, last-minute take-out. Arguably one of the best independent living amenities is the fresh, chef-prepared meals that are readily available.
“Meals are made from scratch and cater to a broad variety of people,” says Leonard. Many communities offer customized meal plans — such as vegetarian or diabetic options — based on a person’s nutritional needs and preferences.
Residents can generally expect breakfast, lunch, dinner, snacks, and sometimes brunch on the weekends, as well as special meals for holidays. Many senior independent living communities offer buffet or restaurant-style dining options, and a 24-7 snack bar, which may include fruit, cookies, water, and yogurt.
In independent living, seniors enjoy a variety of lifestyle services and amenities just a few steps away. No more driving place to place for haircuts, pedicures, or to stay active. Many communities make it easy to socialize with friends and family onsite by featuring communal areas that can be rented out by residents to host birthday parties, game nights, or other events.
Independent living amenities may also include:
To save seniors’ time and energy, independent living communities schedule weekly room cleanings, broken appliances repairs, outdoor landscaping maintenance, snow shoveling when necessary, and assistance with transportation to the store or medical appointments.
Household and transportation independent living services may include:
“The entire staff at a community is there to help and assist residents in any way needed,” says Leonard. Each community protects residents differently. From being on-site for emergencies to ensuring community areas are well-lit, there are many ways staff prevent accidents and monitor residents safety.
Safety features may also include:
Seniors are able to live a carefree lifestyle without having to deal with the hassle of familiar and dreaded chores. Independent living enables seniors to make their own decisions and maintain privacy, all while having their essential needs met conveniently in one place.
Many independent living communities offer all-inclusive pricing, so there’s no need to worry about managing bills.
If independent living sounds like a good fit for you or a loved one, contact our Senior Living Advisors to learn more about the variety of amenities and services in communities near you, and how to take a virtual tour.
Merritt Whitely is an editor at A Place for Mom. She developed health content for seniors at Hearing Charities of America and the National Hearing Aid Project. She’s also managed multiple print publications, blogs, and social media channels for seniors as the marketing manager at Sertoma, Inc.