A Place for Mom
Assisted Living
Memory Care
Independent Living
Senior Living
Elderly woman recieving flowers from a younger man

Are You Ready for Independent Living? Ask Yourself These 14 Questions

Written by Claire Samuels
5 minute readLast updated August 31, 2020

You aren’t ready to sacrifice your independent lifestyle, and you don’t need medical assistance or extra help. You may not feel ready for senior living, despite the increasing difficulty of home maintenance, chores, and transportation to activities and social events. Independent living communities are designed for aging adults who don’t need assisted living or a nursing home but are interested in a relaxing, stress-free lifestyle.

Let our care assessment guide you

Our free tool provides options, advice, and next steps based on your unique situation.

Take our free care quiz

A transition to independent living can offer the support you need to pursue passions, learn new things, and spend quality time with friends and the people you love. If you desire an active lifestyle, independence, and peace of mind as you age, consider these 14 questions to see if an independent living community is the right fit for you.

Let our care assessment guide you

Our free tool provides options, advice, and next steps based on your unique situation.

  1. Are obligations taking time away from doing what you love? Adults 65 and older who live in their own homes spend nearly three hours a day on chores like cleaning, shopping, and laundry, according to a survey by AgeWave consultants. Those same seniors spend only 30 minutes socializing, and virtually no time learning or engaging in new activities.
  2. Do you feel isolated at home? Almost 13.8 million seniors are aging alone, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. While living alone doesn’t inevitably lead to senior loneliness, the two often go hand-in-hand. Isolation can negatively affect mental health and well-being, and may increase the risk of diseases and early mortality, research suggests. Independent living communities offer daily social opportunities without the hassle of transportation or plans.
  3. Are you ready to pursue your passions? An independent living retirement grants you the opportunity to pursue interests you didn’t have time for while working or raising a family. Inclusive activities like painting, music, and gardening allow you to rediscover old passions or find new ones.
  4. Does your house feel too big? An average home in the United States is 2,500 square feet. As an empty nester, maintaining that space can be time-consuming and expensive. Independent living offers multiple floor plans, from studio apartments to two-bedroom cottages to help you downsize.
  5. Is life feeling hectic or loud? Most independent living communities require residents to be 55+. This means no noisy children or rowdy parties in your neighborhood. Float in a splash-free pool, enjoy a quiet evening on your porch, or dine in an adults-only restaurant.
  6. Is fitness a focus? Regular exercise can help older adults stay independent and prevent health problems that come with age, according to the National Council on Aging. It recommends 30 minutes of light physical activity at least five times a week — a goal that can be difficult for seniors who aren’t motivated to exercise at home or go to classes at a senior center. Independent living communities often offer on-site gyms and classes designed for older adults. Options like water aerobics, yoga, and hiking clubs ensure there’s something everyone will enjoy.
  7. Are you worried about expensive home repairs or conserving financial resources? 24-hour staff makes frantically searching the Yellow Pages for a plumber a thing of the past. On-site maintenance can assist with everything from hard-to-reach light bulbs to water leaks — at no cost to you. While you generally can’t deduct independent living on your taxes, some people can deduct qualifying medical expenses related to independent living.
  8. Do you feel secure in your neighborhood and home? Independent living communities often have nightly security patrols, alarm systems, up-to-date locks, and other safety features. These added security protocols reduce the risk of burglary, and there’s no need to ask for someone to watch your house or pick up your mail when you travel.
  9. Does lawn maintenance feel tedious? The average U.S. household mows the lawn every two weeks. Over 50 years of home ownership, that’s 1,300 long afternoons of mowing. At independent living communities, maintenance staff keeps lawns and paths well-groomed. Enjoy a cold beer on your lawn chair, without any of the work!
  10. But what if you like working in the yard? One unique feature of independent living is being able to choose which parts of home maintenance you like and which you’d prefer to pass along. For example, if you enjoy yard work, but not tedious tasks like raking leaves and mowing, you can exercise your green thumb in the community garden, plant window boxes, or volunteer at a local garden club.
  11. Are you worried about accessibility? Independent living communities are designed for seniors, so there’s no need to worry about making safety modifications to fit your needs. Most communities have low thresholds, widened doorways, and elevators for upper-level homes. Grab bars, fall alert systems, and walk-in tubs are other common features.
  12. Do you want to learn and explore? Continued learning reduces the likelihood of dementia in aging adults, according to Johns Hopkins Medicine. Independent living communities may offer guest lectures from local professors, have weekly language lessons, or promote book clubs. Flower arranging, computer literacy, and even mechanics are other common opportunities.
  13. Are you interested in a vibrant social life? Independent living offers plenty of opportunities to relax at home or be part of a crowd. Fill your calendar with activities like happy hours, cooking classes, poker, and dance nights with friends and peers – or spend a quiet evening on the couch if you’d prefer alone time.
  14. Do you want to maintain independence and age in place? The amenities and services in independent living communities allow seniors to live life to the fullest without sacrificing their freedom. You can travel knowing your home is cared for, host friends in your new apartment, and enjoy outings to local theaters and museums without worrying about transportation. Independent living provides the resources you need to pursue and enjoy the lifestyle you want.


National Council on Aging. “Senior Fitness and Exercise.”

AgeWave. “5 Myths and Realities.” https://agewave.com/wp-content/uploads/Five-Myths-Report_FINAL.pdf

Talk with a Senior Living Advisor

Our advisors help 300,000 families each year find the right senior care for their loved ones.

HSH. “Is Your House the Typical American Home?”

Johns Hopkins Medicine. “Does Higher Learning Combat Dementia?” https://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/health/wellness-and-prevention/does-higher-learning-combat-dementia


Meet the Author
Claire Samuels

Claire Samuels is a senior copywriter at A Place for Mom, where she helps guide families through the dementia and memory care journey. Before transitioning to writing, she gained industry insight as an account executive for senior living communities across the Midwest. She holds a degree from Davidson College.

The information contained on this page is for informational purposes only and is not intended to constitute medical, legal or financial advice or create a professional relationship between A Place for Mom and the reader. Always seek the advice of your health care provider, attorney or financial advisor with respect to any particular matter, and do not act or refrain from acting on the basis of anything you have read on this site. Links to third-party websites are only for the convenience of the reader; A Place for Mom does not endorse the contents of the third-party sites.

Make the best senior care decision