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Last Updated on July 15, 2018

There are various senior housing options available as one ages. In this article, we will discuss how to choose the best one for your elderly parents or loved ones.

Independent assisted living communities are designed for seniors who are able to live on their own. They also provide the security and conveniences of community living. These communities are also called by other names, such as retirement communities, active 55+ communities, congregate living, and senior apartments.

Why Choose Independent Assisted Living Communities?

The decision to leave a primary home for one of these facilities is usually based on a number of factors. These include needing a smaller space, not wanting to deal with outside maintenance, or seeking the security of being in a gated community.

Others may choose independent assisted living communities because they enjoy being around their peers who share similar interests. Some also foresee the day when they might need additional assistance, and seek to live in a community that provides a broad range of health and medical services they can access if needed.

Typically, retirement and independent assisted living communities are for the “younger” seniors. In other words— those who are in good health and are still active. Independent assisted living communities come in all forms and tend to be oriented toward recreation. Some offer accelerated services depending on changing needs. For instance, they could offer in-home care services as extensive as skilled nursing and Alzheimer’s care.

Depending on the services and amenities offered, prices can range from low cost to moderate and high cost. Here are some questions seniors should ask themselves before they move into independent assisted living communities:

  • Does the community meet your recreation, entertainment, and social needs?
  • Is the staff welcoming?
  • Are the residents people with whom I would feel comfortable living around?
  • How easy or difficult would it be for friends and loved ones to come and visit me?
  • What restrictions are there on young children being present?
  • Is there a gated entrance and/or security guards?
  • Is there an organization for residents to voice their views to management?
  • How close are the nearest medical facilities?
  • Is there convenient parking available?
  • Is there public transportation?
  • Are there a lot of stairs to climb, if any?
  • Will my unit be equipped with grab bars in the bathrooms, or have similar independent living aids?

When your elderly parent or loved one has answered those questions and found an independent assisted living community that’s right for them, the next step is to familiarize yourself with community association life and its fees. For example, you should always inquire about possible additional charges for the following:

  • Maintenance and repair
  • Gardening services
  • Fire and theft insurance
  • Snow plowing
  • Trash collection
  • Water & other utilities
  • Health club fees
  • Cable/satellite TV
  • Internet

Getting all the information you can upfront will help ensure there are no surprises after moving in.

Advantages of Independent and Assisted Living Communities

When it comes to advantages, one of the biggest benefits of independent senior living communities is that they promote aging in place. Beyond independence, other benefits include security, prepared meals, housekeeping, transportation, and planned activities. Not to mention all the socializing that will come as a result of a senior being surrounded by their peers.

For other options to help keep your senior living in his or her own home, please see our pages on senior safety products for home, including stair lifts, wheelchair ramps, and power recliners.

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