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What is Independent Living?

What Is Independent Living Main

Key Summary

Independent Living is a great fit for those who intend to enjoy retirement with daily activities and social opportunities, and who could benefit from transportation, security, housekeeping and dining options.

As you settle into the next stage of life after retirement, it might be time to consider the advantages of Independent Living. What exactly do we mean by this term? Here, we walk you through the definition of Independent Living, which covers a myriad of housing options for seniors, as well as activities and amenities for a more fulfilling, vibrant life. Independent Living offers vastly different services than other types of communities that are more focused on care. Moving to Independent Living is an undeniably positive and joyful decision, for those who wish to make the most of their free time.

What is Independent Living for Seniors?

Independent Living truly is what the name implies. You will move into a private home or apartment in a community that will allow you to maintain your independence and essentially continue to live life as usual—but with MORE freedom, as this will be a maintenance-free lifestyle. Staff will take care of tasks such as keeping your residence clean and safe, fixing appliances, cleaning out the gutters, mowing the lawn, and shoveling snow.

Independent Living Opportunities


Private Living with Support

Independent Living Communities offer varying sets of dining options, some providing up to three meals a day, while others offer plans for only lunch or dinner. Many communities have day rooms, libraries, media rooms, and other common areas. With Independent Living, it’s up to the individual resident as to whether or not they make use of these amenities, and how often.

Exercise classes and group outings for shopping or cultural enrichment are often included in programs at Independent Living facilities. In addition, transportation to doctor’s appointments is often provided.

If you are still capable of taking care of yourself but want some help with day-to-day tasks so you can enjoy your time with friends and family, then Independent Living is often the best option. The goal of these communities is to alleviate the pressures and stress of living totally on one’s own, while still allowing the individual the freedoms and pleasures of independence. You will still be making your own decisions, and pursuing the activities of your choosing, but you’ll have assistance when required.

While you will receive support when needed, there are many differences between residing in Independent Living, as opposed to an Assisted Living Community. You can learn more in our article “What is the Difference Between Independent Living and Other Senior Care Options?

Continuing Care Retirement Community (CCRC)

Sometimes called Life Plan Communities or Continuing Care Retirement Communities, this type of property is generally for those 55 and older (though, age requirements can vary). This type of community is ideal for those who don’t require specialized medical care services but desire and need assistance with daily activities, including housekeeping, meal preparation, transportation services and security. You own or rent a living space much like you have your entire life – but now, you can receive help with daily activities in a fast and convenient fashion.

The Continuing Care Retirement Community, or CCRC, has become an increasingly popular choice for seniors. It is best suited to those who don’t require the attention one receives in an Assisted Living Community or a Skilled Nursing Facility (SNF) but would like to be free from the burden of physical tasks which can become more demanding as time goes on. In a CCRC, residents are free to come and go as they please. This is in contrast to, for example, Memory Care Communities, where safeguards such as coded elevators and fenced-in grounds are used to prevent residents from wandering off. CCRCs typically offer access to a number of services, including rehab and therapy, wellness clinics, and visiting doctors.

What to Expect in an Independent Living Community

Residents of Independent Living Communities no longer have to worry about the aforementioned tasks such as housekeeping and general home maintenance.

The advantages of this are two-fold:

  • This frees up more time for residents to enjoy their retirement without having to perform physical tasks that are challenging or time-consuming.
  • If someone else is completing maintenance, changing sheets, etc., the risk of falls and injury becomes less. The community helps keep seniors independent for a longer period of time.

The more active we remain in our senior years, the more independent we become. When living alone at home, there’s a risk of becoming isolated and sedentary. Activity offers optimal physical and emotional health benefits, and within an Independent Living Community, there are far more opportunities for exercise, mental stimulation, and social interaction.

Independent Living Communities typically offer a wide variety of services and amenities, including but not limited to:

  • Fitness equipment
  • Swimming pools
  • Salons
  • Arts and crafts
  • Group activities
  • Day trips
  • Seminars
  • Gardening groups
  • Educational opportunities

If you're looking to select an Independent living option, read our article that will guide you through the process.

Find an Independent Living Community Near You

We’ve established that Independent Living is for those who don’t require advanced, specialized medical care. It is a great fit for those who intend to enjoy retirement with daily activities and social opportunities, and who could benefit from transportation, security, housekeeping and dining options.

We invite you to learn more about your Independent Living options. Referah is here to assist with your search and make it easy to find a community that fits your idea of “home.” Begin your search for a local Independent Living Community, today!

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