Sunshine Sheds Light On: Independent Living – Let Freedom Ring! (#2 in a Series)

Sunshine Sheds Light On: Independent Living – Let Freedom Ring! (#2 in a Series)


Six weeks ago, we shared perspectives on how to know if it’s time to consider moving into a retirement living community and if so, which kind. Today, we’re going to take a closer look specifically at Independent Living as an alternative.

Okay, let’s assume you’ve made the heartbreaking, yet liberating decision to move on from the old homestead where you’ve created endless family memories and pulled countless weeds. It’s not easy at first. But once you see the necessity and start to think about the opportunities of a new life with fewer responsibilities, you’ll feel like a great weight has been lifted. Now before you select a new place, let’s make sure an independent living situation is right for you.

What is an Independent Living Community?

Simply put, it’s a community for active, healthy seniors who need minimal or no help with daily activities like dressing, bathing and cooking. It can be almost any type of living situation, but typically will be a multi-unit, resort-style community that provides all the services and amenities you need under one roof — such as three well-balanced meals a day, housekeeping, social activities, and transportation. Think of it as living in a neighborhood with an age restriction — usually over 55 — and many amenities like activity rooms, fitness centers, libraries, well-maintained yards and gardens, housekeeping and security.

Many Independent Living apartments have their own kitchens and kitchenettes where residents can prepare their meals for themselves. Yet they encourage socialization not only through a central dining room, but by hosting a robust calendar of outings to local attractions and restaurants, and social programs in shared common areas. It allows you to continue enjoying your independence with a carefree lifestyle in your own residence, while providing a full-time staff at your disposal. You can choose to use the complimentary transportation provided or you can use your own vehicle. Options abound and you are in control.

The benefits of senior independent living

So far so good? Well, here are a number of benefits that most Independent living facilities have to offer:

  • Assistance when needed. While independent living facilities do not offer health care on site, help is not far away when it’s needed through third-party care services. Residents are never alone, which gives family and friends added peace of mind.
  • Socialization and entertainment. An assortment of organized activities at independent living facilities means that residents stay active and spend time with friends. They also try new things and gain new interests.
  • Privacy when desired. If residents don’t feel like participating in activities, they are welcome to enjoy private time in their living quarters or at various places within the building. Most communities also offer garden seating, walking trails and ponds for outdoor quiet time and contemplation.
  • All-inclusive rent. One of the best things about most independent facilities is that residents pay only one monthly bill instead of having to worry about cable costs, water, electricity and the like. Costs are typically in line with the market prices of similar housing in that region. Phone charges, of course, are usually handled separately.

How to Pay for Independent Living

Personal income is the most common payment source for Independent Living. For low income seniors, extra funds may be available through rent subsidy programs. Most facilities will not accept Medicare, Medicaid, long-term care insurance or other payment sources that commonly fund nursing home care and assisted living. To pay for Independent Living, individuals and their families commonly use these methods:

  • Use Social Security and pension payments.
  • Withdraw from savings or collect annuity payments.
  • Cash out investment retirement accounts.
  • Get a loan or line of credit.

Consulting with a trusted financial planner is highly advisable as you plan for retirement living.

Is Independent Living right for me?

Of course, you can’t predict the future. But as long as you’re healthy, you’d certainly like to be around your peers. You value security. You like your independence, but don’t want to bother with some tasks like yard work and housekeeping. An Independent Living facility, like one of the many beautiful locations managed by Sunshine Retirement Living could very well be the right fit for you. Contact us today if you have additional questions.

Stay tuned for our next installment in this series when we’ll take a closer look at some convincing reasons why you should specifically consider an Assisted Living retirement home.

*This blog was first published here: Sunshine Retirement Living, March, 2018.

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