You’re considering downsizing, but you haven’t decided where to move to. You’re still in relatively good health and want to remain active. Initially, you may have thought that a retirement or senior living community wouldn’t be a good fit for you, assuming that it was for people who need care. But you’ve heard that some communities offer something called independent living. You like the sound of that, but you’re still not sure whether it’s right for you.
Here’s how to figure out whether an independent living community might be a good option for you.
The benefits of an independent living community
Independent living communities are for older adults who can look after themselves (i.e. they need little or no assistance with day-to-day activities). Their main motivation for moving is to enjoy life more.
Here are some benefits of residing in an independent living community:
- Someone else looks after maintaining the property
- Living spaces are easy to get around and friendly to aging adults (no more stairs!)
- There are lots of opportunities to connect with other independent-minded people
- Usually there are lots of planned social activities, making it easier to get to know your new neighbors
- You’re still able to do your own cooking if you want to, but you’ll likely also be able to take advantage of dining facilities and/or a meal plan nearby
- You’ll have peace of mind knowing that health services are close by should you need them
- Some communities even offer housekeeping services (one less chore on your list!)
There may be other amenities and services as well. Some higher-end communities may offer access to things like a fitness center, onsite spa, swimming pool, or even a golf course.
There are all sorts of housing options to choose from. Independent living communities may be made up of apartments or townhouses or single detached houses (or some combination thereof).
Choosing a particular independent living community
In order to figure whether a particular independent living community is right for you, consider the following questions:
- Do the community’s amenities and services appeal to you?
- Can you afford the purchase price / rent and monthly fees on your retirement income? What’s included and what’s an extra expense?
- Are staff available on a 24-hour basis if you have an emergency?
- If you have health issues in the future, will you need to move away from the community to seek the health and support services you might need or can you stay on the property?
- Do you see yourself being happy here?
Generally speaking, people who move to independent living are making a lifestyle choice. That said, it’s important to consider what your future needs might be as you get older. Factor that in when deciding which community is a good fit for you.
Should you stay or should you go?
Still not sure about downsizing? For more on this topic, check out our handy guide, “Should you stay or should you go? How to decide between home and senior living.”