As you grow older you may find that it's becoming apparent that you may need to consider making changes in your living arrangements. Although contemplating a move from your current home to new accommodations may be stressful, taking time to plan for this possibility well in advance can make a huge difference in your quality of life as you grow older.
If you find that you are starting to need assistance with some aspects of daily living, if home and yard maintenance has grown increasingly challenging, or if you would simply like to find a place to live that offers more opportunities to socialize, you may want to look into an independent living community.
Simply put, independent living is any type of housing that is intended solely for mature adults, normally individuals age 55 and older. Types of housing vary considerably, ranging from apartment or condominium living to individual single family homes. Overall, the accommodations are "senior friendly", usually being smaller sized with less complicated floor plans. In most cases, responsibility for household maintenance, as well as lawn care, when appropriate, is no longer the resident's concern.
Independent living arrangements are also known as retirement homes, retirement communities, senior apartments or senior housing. These terms generally are interchangeable.
There are a number of different types of independent living arrangements, ranging from apartment buildings to individual single family homes. They are available in any different price ranges to include subsidized housing for low income seniors. Continuing care retirement communities offer independent living accommodations as well as housing for seniors who need more comprehensive personal and medical care.
- Subsidized housing for seniors: These are housing complexes for low-income seniors that are subsidized by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. Depending on the geographic location, moving to the top of waiting lists for subsidized housing can take years. Therefore, seniors who will most likely be depending on subsidized housing should plan well in advance.
- Senior apartments: These are rental apartment communities that are restricted by age, usually to residents who are 55 or older. Rent payments often incorporate amenities for residents such as entertainment and recreational programs, transportation assistance, and daily meals served in a community dining facility.
- Active senior retirement communities: These communities are housing developments designed for seniors who are capable of fully independent living. Homes in these communities are usually purchased rather than rented. They can be single family homes, row homes, town homes, duplexes, manufactured homes, or condominiums. In addition to the purchase price, seniors should be prepared to pay additional monthly or quarterly fees that cover such things as common grounds maintenance, community recreation centers, or other shared facilities.
- Continuing care retirement communities: Continuing care retirement communities feature comprehensive service and housing plans that include the full range of senior housing needs. They include housing for independent living, assisted living, and nursing homes within a single community. Should residents need additional assistance with activities of daily living, they can easily move to an assisted living facility or nursing home within the same community.
Maintaining a home, garden and yard can be a true source of pride. However it can also become quite burdensome as we age. These challenging situations may be remedied, at least in part, by employing outside help, remodeling or modifying some areas within your home, or by relying on family members to lend a hand. However, it may be well worthwhile to evaluate your current living arrangement and consider if housing that is designed specifically for older adults might be worth checking out.