For many seniors, independent living is an opportunity to remain just that, independent. Unlike living at home alone, this type of retirement arrangement allows for social interactions and entertainment without having to drive anywhere. But is independent living right for you? Here are some things to think about as you consider your transition.
Independent living and assisted living are not the same thing.
Many seniors mistakenly believe that moving into an independent living center is akin to going into a nursing home. It is not. Independent living, assisted living, and skilled nursing care are all separate options. According to Modern Retirement, communities geared toward independent seniors offer recreational amenities, shared spaces, and well-appointed housing. Assisted living offers all the same services plus an added layer of physical, medical, and daily support. Both options allow seniors to direct their days. Skilled nursing care is more institutionalized and is similar to a hospital for seniors who have significant impairments and/or dementia.
Am I ready?
The only person who can truly answer that question is you. Chances are, if you are considering it, you’ve noticed changes in yourself or your daily routine that make it more difficult to live alone. Here are a few questions to ask yourself before committing to a lifestyle change:
- Do I need help keeping my house clean? Cleaning house is a full-time job. When you find that you can no longer do things like carrying the laundry up and down the stairs, mop the floors, and dust the ceiling fans, it might be in your best interest to look into living arrangements where these tasks are handled for you.
- Do I actively participate in social activities? Senior isolation is a huge problem throughout North America, and it is also a leading contributor to depression in the elderly. If you find yourself routinely sitting around the house wishing that you could be playing cards, doing crafts, or simply sipping coffee with your contemporaries, you should know that you can do all these things and more at an independent living campus.
- Is my home too much to handle? This is one of the most challenging questions to answer, particularly for seniors who have been in the same home for many years. Spend some time evaluating the state of your property. More than just a few unwashed dishes or undone laundry, are there material or structural defects that you are simply unable to rectify? If you can no longer devote the time, energy, or money into home maintenance, your home will soon be a hazard.
Other options to explore.
In addition to a structured living arrangement, you also have other options to explore depending on your health status, budget, and willingness to alter your lifestyle. One of these is home-sharing. This is a situation where you essentially take in a tenant (and hopefully friend) who shares responsibilities with you. They will pay rent monthly as well as take on a portion of the utility and grocery bills. Medicare.org uses the Golden Girls as the perfect example of a senior home-sharing situation.
When your ultimate decision is to remain at home, there are many tools and services that can help you do just that. Caring Senior Service can keep you where you are most comfortable for longer by providing personal care, errand running services, light housekeeping, meal preparation, and more.
You have a big decision to make, but you should not make it without exploring your options and finding out all you can about them. One of the best things you can do for yourself at this point is to visit a few local independent living campuses. After a few hours, you will know if it’s something you want to look into even further. If not, rest easy knowing that there are alternatives.
Guest written by Hazel Bridges