There often comes a time in an older person’s life when they consider moving out of their big family home. Perhaps they no longer need so much space or perhaps they are too far away from local amenities that they could once access more easily. For people like this, who don’t need the kind of support assisted living settings provide, an independent senior living community is ideal.
Many people at the beginning of retirement and those who retire young (at 55 years old, for example) opt for living in an independent facility as they no longer want the hassle of maintaining a home, cooking or driving. Additionally, older people who are widowed or who have lost friends frequently feel isolated, which is a contributing factor to poor mental health in older age. Independent living facilities help to solve these issues and provide people with a happier and easier retired life.
What sorts of places are available and how much do they cost?
While senior living communities don’t come cheap, the benefits that come with it for you and your family are well worth the investment. Additionally, if affordability is still a concern there are facilities like Holiday Villa East that are rent controlled and will try to work within your budget.
Every facility is different and you will need to find the best one for you. Some will allow you to try them out before committing and some even let you bring your furry best friend! Independent living is not about care – it is about you and your lifestyle and you should consider it like buying a new home.
Questions to Ask Yourself Before Deciding
Is a communal setting important to you?
- If you’ve always lived in your own home with your own space and yard, an apartment complex might take a lot of getting used to. You might enjoy the change but it’s important that your new community feels like home.
Where do I want to live?
- Do you want to stay in your local area and be close to your family and friends or do you want to move closer to your adult children? When it comes to where you will be spending your time; many seniors prefer to retire in a warmer climate like Santa Monica or California. So make sure to take that into consideration before making your final decision.
Questions to Ask During Your First Visit
When you have thought about the two questions above, it’s time to begin exploring your options by visiting possible facilities. When you’re there, it can be really overwhelming and, unless you plan in advance, you might forget to ask some really important questions. Let’s take a look at what sorts of questions you might want to ask when you visit an independent living facility for the first time.
Which meals will be provided and what time are they served?
- The majority of independent living facilities will provide their residents with one or two meals each day and will often have on-site kitchens for residents to use. On your visit, you should ask about meals and mealtimes. It might be important for you to ask about seating during meals and whether seating is assigned. If you still enjoy cooking the odd meal or want to be able to make snacks etc., you should ask about kitchen facilities for residents. Also, if you have any specific dietary requirements, enquire about the facility’s ability to cater to these in the meals they serve.
Before committing to a facility, make sure you sit down and eat a meal there with some of the residents. This will be the best way of deciding if you like the food and the way mealtimes happen. After all, meals are an important and social part of each day!
Are there any activities provided and how many people join in?
- Most independent living facilities have a full calendar of events and activities but you want to make sure they are well attended. Make sure there are activities that appeal to you and your interests. Ask about the times of day and week the activities take place. Are they during the day or on an evening? Do they have weekend activities? Do they do excursions too?
As this is going to be your home and the other residents will be your neighbors, consider carefully whether or not the activities and schedule fit with you and your lifestyle.
What sorts of people live here?
- You might think that this is a strange and forthright question, however, it is important to know that you are with like-minded people you will enjoy spending time with. Ask the facility about the average age of residents, the female-male ratio as well as how many people are couples and singles in the facility. Making friends is important in older age and it is likely that you will want to be involved in some social events so finding out this information is really important.
Are there any transportation options provided?
- The majority of independent living facilities provide some sort of transportation however, this doesn’t mean you will be able to go wherever you want whenever you want! Ask questions about how far you can travel and where you can go. Also, ask about times of the transportation services.
Which services will cost extra and which are provided?
- Some facilities will charge you monthly rent and will include some services in this flat rate. Others will have services that are payable. Some independent living facilities will include your utilities but some will ask you to set up electricity, internet, and cable in your own name.
You might also want to ask if there is a housekeeping service and, if there is, what this involves. Some facilities wash and change your bed linen. Some facilities have washing machines and tumble dryers in individual apartments while others have a communal room for all residents.
It goes without saying that independent living facilities aren’t care homes yet many do have on-site nurses to help with minor ailments. If a facility provides this service you should ask about out-of-pocket payments.
What is done to keep residents safe?
- Some independent living facilities will provide aides for you and others will allow you to bring in your own aides. Make sure the surroundings are equipped with the right precautions to keep you safe. Are rooms equipped with an intercom system and alarms in case of emergencies? Do the rooms offer grab bars to prevent accidents? Ensuring you will be safe in your new home is essential.
Moving to a new residence can be overwhelming but there are things you could do to make the transition easier. Whatever your preferences are, there will be something out there for you. It’s always a good idea to share your thoughts with your loved ones so that they can help you choose the right senior living community for you, after all, you might be living there for a very long time!
If you or your loved ones have more questions about managing the transition to independent living; reach out to the expert team at Holiday Villa East for help or to schedule a tour and find out for yourself.