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The Arbor Company Senior Living Blog

What Does Independent Senior Living Really Mean?

Mar 13, 2018 6:00:00 AM / Wanda Moen Wanda Moen

Today's Independent Senior LivingLife is full of transitions and next chapters. Children grow up and start jobs or go to college. They get married, have kids of their own and may move. Transitions almost always offer new opportunities, but they can also be scary. That may be why many seniors are reluctant to transition from their current living arrangement into an independent living community. Just as you might have felt homesick your first night of college or anxious about getting married, it’s normal to be unsure about the next page of your life story. For many seniors, independent living offers a bridge to a vibrant community; new friendships; and many more years of learning, giving back to the community and connecting to others.


Today’s Independent Living: Safety and Freedom Together

Independent senior living allows seniors to continue living independently, but as part of a wider community. Some senior living communities are actual neighborhoods with stand-alone houses or condos. More typically, seniors live in condos or apartments that are part of a larger building.

Seniors who live in independent living communities retain complete control over their own lives. They’re not patients. They’re residents of an active community. In contrast to living alone at home, however, independent living communities offer some security. Seniors can more quickly access help if they need it. They have friends who live just a door or two away. And staff routinely checks on seniors to ensure that they’re thriving.

For seniors in good health and those who only need a little additional support, independent living offers the freedom to live as they choose—but with the security of knowing that help is nearby.

Many seniors find that living at home offers less freedom than they hoped. They worry about driving at night, about falling or about the perils of doing their favorite gardening tasks without someone nearby. Socialization becomes harder, requiring more planning and more risk. For many seniors, living at home means more loneliness, less time with others and quite a bit of worry. Independent living offers seniors the freedom they hoped to get from living at home, but in a safe environment that makes it easy to remain active and social. 

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A Chance to Remain Independent Longer

Our bodies cannot last forever. We all hope to live as long and as healthily as possible. Sometimes the realities of aging get in the way. Even when seniors struggle with mobility or other health issues, they don’t want to lose their independence. Independent living can help bridge this gap.

By offering the assurance of nearby help, independent living may help stay seniors stay independent longer. With help readily accessible, a minor fall doesn’t have to become a catastrophe. Living in a close-knit community offers other health benefits, too. Those include:

  • Staying physically active by spending time with friends or attending classes. Exercise is important for seniors of all ages and health statuses.

  • Remaining intellectually active through meaningful conversations with friends and lots of social outings. An active mental life can help reduce the risk of dementia.

  • Help to make healthy decisions. Senior living communities offer a wide range of nutritious and delicious meal options to suit every palate and dietary need.

  • Support and education about health issues. Many independent living communities offer exercise or yoga classes, nutritional consulting, and even healthy cooking classes. 

How Independent Living Differs from Assisted Living

Independent living is commonly confused with assisted living, even though they’re distinct. Assisted living offers more comprehensive assistance to seniors, including those with complex and chronic medical needs. While assisted living communities also aim to preserve independence, seniors who live in assisted living have significantly more support than those in independent living communities. They also tend to be less physically able-bodied and may have some cognitive challenges.

Independent living, by contrast, caters to seniors who are equipped to live on their own, or who can do so with some minimal support. Some independent living communities are associated with assisted living communities. These communities offer an excellent option to seniors with chronic or degenerative conditions. 

Contemporary Independent Living Communities: A Model of Luxury

So why should seniors consider independent living? These communities offer luxury without all the work, and often at a significant cost savings compared to living at home. As all-inclusive communities, independent living communities ensure there are no pricing surprises—no leaky roofs, no lawnmowers that need repairs, no cracking sidewalks. This makes it easier for seniors to budget, and to know exactly where their money will go each month.

These luxury communities offer a lot more than just cost savings and peace of mind, though. They offer a chance to make retirement everything you hoped it would be—social, fun, active and engaged. You’ll live in a beautifully landscaped neighborhood, but without ever having to pay to cut the grass. Enjoy perfect sidewalks without ever digging up weeds. Embrace a safe living environment without having to worry about hiring (or firing) your alarm company. 

The right senior living community also offers:

  • A beautiful, well-maintained home.
  • An active community life. Your friends may live just a few doors down. You’ll see them often, at community meals and planned social events.
  • Plenty of opportunities for formal social outings, such as dances, as well as informal socializing when you run into your neighbors or meet up with people at dinner.
  • Help when you need it, and privacy when you want it.
  • Gourmet meals prepared for you to eat in your home, or in a beautiful dining area.
  • Access to classes, group outings, and plenty of other activities that can help retirement be everything you hoped.
  • A beautiful setting in which to entertain your family. Welcome them into your cozy home, or enjoy a gourmet meal together. In the spring, walk around and observe the landscaping. Or spend some time outside watching the birds in summer.

Independent living can turn retirement from a disappointment into a dream come true. If you’re ready to learn more, contact Arbor today. We’ll help you decide how you can have the active, enjoyable retirement you deserve.

Download the Everything You Need to Know About Independent Living guide

Topics: Senior living, Independent living

Wanda Moen

Wanda Moen

Wanda is the Regional Vice President of Sales for The Arbor Company.

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