Wit and Wisdom Blog for Atria Senior Living

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Guide to Comparing Independent Living Communities


Posted on March 19, 2014 by Katy Miller


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There are many reasons that lead older adults to consider independent living options. Keeping up with the daily chores of running a household can become overwhelming and expensive. As grown children move out, a large house with multiple levels presents challenges for a long-term living environment. Everyday tasks that used to take no time at all now suddenly take half the day.

 At the same time, though, mom and dad are not ready to give up the sense of independence they have grown to love as they live on their own. In this case,an independent living retirement community may be the ideal choice for them.

Let’s first clear up a common misconception – independent living communities are not nursing homes. Rather, they offer apartment-style living spaces designed especially for older adults, social interaction, beautiful settings and privacy.

A reputable independent living community tends to offer a resort-style campus and senior apartments designed for active adults to continue to live on their own. In most cases, they also offer various services and amenities such as transportation, group physical activities, planned events and outings, spas and salons, gourmet meals and outdoor gardening.

Many independent living communities offer additional options for residents as they age, like assisted living services, to provide limited assistance with daily tasks such as medication reminders and personal hygiene. Memory care services are also becoming more popular for individuals that suffer from different stages of dementia or Alzheimer’s. Having these additional services and levels of care available allow residences to stay in their community while receiving additional support if the needs arise. Most independent living communities have more flexibility when compared to continuing care retirement communities (CCRC), which tend to be more highly regulated by state government.

We find, in most cases, that it is actually more affordable for most residents to live in a community, as opposed to staying in their current home; in fact, they tend to find that they have access to many opportunities for pampering and socialization that would not be there if they stayed home.

There is also an intense focus on healthy dining and a focus on overall wellness in these communities. Residents can take advantage of exercise classes and explore new ways to stay fit. Many residents enjoy making close friends by becoming involved in regular groups like the Red Hat Society and attending church services each week.

If you are considering an independent living community, consider the following questions:

  1. Does this community allow for the right level of independence for my mom?
  2. Will this community meet my needs as they grow and I need discreet assistance with small things, like remembering to take medication?
  3. Do they have the right level of engagement for social and wellness activities?
  4. Do I see myself living here? Could this become a second family to me?

If you answered yes to these questions, you have likely found the right home.


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