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Selecting an Independent Living Community

Ken Teegardin Written by Ken Teegardin
SeniorLiving.Org Expert on Chief Editor | Caregiver

To see a list of Independent living facilities, enter your desired area (zip, city, or full address) and then click on the independent living button at the top to see only independent living facilities in your area.

Independent Living

You’re in a pickle. The home you raised your children in, the place you came home from work to for 30 years, and the yard you manicured, is now too much. You no longer have the desire to weed the flower bed, lug the vacuum upstairs, and listen to your neighbor’s son’s car stereo booming at night. Heck, you don’t even know your neighbors anymore.

But the memories of this place stretch your entire adult life. Your kids took their first steps in the living room. You took their high school graduation pictures in the front yard. Your grand kids love playing in the oak-shaded back yard.

Making the decision to move into something more manageable is not easy at first. But once you see the necessity and start to think about the possibilities of a new life, a change, you’ll feel like a weight has been lifted. And you’ll feel freer than ever.

We’ll try to make selecting an independent living community as easy as possible. We know it’s a big decision. We’ll arm you with answers, questions and everything in between.

What is an Independent Living Community?
Simply put, it’s a community for active, healthy seniors who are able to live on their own. You can live in a home, townhouse, condo, and even a mobile home or motor home. You can own or rent or live as part of a cooperative. Think of it like living in your old neighborhood except these communities have age restrictions—usually over 55—and many offer amenities like clubhouses, gyms, yard maintenance, housekeeping and security.

Independent living communities also typically offer transportation, laundry service, group meals, and social and cultural activities.

Is Independent Living Right for Me?
You can’t read the future, but you’re healthy right now. You’d like to be around your peers. You value security. You like your independence but don’t want to bother with some tasks like yard work and housekeeping. This is a start. Let’s look at some other things to consider when selecting an independent living community.

How to Select the Right Community?
What are some things you just won’t compromise on? E.g. size of home, location of community, distance to family, etc. Make a list.

People
And here’s where your wisdom comes in to play. Visit the community. Get a feel for the people who live there. Talk to the residents and staff. Are they friendly? Do the residents seem truly independent? Do you share some of the same hobbies and interests? Do you want to get to know these people better? Could you see having them over for dinner? 

Place
How big is the community? Do you like a small, quiet community or a large, bustling one? Is there a common area that residents use? If you’ve only ever lived in a house will an apartment on the 10th floor make you feel confined? Do you prefer a small house without a yard? A condo with flower beds? Is there adequate room for guests? For storage? Are there stairs? Will you have the ability to add ramps? Is it pet friendly? What are the restrictions, if any, for little things like displaying the American flag on holidays? Parking a motor home in the drive way?

Location
Are you close to friends and family? Do you feel safe on the grounds? In the neighborhood? Is it well lit? To your doctors and hospital? To the mall, restaurants, and the movies? Are you within walking distance to any grocery stores or pharmacies? Is there a gym in the community or one close by? Are there walking trails nearby? Parks?

Things to Do
Is there a pool? A recreational center? A common area? Is there a reading group? A knitting group? A bowling league? A bridge group? Are there residents who like to ride bikes? Go to the beach? Travel? Bird watch?

Costs
Costs are in line with the market prices of similar housing in that region. And there can be shared costs like common utilities, taxes and community services. These can run $1,000 to $2,000 per monthly. Other services like housekeeping are usually additional.

Low income seniors can find subsidized programs through the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.

Here are some costs to consider when researching independent living communities. Ask if they’re included:

  • Waiting list deposit
  • Move-in fee
  • Initial assessment fee
  • Housekeeping
  • Laundry
  • Meals
  • Cable TV
  • Utilities
  • Private phone
  • Transportation
  • Internet access
  • Parking
  • Field trips
  • Wellness program 

Additional questions to ask:

  • Is there a pet deposit?
  • What are the billing and payment options?
  • What is the policy for fee increases?
  • Is personal property insurance required?

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Comments

[10] Comments... Read them below.
June Branco On Jul 13, 2017

I am looking to move in September/Oct. I am 69 years old, looking for senior affordable Housing that is based on my income. Cannot afford high rent. Independent living, Adult community. 1 bedroom. Please add me on the waiting list. or if you have anything available soon.

Victoria On Jul 7, 2017

I am 58 single female with small dog, wanting to move to Norfolk are to be near my son who is in the Navy there. I prefer an adult community and I am living independently.

Reply:
Hi Victoria,
Thank you for your message.
At Senior Living we maintain a list of the largest corporations and organizations that provide senior living and senior care. This list includes primarily dementia care, independent living, assisted living and nursing homes.
You can speak with a Senior Housing Specialist Fast & Free! at (866) 859 7420
or
For all types of  Senior Care Options around Norfolk, VA, USA kindly go to
http://www.seniorliving.org/search/
and type in 'NORFOLK' - in the Search Bar at the top of the page, above the text 'Enter an address to see local care options'
 
The page search bar will give you the results  of ALL the nearest Senior Care Options (All types of senior care combined) sorted by distance (Using Google maps to define the geographical center). 
Use the tabs at the top to narrow the results to a specific type of care or choose from these options: ( Only Assisted LivingOnly Independent LivingOnly Nursing HomesOnly Memory CareOnly Home CareOnly CCRCOnly HospiceOnly Adult Day Care).
zaida torres On Jun 27, 2017

I need information for my mother.

Jackie Fourie On Jun 18, 2017

I'm 55 years old and wondering if I could put my name on a waiting list for Senior Affordable Housing that is based on your income. I'm still working, but paying 2k in rent a month and not sure if I will be able to keep this up. Needing to know if there is a place I can live with my two main coon cats and not worry about this increasing rent. I live in San Jose, CA 95136. Appreciate all the help. Thanks Jackie

Rob Penberg On Jun 14, 2017

Looking for information for my mother.

Frances K Meyer On Jun 5, 2017

Looking to move from a my home Can not afford keep up Unable to do steps (have only 1flight but need to do wash down on basement) I have 2dogs under 12 lbs Live in Mil Wi Like to stay in Area

Robert C Thomson On Jun 3, 2017

Looking for 2/2 apt in $1,000 per month range, 1st floor in Central Florida for April 2018

Denise Hampton On May 30, 2017

I'm looking for a income based independent living home. I'm 58, looking for a home in Elk Grove , CA

Wilfred Yracheta On May 23, 2017

I am looking for an independent living facility in Coeur d'Alene Idaho. I would prefer an apartment that is pet friendly on account I own an 8 lb dog that I have documentation for him being my companion animal.

vance spencer On May 19, 2017

I am looking for an independent living for myself and my dog and two birds in the Eureka California area or the Lake Tahoe California side. I am 67 type two Diabetic. Vance Spencer