When considering independent living communities, you need to find a place where you feel the most comfortable. There is no exact formula to this because every person has different, unique needs and preferences. Here are a few things to consider:
The Community: One of the most important things to consider is: Do you connect with the people at the independent living facility you are considering? You will want to feel a part of the community and connect with your peers. When you visit talk to residents and the staff. Are they people you want to get to know better? Does the staff seem to be friendly and accessible? Can you see yourself becoming friends with the people?
Size and Location: Independent living communities come in all shapes and sizes. You will need to consider what size of community you desire. Do you prefer a smaller community or a larger, busier place? Do you like apartment style living or prefer a separate detached home? Make sure to visit several different types of facilities so that you can get an idea of which type of community is the most comfortable to you.
Also consider the location of the facility. There are many popular independent living communities in warmer states like California, Florida, Texas, and Arizona. However, if you don’t live in these states, you need to carefully consider if you are willing to make such a big move. You need to be prepared to develop a new support system if you don’t have friends or family near you, as well as find new medical care.
Accessibility: Make sure to evaluate how accessible the independent living community is both inside and outside. Do you feel safe coming and going at any hours during the day or night? Will you need a car to reach places outside the facility or are there things within walking distances? How easy is it to get from your living unit to other areas on the property (e.g. dining hall, recreation center)?
You also need to consider if your housing unit has room for future adaptability. Would it be accessible to you if your health were to decline? Are there stairs? Can ramps be added? Can grab bars or other adaptable devices be easily added if need be?
Services: Independent living communities vary in what type of services they provide. You need to determine which services are most important to you and which ones might be helpful in the future. Do you like to exercise? Look for a facility with an exercise area, pool, or fitness classes. Maybe you like to cook now, but in the future you might want the dining options and food services. Prioritize what services you most desire your independent living community to help you determine what type of facility you would most enjoy.
I would highly recommend visiting our Independent Living Communities page to help you find independent living options nearest you or in the community you desire to live. Don’t hesitate to contact facilities that you might be interested in and be sure to set up times to visit. Visiting is the best way to know if you would be comfortable making the community your new home.