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Independent Living: Deciding What’s Best for You

Independent Living

There are many reasons why senior citizens consider moving. Having a large home, suffering from certain health issues, or possessing the desire to be closer to relatives are valid reasons to move after hitting retirement age. Likewise, it’s important to have realistic expectations about what you need or want in your next living situation. Look at your health, income, and needs as you consider every option. Here’s how you can get started.

Assisted Living

This living situation works best for people of any age who need professional help with certain everyday responsibilities, such as bathing, getting dressed, going to the bathroom, and eating. Nurses are usually the ones who offer this care, and they help you take and manage medications if you have prescriptions.  

Some retirement communities provide assisted living services. This option is cheaper to pay for than 24/7 care, and several private insurance plans may be able to pay for some of it. Senior citizens who choose this option can socialize and take part in other activities independently. Think of this as additional services that still let you do most things on your own.

Independent Living

Possibly the most appealing option for senior citizens, independent living is one of the most appealing. It allows residents to live their lives uninterrupted while also having access to medical assistance as needed. Still, most of these communities are for those who are able to live independently. It’s likely that independent living facilities won’t have nursing or medical staff, though you can privately hire a nurse or other caregiver as needed.

Independent or retirement communities are often built specifically for the needs of people over the age of 55. Apartments or homes are usually smaller, have simple floor plans, and do not require residents to do any maintenance or yard work. Since these facilities are made to help senior citizens enjoy their lives, they tend to offer amenities and extracurricular activities. 

Programs available at independent living facilities usually include arts and crafts, special interest groups, and community events. People with a bigger budget can potentially move into facilities with additional amenities, such as golf courses, pools, fitness centers, and much more.

If you don’t have a large budget, don’t worry. The US Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) provides information for low-income senior citizens who need help with finding the best housing option for their needs.   

Home Sharing

Home sharing involves providing a room for a new housemate that can help senior citizens out with tasks. Many organizations can help you find suitable housemates that can provide assistance to senior citizens that act as “hosts.” 

People who prefer this option should be relatively independent and only need the additional help that a housemate can provide. Senior citizens can benefit from having someone who can help them in the event of an emergency. Roommates also act as companions, help them avoid loneliness, and can take them to appointments if they can no longer drive.

Home sharing can also help potential roommates because they usually pay reduced rent in exchange for the services they’re expected to provide. Innovative programs can also benefit students by giving them hands-on experience working with senior citizens, providing them with novel experiences, and a relaxed home environment. Potential roommates can be screened and matched with senior citizens so that everyone can get their needs met. 

When deciding which housing option best works for you, it’s important to consider your health and that of your spouse. Allow yourself time to adjust to your new living situation and don’t worry about asking for help along the way. 

Ask yourself key questions that can help you make a better decision. Are you experiencing circumstances now that limit your mobility? How much can you depend on relatives and friends? What are your current hobbies? Retirement and senior living is about accepting changes, improving the quality of your life, and making adjustments that simplify your life. Senior living looks different for everyone, so don’t worry about taking a chance on something unexpected as long as it means you’ll be healthy and comfortable in your new living arrangements.