Is an Independent Living Facility Right for My Loved One
Here’s how to know whether independent living is right for your loved one and why now might be a good time to make the transition to a community that can help them thrive.
There are a lot of things to consider as a parent or loved one grows older. One of the biggest and most important one is where they are going to live as they age. Chances are, when you ask them where they’d like to spend their retirement years, they instantly say they’d prefer to stay in their home. And that’s natural. After all, their home is where they’ve spent some of the best years of their lives and it holds a lot of good memories.
However, what has been the perfect place for them to live in the past may not be the best option for them in the future. Even if they are in good physical and mental health, it may be wise to start thinking about what may be an even better place for them to live their life to the fullest by moving to an independent living community.
But how can you tell whether independent living is right for your loved one?
What Is an Independent Living Community?
The key to understanding what an independent living community is are the words “independent” and “community”.
The independent part of the equation means that it’s a place for self-sufficient, active older adults to enjoy life without worrying about the responsibilities of maintaining a house and yard or even making their own meals. Everything is taken care of. As a resident in an independent living community, your loved one will have their own private living space they can furnish and decorate however they like.
The community part means your loved one will likely become a part of a group of people their own age who will share their own interests and experiences. Studies show as we age, socialization has vital mental, spiritual, and physical health benefits.
What’s more, independent living communities offer a wide range of programs and activities, like exercise classes, book clubs, and outdoor spaces for gardening. Engaging events that are also part of the experience might include concerts, lectures, and off-site day trips. In addition, most communities feature inviting common spaces and community restaurants where residents can get together for happy hour, a game of cards, or impromptu meet ups where they can chat with their neighbors or entertain family and friends.
How to Know It Might Be Time to Move to an Independent Living Community
Start by listening to what your loved one has to say. For instance, they might say: “I love living in my home but…”
I’m tired of the time and effort it takes to maintain the house
Large houses are lovely places to entertain, but having to dust and vacuum rooms they rarely go into takes up time and energy they would probably prefer to spend elsewhere. The same goes for mowing the lawn, trimming the bushes, mulching, power-washing, painting, and even hauling garbage cans out to the street every week. Independent living communities eliminate all that work, freeing your loved one to spend their time relaxing and having fun.
I’m having a harder time getting around
Climbing up a flight of stairs to get to the bedroom or to get down to the basement to do laundry can become not only a tiring chore, but a hazard as well. As hip and knee replacements become more common, decreased mobility can be an issue. Remodeling a home to accommodate disabilities can be expensive and take a lot of time to complete. Independent living communities feature one-level apartments and elevators, as well as bathrooms and kitchens especially designed for senior safety.
Sometimes I feel a little lonely and isolated
Social circles get smaller as people age. Friends fall away. Neighborhood dynamics change when new people move in. And watching television is a poor substitute for the warmth of human companionship. Your loved one may be longing for the easy chances to connect with people an independent living community allows.
I wish it were easier to just pack up and go on my trips
Wouldn’t it be nice for your loved one to be able to simply toss some clothes in a suitcase, walk out of their home, and lock the door behind them to head out on weeks-long travel adventures? Having to stop the mail, turn off the water, arrange for lawn care, and monitor the security system can make getting away more of a bother than it needs to be.
I don’t feel as comfortable driving as I once did
Being able to hop in the car and drive wherever your loved one liked used to be a breeze. Now, they may have problems with their eyesight, hearing, and reflexes that make driving a challenge – especially at night. Consequently, they may find themselves depending on rides from family or friends or public transportation, which can make it harder to run out for groceries, go to church, or just spend a day window shopping in town. Independent living communities often offer reliable transportation to shopping areas, movie theaters, and parks, which can make getting out and about easy. It may even eliminate the need – and expense – of owning a car.
Listening to the sometimes-subtle hints that indicate your loved one might enjoy the benefits of an independent living community may make it easier to know when the time is right to make the transition.
MorningStar Senior Living — Independent Living Community
Love the sound of built-in companionship, predictable budgeting and the security that comes from living in an independent living community? Our job is to take care of the day-to-day details of home maintenance inside and out, giving you more time to do the things you love. Whether it’s fulfilling a calling, finding a new opportunity through volunteerism, or playing and relaxing, contact us to schedule a tour of a community near you.