Thursday, March 28, 2013

Independent Living Facilities: A good “move”.

By Bob Gregory

There are many options for retirement living and they range from a beachfront home to a nursing home depending on the individuals age, health and wealth.  Today, a large segment of Seniors are in a transitional stage of retirement living and an Independent Living Facility may be just the right “move”!  Seniors in good health are keeping their homes longer and waiting to make the move to a retirement facility until they need help or can no longer keep a large house on their own.  This group of seniors is usually motivated to move due to safety reasons or they just can’t manage a household.  They are not ready for Assisted Living but they are beyond the years of wanting the activity and excitement of a 55+ Community.  So where should they look to downsize and have safety, comfort and companionship?  An Independent Living facility may be just the right move for them.

My mother chose an Independent Living facility for herself after she sold her home and decided to downsize.  She first chose an apartment community where some of her friends lived and enjoyed it for many years.  However, on a dark and stormy night (literally) she heard a knock on her apartment door and a young woman carrying what appeared to be a small child was begging for help and to be let in out of the storm.  My mother, being an untrusting person, peaked out the window and noticed a large man standing next to the door out of sight of the peephole and immediately called the police.  She was not hurt but the police told her she had experienced a very common scam from potential robbers to gain entrance to an elderly person’s home and commit robbery or worse.  This incident caused us to reconsider where my mother lived and we started our search for a secure community with amenities more in line with my mother’s age.  For her and many seniors, an Independent Living facility was a great transition.

Here are some of the advantages:

  • Security and Assistance.  Most Independent Living facilities provide apartments in a secured building or community.  In the facility my mother chose, the entrances to the building locked at dark and a resident had to physically let a visitor in the door.  Most Independent Living facilities have some type of security and many have on premise security guards.  They also offer other safety features like panic buttons in the apartments to call for police and intercom systems to speak to guests trying to gain access to the building.  The communities are also designed for seniors so they have no slip floors, wheelchair friendly apartments and plenty of hand rails and elevators. 
    Independent Living Centre - Easy-grip cutlery
    Independent Living Centre - Easy-grip cutlery (Photo credit: johnmuk)
  • Amenities and maintenance.  The majority of Independent Living facilities are maintenance free.  If a light bulb goes out, someone will come and change it for you!  Some facilities offer cleaning services as well.  Many have small shops, hair salons and transportation services.  Some facilities arrange for special delivery and pickup for laundry and pharmacy services.  Most have outdoor areas and  ardens to enjoy.  Make sure you compare to find the facility with the amenities most important to you or your parent.
  • Appropriate Peer Group.  In an Independent Living facility you will find your neighbors to be in the same stage of life as you or your parent.  Socializing will be easier as you will have more in common with your neighbors.  My mother was part of a “buddy” group that watched out for one another.  They would check on each other to make sure everyone was safe or well.  These groups are very common and assure the residents someone is watching out for them.
    Adult Winter Reading Party
    Winter Reading Party
    (Photo credit:
     Lansing Public Library, Lansing Illinois)
  •  Activities and socializing.  Almost all Independent Living facilities offer some type of activities.  These range from outings to restaurants and theaters to in-house social (happy) hours and theme parties.  I noticed a lot of the activities had to do with food and eating!  There are usually scheduled exercise classes for all levels of fitness—probably because of the activities to do with eating and drinking!  Most facilities have a common area with books, magazines, television and music to encourage residents to gather and socialize if they like.  If the facility has a religious affiliation, they will have worship services on site.
  • All Inclusive Rent.  You will find that most Independent Living facilities include everything in the monthly rental except for phone services.  Utilities such as water, electricity and cable are generally included so the resident doesn't have a pile of bills to pay.  Some will include housekeeping services if you elect.
You need to do your research and compare services and amenities to make sure you are getting exactly what you want and for the right price.  Some facilities are even subsidized by religious affiliations to provide a lower rent so you may want to inquire.  There is usually no restriction on owning and keeping an automobile on premise as most residents are very capable of driving.  Not all welcome pets so be sure to ask.  There are also generally age restrictions on household members so if you or your parent have taken on the responsibility of raising a grandchild, you may not qualify.  The Independent Living facility my mother chose gave her all the amenities and security she wanted.  It also allowed her to live independent for many years before transitioning to an Assisted Living facility.  For her, and hopefully you or your parent, an Independent Living facility is a good move!

If would like a list Independent Living Facilities, Assisted Living Facilities, Nursing Homes or any other type of Senior Facility, I hope you will consider
If you would like to contribute your thoughts and ideas, please leave them in our comment section. We want to hear them. Helping people care for themselves or their loved ones is what we care about. 

We look forward to reading yours.

Bob Gregory is an advocate for Seniors and is one of the founders of At, we are dedicated to helping families get the Elder Care help they need without having to provide their personal information! If find you need an assisted living facility or other type of senior facility, please consider

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  1. An Independent Living Community is a good option for seniors who can manage things on their own and need minimal assistance.Also the social activities and mingling with like minded people of their age keeps them happy and relaxed.

  2. I enjoyed reading your article :) PLease continue publishing helpful topics like this. Regards, from Regal Mobility.