What is independent living?
Independent living is simply any housing arrangement designed exclusively for seniors, generally those aged 55 and over. Housing varies widely, from apartment-style living to freestanding homes. In general, the housing is friendlier to older adults, often being more compact, with easier navigation and no maintenance or yard work to worry about. While residents live independently, most communities offer amenities, activities, and services. Often, recreational centers or clubhouses are available on site to give seniors the opportunity to connect with peers and participate in community activities.
Since independent living facilities are aimed at older adults who need little or no assistance with activities of daily living, most do not offer medical care or nursing staff. As with regular housing you can hire in-home help separately as required.
Who Pays for Independent Living?
The senior is wholly responsible for all costs of “living” which accounts for room and board as well as any additional social activities the senior elects to participate in. Medicare or Medicaid covers no portion of the expenses of Independent Living related to room and board.
When should a senior not be in Independent Living?
It’s important to consider your current and future health when considering a move into Independent Living. For example, if you have a health condition that makes it difficult to stay active and will most likely worsen with time, it’s good to consider your options carefully. It’s also important to consider the health of your spouse if you are married. Can you manage the activities of daily living, such as washing, showering, and eating? Can you manage your finances? Can you manage medications and doctor appointments? If you expect a change in the near future which would prevent you from being able to continue to function at this “independent” level, Independent Living most likely is not the best choice for you or your senior.
By Vanesia Cross, RN