Often a senior who is able to live independently does not want to cook all of his or her meals and do all that is required to maintain a house.  He or she may want to live in an apartment setting with others his or her own age.  An option called an “independent living” can provide an option to seniors not needing assistance with activities of daily living.

Often a senior moves to an independent living facility on the death of a spouse or when his prior residence becomes unsafe or overwhelming.  Most residents at independent living facilities are in their 80’s.  Seniors who are most appropriate for living in an independent living community are those who are healthy, able to do all of the basic activities of daily living and want to live independently in a senior – only community.  Almost all residents at independent living facilities can communicate with others and have enough money to pay the monthly fee.  While some federal funds can subsidize some residents’ housing, normally independent living facilities are paid by private funds. While caregivers can attend to clients in a senior’s apartment at a independent living facility, usually the cost of caregiver necessitates a resident moving to an assisted living or skilled nursing facility. Because independent living facilities do not provide health care they are not regulated or licensed by the state or federal government. Costs of independent living facilities vary greatly depending on the space provided, amenities and age of the facility.

When considering moving to an independent living facility a senior and his or her family should do diligent research. First is the independent living facility associated with any assisted-living or skilled nursing facility.  Is the location close to relatives and/or friends that can to visit?   What is the reputation of the facility and what do current or past residents say about the facility? Are the amenities sufficient to maintain a healthy lifestyle?  In researching independent living facilities the senior, not just his or her family, should visit all choices. Many independent living facilities cater to the likes and dislikes a senior’s children. This can be seen in the coffee bars that may impress baby boomers but may be irrelevant to seniors.

Some companies research independent living, assisted living and skilled nursing facilities in deciding age-appropriate housing for their clients.  Families can utilize their resources in deciding what is the appropriate facility.  Finding the right facility can make the difference between thriving and merely existing for the senior.