Independent Living

Independent Living

Independent Living Senior Retirement Communities | Active Adult Communities

At SilverCensus we realize choosing an ideal senior retirement living community can be a difficult decision. To leave the comfort of a residential home with so many family memories can be overwhelming. If you or a loved one is consumed by maintaining your home and the expenses associated with it, it may be time to consider an alternative housing arrangement. Whether you refer to it as active adult communities or a senior resort community, there is an ideal home for everyone if you take the time to tour and ask questions. From across the country there are various forms of senior housing from government run Section 8 lower income housing, 55 and older communities, continued care retirement communities (CCRC) or extended care communities. Taking the time to explore the differences in senior communities through proper planning may elevate future anxiety and unhappiness. Let SilverCensus help you today learn the difference in retirement living.

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Here are a few frequently asked questions about independent living that you may find helpful:

Learn More About How Independent Living Communities for Seniors/ Active Adult Communities

Preparing for a Move

What is the difference between independent living and an assisted living care community?

Independent living is just that, a resident being able to live independently where they can come and go as they please; however there is usually a home healthcare company on campus that can offer assistance with say giving out medication or helping with a shower. Assisted living is when residents are not able to safely live alone and need supervision with bathing, dressing, medications, etc. Most assisted living communities offer 4-6 levels of care, depending on the needs of the resident.

Are meals generally covered in independent living?

Generally speaking, most independent senior living communities offer two meals: breakfast and dinner. However a third meal can be purchased, depending if the resident eats 3 meals a day. Most senior communities charge between $100-$150 per month.

What services are generally covered in independent living communities?

Senior Communities vary but generally speaking, two meals a day, an emergency response system, transportation to doctors visits, weekly shopping and special outings, live entertainment several times a week, BBQ’s, weather permitting, a pool, card room, an exercise room. A resident can become as involved as he or she is comfortable with.

What services should I be aware of before touring a senior living retirement community that is generally considered additional cost?

For the most part, additional costs in communities may vary. One can expect to pay additional for community sponsored trips, guest room accommodations, beauty salon services, small grocery items, reserved parking, covered parking and assisted living services privately arranged in a resident’s apartment.

Do senior retirement communities raise rent annually? If rental terms increase, how often do management companies raise rent and typically by how much?

Generally speaking, most retirement communities do augment prices annually. This rent increase is generally between 4% and 6.5%. For example, if maintenance, water, gasoline expenses increase, then communities may in turn partially pass the increase on to the residents.

My father’s health recently declined and my mother is his primary caregiver. After touring a number of senior retirement communities in the area, I am torn between what is better suited for my parents independent living or assisted living. Any suggestions?

Before considering the safest method of living for your parents it is best you discuss this concern with your parent’s physician. Most physicians are familiar with the requirements for assisted living and nursing home placement so it is important that you seek guidance by the physician. Communities generally send out a clinician to evaluate a future resident at no charge prior to admission. It is important to remember that assisted living facilities maintain a license to operate so they must only accept residents that are appropriate and safe for their community.

What is the difference between independent living and an assisted living care community?

Independent living is just that, a resident being able to live independently where they can come and go as they please; however there is usually a home healthcare company on campus that can offer assistance with say giving out medication or helping with a shower. Assisted living is when residents are not able to safely live alone and need supervision with bathing, dressing, medications, etc. Most assisted living communities offer 4-6 levels of care, depending on the needs of the resident.

Daily Living at an Independent Living Community

Can I hire privately a home health aide to assist me while living in independent living?

Yes, should a resident in an Independent Living Community have a declining health setback prior to relocating to an Assisted Living Facility (ALF), family members should investigate if the ailing senior has a Long Term Care Insurance Policy which may be utilized. A home health aide can meet the tasks of daily living while the ailing senior recuperates from the health setback and little or no out of pocket expense needs to occur.

What can I expect to pay for a home health aide or a companion in a retirement community?

Private duty agencies can be nurse registries, non-medical care providers or home health care agencies. Depending upon your need, normally private duty agencies require a minimum of four hours a day for care. Pricing varies throughout the country from $14 per hour to $25 per hour. There are some communities that have worked out with some preferred vendors a minimum of one hour a day so don’t hesitate to inquire.

If a resident is incontinent and is capable of addressing his own needs, can he or she still reside in independent living?

Yes, as long as a resident is able to take care of personal needs whether through a caregiver paid privately or through a home health care agency, they can remain in independent living and choose an active lifestyle should they desire. Some properties may work with a preferred home care agency on property that can provide immediate assistance should there be a need. Private pay is expected for additional care giving services outside of the regular community fees or possible insurance may cover ancillary services.

Is gratuity during meals expected in a senior living community? I am trying to budget additional expense and want to plan accordingly.

Gratuity after each meal is usually not permitted. Often communities show their appreciation to staff by getting together and collecting money for services throughout the year during Christmas time. This gesture is considered strictly voluntary and if one wants to participate the average amount is $2.00 to $3.00 a day for the year.

What general activities can I expect at most active adult communities?

Depending on the location of a senior retirement community will depend upon if the community has a swimming pool. Residents are asked to swim at their own risk. As far as activities, one can expect once or twice a week aquacise class for those that love the water. There may be as well two to three times a week live entertainment from outside the community. Arts and craft which may or may not include pottery or jewelry making. Exercise arm chair exercise is usually a daily routine in the morning hour. Movies at least once or twice a week. Lectures and seminars given by outside physicians concerning topics such as osteoporosis, skin cancer, healthy aging, Medicare versus Medicaid.

Is an Emergency Response Device generally included in independent living section of a retirement community?

Because one of the main goals of a senior resort community is to keep residents happy and healthy, generally speaking an Emergency Response Device is installed in all independent living apartments. Some devices require that residents press a button to alert the management that they have started their day and that they are okay. This wall unit is commonly by the kitchen area and an additional unit by the toilet or floor in the bathroom. An emergency device can also be in the bedroom and/or be designed as a pendant. What is nice is that should a resident fall within the grounds of a community, management will know precisely the location of the resident to come to assistance.

I noticed there are a limo car and a bus. What is the difference?

Some senior retirement communities offer both private care and bus transportation. Bus service are usually conducted on a daily schedule to planned outing, field trips and various locations.  Cars are usually for private doctor appointments and or special requests.

Safeguards at a Senior Retirement Community

Is there typically security 24 hours a day provided at most senior retirement communities?

Most communities offer 24/7 security. However, larger communities may offer a closed TV circuit where the potential visitor will be seen and questioned prior to his/her entrance of the property.

Cost to Live at a Senior Retirement Community

What form of payment is accepted for Independent Living Communities?

Independent Living Communities accept private pay. Costs involved are typically an entrance fee and monthly rental payments.

What type of expense is incurred other than rent in a senior retirement community?

Hair and nails in most active adult communities offer two meals a day. You may find that typically the included meals are either breakfast and lunch or breakfast and dinner. If a third meal is desired, price will be between $98- $150 each month depending upon the active adult community.

How much does an apartment cost to rent at a Senior Retirement Community?

Independent Living Communities cost vary based on the amenities and geographic location.  Rental units generally start at $2500 a month which may include two meals a day. 

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