Understanding the Different Forms of Independent Living

Even if you haven’t done much research into senior living, you know there are different forms of it, from independent living to assisted living to memory care and more. But what you may not know is that the term “independent living” is incredibly broad as well, and can be used to describe a variety of different care and living situations.

“The word independent can mean different things to different people, so it’s really no surprise that independent living can mean a lot of different things,” says Cristine Royer, Director of Marketing and Sales at The Estates at Carpenters, a Life Plan Community in Lakeland, FL that offers Lifecare. “One thing that all forms of independent living has, though, is a focus on you, the resident. For example, at The Estates at Carpenters, your life is filled with convenience, choice and flexibility. Every detail of our community is designed to inspire active, independent retirees and help them enjoy their retirement to the fullest.”

Cristine says that the various forms of independent living each offer their own benefits. She emphasizes that it’s important to consider the present and the future when it comes to choosing the right independent living situation for you. “Some independent living situations are very focused on the now, which means that you might need to move to another community or situation if you require more assistance in the future,” she says. “On the other hand, independent living in a community like The Estates at Carpenters provides what you want now and in the future. As a Life Plan Community, you can feel confident knowing that you have access to future health care right on site, if it’s ever needed. We offer assisted living, skilled nursing and short-term rehabilitation so our residents can always remain in a community they know and trust.”

The Different Forms of Independent Living

So what are the different forms of independent living? Our friends at myLifeSite put together a great overview of the different types, the benefits of each and when and why that situation might work for you – or not.

1. Living on your own, in your own home. Did you know that an older adult living in their own family home is considered to be in “independent living?” While generally this form of independent living means that an older adult is active and requires no outside assistance, there may be a few care services that he or she uses in order to stay independent. There are some individuals who also require extensive, in-home care needs, but because they live in their own home, they’re considered to be in “independent living.” In other words, this “form” of independent living really is focused on the location of the individual – not the level of care he or she needs.

Benefits: Complete independence, owning your own home, flexibility, convenience and comfort.

A good option for: Younger retirees who are still active and healthy (possibly still working) and enjoy everything that comes with homeownership.

2. Living in a 55+ community. Also known as an “active adult” community, a 55+ community is a place that’s been designed specifically to cater to the needs of those 55 and older. These types of residences can be just about anything: condos, duplexes, apartment towers or a subdivision. What makes this type of independent living special is that everything in the community has been designed to cater to the older homeowner. Often, various levels of maintenance are taken care of by the community. Events and activities are also arranged for residents. These communities are age-restricted, too, which means that those residing in the community have to meet a certain age requirement in order to live there.

Benefits: Living in a community with your peers, owning your own home, some maintenance provided, residences are usually more geared towards an older adult’s needs versus a traditional “family home.”

A good option for: Independent retirees or near-retirees who don’t want to deal with every hassle of homeownership while still owning their home.

3. “Independent plus” and rental retirement communities.  A rental retirement community, unlike a 55+ community, doesn’t require residents to actually purchase their residence in order to live there. These communities tend to offer a basic level of support for those who live there; what it is, of course, depends on the community. Usually, the resident needs to have some level of independence without the need for advanced levels of care. Oftentimes, residents are able to receive further care while remaining in their own apartment; they would simply need to pay an additional fee or hire a service.

Benefits: Living in a community of your peers, a maintenance-free lifestyle, flexibility, the ability to age in place if needed, the benefit of activities and events scheduled for you.

A good option for: Retirees who would like to give up all the chores of homeownership, live in a socially thriving community and want the peace of mind that comes from living in a place where you can age in place if you so choose.

4. Independent living in a Life Plan Community. A Life Plan Community, (formerly known as a Continuing Care Retirement Community), provides a full spectrum of care for their residents. Residents pay a monthly fee, as well as an entrance fee as a pre-payment that assures them of receiving medical care they may need in the future. These communities are all-inclusive and maintenance-free, with all sorts of services and amenities to make life easier. Most of the time, residents have to move into independent living first in order to be eligible to reside at a Life Plan Community, meaning that there is a health requirement prior to moving in. If the resident’s needs become more advanced, though, they may need to move to a different area of the community in order to receive assisted living or skilled nursing services.

Benefits: True aging in place, not having to worry about increasing health costs, peace of mind for the future, true maintenance-free and all-inclusive living.

A good option for: Older adults who simply want to enjoy their lives on their own terms without ever having to think about or worry what they may need to do in the future if their health needs increase.

As you can see, “independent living” means many different things, and it’s important to determine what option is right for you as you look at different options. By weighing your current and future needs, you will better be able to make a decision that benefits you today and tomorrow.

About The Estates at Carpenters

The Estates at Carpenters is a Life Plan Community offering worry-free independent living, assisted living and high-quality skilled nursing care and rehabilitation. For over 35 years, The Estates has provided older adults in the area with an active, engaging lifestyle filled with abundant choices and the amenities and services that make life easier. A lifestyle designed to keep older adults healthy and well today – and tomorrow.

For more information on The Estates or to RSVP to an upcoming event, contact Cristine at 863-853-5505 Ext. 142 or visit our website.

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