How To Live Independently

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Independent living communities are residential are residential communities for active older adults who want an enjoyable lifestyle free of the worries and trouble of home maintenance. They are similar to any apartment, condominium, or single-family development, except that they provide special services, including security-an important consideration for many residents. Most independent living communities are fully secured; staff members greet and screen all visitors around the clock. Residents can leave home for extended periods of time knowing that their living quarters will be safe.

Many independent living communities provide a full range of activities that promote social contact among residents. Shopping trips, outings to cultural events, and organized gatherings are typical activities. Many independent living communities also have tennis courts, swimming pools, activity rooms, and other amenities. Most offer a variety of meal plans, including the option of preparing meals in your own apartment.

Most independent living communities do not offer health care services (such as those provided, for example, by assisted living communities and nursing facilities), but some independent living communities are affiliated with health care facilities that can provide such care when it is needed. Residents can also purchase home health care services from outside providers.

Paying for Independent Living Communities

Most independent living communities are rental communities, but a few are condominiums or single-family communities in which residents must purchase their own units or homes. Costs and services vary widely. In some communities, a monthly fee covers many services, while in others a fee-for-service system is used.

A few independent living communities offer subsidies based on strictly defined need. There is almost always a waiting list for subsidized units. To learn more about what is available, contact your local Area Agency on Aging.

What to Look For in An Independent Living Community

A major question for those who are considering an independent living community is how to meet their future health care needs. It is important to have a specific plan covering various contingencies.

Another question may be whether to select a fee-for-service arrangement or an all-inclusive fee. Fee-for-service may appear at first to be the more economical choice, but if a resident expects to use several of the available services, an all-inclusive fee could turn out to be a better buy.

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