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9 Independent Living Facts and Myths Seniors Should Consider

Housing | March 21, 2023

Three senior women participating in an outdoor yoga session outside their independent living facility.

At some point, when your loved one reaches a certain age, you need to determine whether or not their current living arrangement makes sense. Should they continue staying in their home? Or would it make more sense to help them transition into a senior living community?

While the thought of leaving behind their home may sound scary at first, it’s important to decide whether independent living will help them live their life to the fullest. Independent living communities have changed tremendously over the years to meet the needs of today’s seniors. Many communities offer an array of services and amenities for retirees such as:

  • Social opportunities
  • Activities
  • Maintenance-free living
  • Privacy
  • Personal security
  • Community

Several prominent myths regarding independent and other types of senior living communities have caused confusion on what to expect when considering the right move for your family. We have put together a list of nine common myths and facts below to help you in your decision-making process.

Myth No. 1: Independent living communities are the same as assisted living facilities and nursing homes

Fact: Independent living communities are generally tailored toward seniors who don’t need much hands on care and want to live independently in a community that offers a chance to enjoy an active retirement. Assisted living and skilled nursing facilities provide a certain level of care depending on a senior’s needs. These options are best suited toward residents who need additional hands-on assistance.

Instead of being a place that your loved one is compelled to move to because they require medical care or need additional services, independent living is just that – independent! If you want to learn more about assisted living communities and whether or not it is the right decision for your family member, we have an article that goes into more detail.

Myth No. 2: You have to be “old” to live in an independent living community

Fact: Age limits for independent living communities might be lower than you think. Some communities even welcome individuals as young as 55. By giving seniors the chance to make this decision earlier in life, your loved one can begin living a more active, healthy, worry-free lifestyle at an age where they can take full advantage of all the services that their community has to offer.

Myth No. 3: There is nothing to do except watch TV in an independent living community

Fact: On the contrary, residents oftentimes find that they are more active than ever before once they enter an independent living community. Seniors can use their newfound free time to:

  • Pursue new hobbies
  • Make new friends
  • Take interesting classes
  • Exercise and stay fit
  • Relax

One of the most appealing parts of independent living is that there’s always something to do. Many communities offer full calendars of events that include fitness classes, social activities, continuing learning opportunities, and off-site outings to promote a more vibrant, full life.

Myth No. 4: Residents don’t stay active

Fact: Independent living communities recognize that regular, low-impact exercise is important for your loved ones’ longevity and quality of life. To help encourage residents to live long and healthy retirements, many communities feature fitness clubs, recreational facilities, and workout classes.

To promote socialization, some independent living communities may also encourage walking clubs, group exercise classes, and personal training to help residents foster healthy new connections with their new neighbors.

From simple knee exercises to more adventurous activities such as pickleball and biking, there are a variety of ways for your loved one to stay happy and healthy in an independent living community.

Myth No. 5: I’ll lose my freedom by moving into independent living

Fact: Independent living communities provide your loved one with the opportunity to live on their own. Many communities offer a wide array of services, amenities, and benefits that are designed to help older adults live as independently as possible for as long as possible.

Since these communities are tailored specifically to meet the needs of seniors, residents often feel like they are able to live with even more freedom because the amenities offered were made with them in mind.

Myth No. 6: I won’t be as safe as I am at home

Fact: Independent living communities tend to offer a greater sense of community and security.

While your loved one may not need assistance with their daily tasks, staff is always on hand to help. Most communities also offer gated entry, security alerts, and alarm systems to help provide you and your loved one with the peace of mind that they are in good hands.

Myth No. 7: I won’t get to choose where I live

Fact: When deciding on which independent living community is right for you, you are given a chance to select one that meets your financial and personal needs. You and your loved one will get the chance to choose from a variety of floor plans and features. These options will vary depending on which community you select. Your loved one will be placed in a home based on their preferences that will help them feel right at home.

Myth No. 8: Independent living communities are isolating and lonely

Fact: Socializing is vital in keeping seniors healthy and happy. Seniors not only experience increased happiness when they socialize, but also feel a greater sense of purpose, and typically live longer lives.

Most communities feature an array of on-site activities and amenities to create a fun and lively atmosphere for their residents. Depending on the community, events may be tailored to the unique interests and passions of residents.

Activities for seniors in independent living communities typically include the following:

  • Group exercise classes
  • Game nights
  • Arts and crafts
  • Movie nights
  • Workshops
  • Book clubs
  • Community outings
  • Cooking classes
  • Gardening
  • Live music

Myth No. 9: There is no privacy in an independent living community

Fact: Senior living communities generally tailor services and care to meet the unique needs of each resident, including privacy needs. Across most states, senior living includes maintaining a right to privacy in independent living communities.

Your loved one has the opportunity to continue being autonomous – living life as they prefer. Privacy rights at independent living communities for seniors can vary depending on the specific community and its policies. However, here are some general privacy rights that seniors living in independent living communities may have:

  • Privacy of personal information
  • Private living spaces
  • Confidentiality of medical information
  • Freedom of association
  • Control over personal property
  • Visitation rights
  • Freedom from discrimination

It is important for seniors and their families to carefully review the policies and procedures of any independent living community they are considering to ensure that their privacy rights are protected.

Find the Right Independent Living Community for Your Family

Regardless of age, everyone deserves to live in a place that helps them lead happy, healthy lives. By weighing what matters most to your loved ones and watching for signs that they need help, you can help them determine whether independent living or some other form of senior housing is the best option.

Trying to determine the right senior living solution? National Church Residences takes an individual approach to support seniors and help them live a healthier, more satisfying lifestyle. Find out which senior living options are in your area or give us a call at 844-465-6063 to talk to one of our friendly staff members today.

 

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National Church Residences does not discriminate against individuals based on race, color, disability, familial status, national origin, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, payment source, or any other class protected by applicable law, whether in employment or its activities, programs, or services. National Church Residences also does not discriminate based on age, except as required by government entitlements or permitted by applicable law for seniors.