Is independent living a good choice for seniors? Is independent living different from a nursing home?
Independent living is community-based and designed for healthy and active seniors. It allows seniors to enjoy the amenities and services that simplify their lives while still offering them privacy and independence. Seniors in these facilities can make choices and control decisions affecting them, making it an excellent choice for anyone transitioning into an environment less demanding than their home.
According to data from the Australia Bureau of Statistics, the 2020 population of seniors aged 65 and above increased by 3.6% and this number is expected to be higher by 2036. The increase in the population of senior adults is creating more demand for retirement accommodation living.
So, is independent living the right choice for you or a senior family member? Read on to find out.
What Is Independent Living?
The independent living movement stems from the special needs movement and advocates for individuals with any limitations coming together to create a supportive housing community. Independent living community or senior living allows seniors to maintain an independent lifestyle with the convenience of services like prepared meals and housekeeping.
While other assisted living facilities focus on helping seniors with activities of daily living, independent living emphasises independence. Independent living is an excellent choice for self-reliant seniors interested in community living but is not in immediate need of everyday access to personal care services or nursing staff.
Independent Living Costs
There is no standard cost of independent living as several factors like the specific community and where you stay will affect the total cost. For instance, a regular senior apartment will cost less than a retirement community offering meals and ample amenities.
In general, independent living costs significantly less than other types of senior care as it does not offer health services or personal assistance care.
Benefits Of Independent Living For Seniors
Healthy seniors can benefit significantly from independent living arrangements. They can still control their everyday life activities while enjoying independent living support services. Benefits of independent living for seniors include:
- Social activity: Independent living allows seniors to enjoy more social and recreational activities. The social activity allows for peer support and prevents them from being isolated. Living communities offer seniors equal opportunities to enjoy a social life.
- Peace of mind: Seniors are at peace living in communities as they do not have to worry about performing mundane everyday tasks. Seniors can enjoy life and focus on activities they enjoy, such as reading or playing board games with their peers.
- Wellness: Independent living enhances senior physical, emotional and mental wellness as they have a range of professionals, including nutritionists, on-site. For instance, seniors can indulge in low-impact exercises to ensure physical wellness.
- Helps with loneliness: Most seniors live alone, which can be risky for older adults. The PwC statistics show a 68% increase in occupancy rate by single individuals. Independent living communities allow them to interact with their peers without making plans and arranging for transportation.
How To Prepare For Independent Living
While independent living offers several benefits, it is essential to prepare to transition into independent living. Here is how you can prepare:
- Discuss with your family: Ensure everyone is on board with the idea as downsizing affects the entire family. Have conversations with your family about the transition plan.
- Work with a financial planner: It is essential to work with a professional to ensure you can afford and maintain your stay in an independent living facility. They can help you develop a strategy to facilitate independent living and your long term care and answer any other questions you may have.
- Options for your home: You do not have to sell your home when you downsize. Consider renting out your home or a reverse mortgage.
Independent living facilities are an excellent option for healthy seniors and allow them to live in their chosen community. It eliminates the need to perform maintenance tasks, and they can enjoy socialising, privacy, communal living, safety, and autonomy that independent living offers.
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