Texas Senior Care and Housing Directory
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Choosing an Independent Senior Living Community

What You Should and Shouldn't Expect

Couple living in retirement community

Independent senior living communities are designed for people aged 55 and older who are still physically independent and fairly healthy; those who can live alone without the requirement of skilled nursing or more than light assistance around the home.

These types of senior living communities are generally the closest to normal communities of all the types of senior living situations; they are more hands-off than assisted living communities or nursing homes. However, they do come with some benefits for residents. Couple choosing independent living lifestyle

Here are a few things you should -- and shouldn’t -- expect at an independent senior living community.

What You Should Expect

Private condos or apartments. Independent living facilities generally provide a lot of privacy—unlike most nursing homes, for example, where you might only have your own room and possibly a roommate. Independent living communities frequently offer apartments or individual housing units that might come in the form of duplexes, single-family houses, cottages, or town homes. You may have the option of buying as well as renting.

Communal living spaces. In addition to your private apartment, you’ll also get communal areas. Most independent living facilities offer dining on-site, so you have the option of dining out as well as cooking in your home. Some offer swimming pools, gyms, tennis courts, spas, game rooms, and other amenities as well.

Help with chores. Independent living areas often offer landscaping and gardening services, as well as help with some basic chores such as light housekeeping, home maintenance, and running errands. One reason some seniors choose independent living is that they can travel for long periods of time without having to arrange for the upkeep of their own home—the independent living facility will take care of it while you’re gone.

Social programs. Some independent living facilities go a little farther in encouraging their residents to socialize with each other—by offering social activities including group trips, theater outings, shopping trips, hikes and walks, and other communal activities.

What Not to Expect

Health care. Independent living communities do not, as a rule, offer round-the-clock skilled nursing care. Most of the time, residents are expected to use local hospitals and doctors’ offices to meet their health care needs. However, the independent living facility may provide transportation to your doctor’s appointments. Some independent living facilities have medical alert devices and round-the-clock managers, so someone is always on site in case there is a health emergency.

Help with activities of daily living. You’ll get help with basic chores and light housekeeping at most independent living facilities, but you won’t get help with more intimate activities—such as bathing, dressing, managing medication, using the toilet, and other activities.

While most independent living facilities do not provide more in-depth help with residents’ medical or personal needs, some are part of continuing care facilities designed to provide for residents’ needs in the more advanced stages of aging.

In these facilities, residents can go from independent living to assisted living, which usually offers help with activities of daily living; to a nursing home when their physical needs require the attention of round-the-clock staff. Do some research into the facilities in your area, and hopefully you’ll be able to find one that suits your needs.

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DISCLAIMER: Links to other websites or references to products, services or publications do not imply the endorsement or approval of such websites, products, services or publications by Elder Options of Texas. The determination of the need for senior care services and the choice of a facility is an extremely important decision. Please make your own independent investigation.

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