Independent living is an excellent option for older adults who need extra help in their day-to-day routine but still wish to live as independently as possible.
Many residences offer private accommodations to support this lifestyle, like those at independent living homes in Alberta. The condo-style features and amenities are typically provided in one or two-bedroom suites equipped with kitchenettes and spacious washrooms. Sometimes there is an optional meal service for older adults that want to avoid cooking.
Some independent living plans will provide limited services like bathing, getting dressed, or medication management; however, these services are typically more common for more hands-on care.
Now, let’s explore what independent living entails and its associated benefits.
What is independent living?
Independent living is an alternative to full-time care, where older adults receive some support but largely maintain their independence.
Here are some tips and resources for older adults considering independent living.
Determine needs and preferences.
Make a list of your loved one’s needs and care requirements. This could include daily tasks such as cooking, cleaning, transportation, and medical care. A list will make it easier to decide on what independent living home is best.
Explore the options.
With so many independent living homes out there, it’s essential to research and find the right one. Don’t be afraid to take a tour or ask lots of questions. Have a meet and greet with staff and check out what community events are regularly occurring.
Consider the budget.
Before starting the research and visitation process, make a clearly defined budget. Setting standards up from the beginning will make discussing the finances with potential homes easy.
Don’t forget to ask about fees, optional costs, or one-time expenses to help plan and determine what a family or individual can realistically afford.
Take advantage of tours.
Once the options have been narrowed, it’s time to schedule a tour and get a sense of what each community offers regarding services. Plus, you and your loved one will have firsthand experience with the space before moving in. It will also be the opportunity to see the living spaces, amenities, and services offered.
Take a peek at the social calendar.
To combat potential feelings of loneliness and isolation, it is important that a loved one feels welcomed and has opportunities to engage with the community. This will also strengthen friendships and increase mental well-being.
As family members are involved in the independent living process, it is crucial to stay connected and engaged. While an older loved one will be starting a new and exciting journey, checking in and ensuring they are settling in well is important.
And, when in doubt, don’t be afraid to encourage a loved one to seek additional support when needed. This may include hiring a caretaker, joining a club or group, and accessing other community resources.
What is the difference between independent living and assisted living?
While both programs offer care, the most significant difference between the two is the level of care support that is provided.
Independent living is designed for older adults who primarily live on their own but want to receive some support with certain daily activities such as meals or housekeeping. Whereas assisted living offers more hands-on care. Besides providing support for daily living, assisted living services to include medication management, bathing and assistance with the activities of daily living.
What are the features of independent living?
Several features of independent living may be attractive to older adults considering these options. The best part about the services? They help preserve an older person’s independence and privacy while providing support and services that an individual may need.
- Private living spaces
- Maintenance-free living
- Social events
Different independent living communities offer their types of living quarters. The best ones offer choices, such as between one and two bedrooms. These private residences allow individuals to maintain independence while accessing several amenities and services.
Speaking of the services, several are offered at independent living communities to help enhance a person’s quality of life. They may include meal services, housekeeping, transportation, fitness centres, and social events.
For the hassle of routine maintenance activities while living in an independent community. There’s no need to do lawn care or home repairs because all those tasks are taken care of by staff who support you all day.
Since there is no need to worry about mundane tasks, there is more free time for a loved one to engage in the activities they like doing the most. Whether that’s an individual acting in their private residence or joining the group, there will be something for everyone to enjoy.
Although independent living services do not include medical care, there are typically on-site providers or local partners for older adults to access medical care more quickly.
These features are designed with the person-first model; they are present to create a worthwhile, safe, and comfortable experience for anyone who moves in. Families and older adults can take comfort in balancing independence and care.
In conclusion, families and older adults should consider independent living when an individual needs a helping hand but can live independently.
Not only is it beneficial for assisting with day-to-day activities, but independent living facilities are a community, a group of people with the same goals and in similar stages of life.
While this step may be a little intimidating initially, there are plenty of opportunities to get to know the services before moving in. Visit, ask questions, and consider the financial costs. This is a big step; independent living services are always available when you or your loved ones are ready for the switch.