What is Independent Living?

What is Independent Living?

Independent living communities feature a variety of homes, from studios to roomy 2-bedroom apartments. Management staff generally keeps a watchful eye on residents, and in most communities, there is 24-hour staffing and building security. In an independent living community, residents maintain their independence, living in a private suite, coming and going as they please, and making the choices that are right for them. Sometimes known as retirement homes or 55 and over apartments, these communities do not offer health or nursing care nor assistance with activities of daily living such as bathing, dressing, and medication management.

Independent living

Independent living communities
are also known as retirement communities, retirement homes, Senior apartments, senior housing.

Note: If your loved one needs help with activities of daily living (getting dressed, walking, eating meals, bathing, or toileting), an assisted living community might be a better fit. Independent living facilities are best for active adults who want built-in community without giving up their privacy. Most feature studio or multi-bedroom apartments with kitchens so residents can stay independent as long as possible. Some communities also include housing units subsidized by the federal government. Perhaps most important of all is a fundamental commitment to the independent living philosophy of self-direction and full integration into the community. This means that the successful teacher of independent living skills must be able to let clients make their own choices, practice new skills without being overprotected, and find their own solutions to problems.

Independent living facilities are best for active adults who want built-in community without giving up their privacy. Most feature studio or multi-bedroom apartments with kitchens so residents can stay independent as long as possible. Independent living is appropriate for people who are healthy now and would like to be their peers, who value security and like their independence but don’t want to bother with some tasks like yard work and housekeeping.


How to select the right community?

Make sure there are great people – visit the community, talk to the residents and staff. Find out if they are friendly if the residents seem truly independent. Also, the size of the community is important. If you’ve only ever lived in a house will an apartment on the 10th floor make you feel confined? Check out the storage, the stairs, the parking if needed.



  • Are you close to friends and family?
  • Do you feel safe on the grounds?
  • Is the community in the neighborhood?
  • Is the community well lit?
  • To your doctors and hospital?
  • To the mall, restaurants, and the movies?
  • Are you within walking distance to any grocery stores or pharmacies?
  • Is there a gym in the community or one close by?
  • Are there walking trails nearby?
  • Are there Parks close by?

Things to Do

  • Is there a pool in the community?
  • A recreational center?
  • A common area?
  • Is there a reading group in the community?
  • A knitting group?
  • A bowling league?
  • The bridge group in the community is very important?
  • Are there residents who like to ride bikes there? Or to the beach? 


Retirement Community Basics


While most planned retirement communities have done a reasonable job of providing for the needs of the body, such as comfortable surroundings, excellent food, and good health care, there is relatively little done in the way of sustenance for the soul. By that is meant an environment to enhance independence, personal growth, meaningful work substitutes and companionship of peers. There is a new response emerging that may help satisfy these “finer human hunger”. The response is that of a college or university based retirement community. Such a milieu can provide rich and varied contexts for older people to be exposed to new ideas and learning, for personal growth and to discover new approaches to a meaningful life. This environment may also serve to reduce the stereotypes and attitudes which the young and old have of each other and in the process enhance the possibilities for interacting and learning across the generations.

Do you want to live in a single-family home, condo, apartment, modular home, RV or share a home with other single seniors? You’ll find all of these retirement community offerings.

Retirement communities are designed with seniors in mind. That means conveniences, ease of use, and amenities. Conveniences could be a neighboring hospital, shopping center or on-site restaurant. Homes are often fitted with easy to reach cabinet doors, higher toilets, open, single-level floor plans and other ways to make senior living easier.

The amenities in the Independent Living retirement community includes fitness centers, craft classes, billiards rooms, walking trails, indoor/outdoor pools, tennis courts, golf courses, religious services, local transportation, security, and many other ways to stay active.

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