Now that you’ve reached retirement age, you’re ready to make the most of this chapter of life by moving into an independent living community. After all, you know the benefits – maintenance-free living, a plethora of activities and opportunities, a home where you can age well – but how do you go about finding the right community for you?
“The quest for the right independent living community can seem overwhelming when you’re just getting started,” says Wayne Vinson, Director of Sales at The Village at Gainesville, a senior living rental community that offers independent living, assisted living and memory support. “There are certainly many factors to consider, not the least of which is care levels, wellness opportunities and programming. However, instead of letting choice overwhelm you, look at this as an adventure and an opportunity.”
Wayne suggests thinking back to when you were buying your first home or renting an apartment. “You more than likely had a list of wants, needs and desires when you started looking at places to live,” he says. “You’ll want to do the same thing when looking for an independent living community. These days, there are so many different options in so many different places that by knowing what you want, you’ll be able to choose a place that’s perfect for you.”
Choosing an Independent Living Community: Questions To Ask
Before you begin your search, you want to make sure you’ve determined the necessary things that will enrich your life now and in the future. While every person’s situation is different, here are some must-ask questions to help you narrow down your search and help you find your new home.
Where do you want to live? As they say in real estate, location is everything. When choosing a senior living community, you want to choose one that’s right for you. For some, that’s a location with beautiful weather year-round. For others, it’s somewhere near family members. Or perhaps it’s right where you currently live, near your friends and social circle. Knowing where you want to live in your retirement years will help you really focus your search.
What type of community are you looking for? Independent living communities come in all shapes and sizes. Do you want to live in a stand-alone independent living community, or would you prefer a community that offers a variety of different care options (sometimes known as CCRCs or Life Plan Communities)?
What services and amenities are important to you? No two communities are created equal, so be sure you know what lifestyle best speaks to you. Perhaps you’d prefer a more active community that offers outings into nature, such as hiking, biking or other athletic pursuits. Or maybe you’re more culturally minded and want a community that has plenty of arts and entertainment options.
What would you like your private living space to be like? Independent living community homes can range from small studio residences to large, stand-alone cottage homes. Perhaps you’d prefer the privacy of your own house, or you might want to live in an apartment-style situation that allows you to be in the center of everything. You’ll also want to figure out how much space you’ll actually need to live the best life possible.
When Should You Move To Independent Living?
One of the biggest questions you may have is: when is the right time to move? Truthfully, sooner is better than later. When you move into independent living while you’re “young” – that is, in your 60s or early 70s – you’re still healthy and active enough to enjoy everything that the community (and your retirement) has to offer. Moving “early” also makes it easier for you to remain independent and healthy for longer since you’re moving into a place that is designed for the needs of aging adults.
What Can You Expect from Life in Independent Living?
We’ve mentioned things like services and amenities in independent living, but how does that really translate to a carefree lifestyle when you’re there? Here are just a few of the things to expect when you move to independent living:
- A maintenance-free lifestyle. You’ll never have to deal with repairs, yardwork or surprise fixes again – everything’s taken care of for you.
- Delicious dining prepared by your personal chef. Independent living communities offer a dining experience to rival some of the finest restaurants – and it’s available every day. Many communities have professionally trained chefs on staff who direct a high-quality team in creating nutritious and delicious menus.
- A focus on wellness and health. A happy retirement means a healthy retirement. Independent living communities offer programs (such as The Village at Gainesville’s Vitality Program) that provide health and wellness for mind, body and soul, allowing seniors to remain active and healthy.
- Endless choices and freedom. All the benefits of independent living combine to provide a lifestyle of freedom and choice to residents. This should be the time of your life, and by providing so many opportunities (and taking away all the tedious tasks), you have the opportunity to chase your dreams and live the retirement you deserve.
As you can see, independent living can be a huge benefit for senior adults looking for a more carefree, easygoing and even more luxurious lifestyle. As you begin looking through options, be sure to have a firm understanding of what you want out of retirement as well as what your needs might be in the future. This will lead you to the community that will allow you to live the best life possible.
A Legacy of Living Well
If you want the very best for your parent or loved one, consider The Village at Gainesville, a senior living rental community that offers independent living, assisted living and memory support. Contact us online or call us at 352-231-8706 to learn more about our variety of residential options.