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Taking a Closer Look at Independent Living

Our guest blogger Michelle Seitzer

Editor’s note: This is fourth in a series of posts by guest blogger Michelle Seitzer.

If you’ve been following this series, you now have an overview of the basic levels of senior care and housing, a guide to knowing when and how to initiate a conversation about options, and tips on how to search for the best senior care. Today’s post will explore the independent living category of care in greater detail.

Now more than just a concept, independent living is a distinct category of senior housing that is adding new options all the time.

A few of the current venues classified as independent living available today are:

Also emerging are a host of niche communities; some serve LGBT older adults, others cater to the unique needs and preferences of Asian-American seniors, and still others promote lifelong learning, offering residents the opportunity to attend college classes.

Such diversity makes it difficult to generalize what services you’ll find in each setting. However, most offer:

  1. Transportation options, either through public transit or a community-furnished service.
  2. Basic housekeeping services.
  3. Limited healthcare/personal care services, particularly if it is part of a continuing care retirement community.
  4. A variety of meal plans.
  5. Social programs for engagement, which may be resident-run or coordinated by a full-time employee hired by the community.

All of these are typically charged a la carte or rolled into the monthly rent. The style and layout of living space varies too, ranging from spacious apartments to efficiency suites to condos, studios, cottages, and more.

In the next post: Learn more about the assisted living category of care. Here’s the Closer Look series to date:

 Editor’s Notes: Michelle Seitzer has blogged for the senior living search site SeniorsforLiving.com since 2008, and is the co-moderator of #ElderCareChat, a bi-monthly Twitter-facilitated discussion group for family and professional caregivers passionate about quality senior care.