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Independent Living – 7 Things to Consider

Linda Guerrera

Life can become so complicated. Walk into any home décor store, and you will see signs that say, "Relax" or "Simplify."  

Do we really need these signs to tell us to do these things? Well, they certainly seem to sell well.  

Even I have a sign at my desk that says "Breathe," not to remind me to work my lungs, but to tell me, "Hello! It's time to take a break! You can fix that in a minute, right now, BREATHE!"   

Stress has become so common that no matter how hard we try to stop it, it is a part of our lives. But the older we get, the more we realize how important it is to enjoy the little things.   

Independent Living residences have been popping up everywhere in recent years. These facilities are designed to take the stressors out of life. But, as you can imagine, they are not all the same. So, let's consider the critical factors before taking this next step.    

We go through many physical, mental, emotional, and geographical changes throughout our lifetime. It is just part of daily living. The more years we are on the planet, the more changes we face. While some are easier than others, moving is the most stressful change of all, even in the best situations. But taking the time to step back and see the big picture will help you make the right decision.    

Here's Our Checklist for Independent Living 

Consider what you need when thinking about Independent Living. Take your time to go through this list. Then, print out a copy and highlight the things that matter most to you.    

1. Budget

This is the first thing to consider. Think about what your current costs are. For example, if you own your home, remember to list maintenance costs (lawn care, snow plowing, repairs, etc.) Make a list and compare it with the independent living facility's fees. Once you know your budget, you will better understand exactly what you should be looking at.   

The average monthly cost of living in an independent living facility can range from $1500 to $4000. However, that is a "base cost." While it may seem expensive, if many of the things you are looking for are included, this could be less than what you currently pay for household expenses. Check to see if the monthly fee covers the following:   

  • Amenities    
  • Dining costs. Breakfast, lunch, dinner    
  • Renter's Insurance    
  • Emergency medical care  
  • Payment options    
  • Services (transportation, food delivery, etc.)  

2. Room Size    

Will you be downsizing significantly? For example, you may go from a house into a small apartment. If so, don't look at that as a bad thing. While initially, it may feel like an undesirable situation, many find that letting go of possessions is freeing and, after a while, find that they didn't know why they held on to these things for so long.    

Think about this as well: knick-knacks all over the house clutter up your space (and your mind) and make cleaning a real chore. They aren't called "dust collectors" for nothing. You have heard the song "Let It Go"; make that your anthem!  

When you figure out what you absolutely-no-doubt-about-it-cannot-live-without, find out what options are available in your budget. For example, are you looking for an apartment or a room?    

3. You Are What You Eat    

The Dining area is the first thing on the tour at most independent living facilities. While they may look impressive, there are many things that you should find out about before signing on the dotted line. For example:  

  • Does the facility serve three meals per day?   
  • What about dietary restrictions? Vegan, Kosher, Vegetarian, Gluten-Free?   
  • Are snacks and beverages available throughout the day?   
  • Where can you go to get something quick?   
  • Can you bring a family member or friend to the dining room?   
  • Are there extra charges?   
  • Do they serve beer and wine?   
  • Can you bring alcohol into the dining room?   

4. Transportation  

If you have a car and plan to keep it, you will need to know where you will keep your ride. Find out if parking is available for residents. Here are some questions that you will want answers to:  

  • How far is the parking area from your residence?   
  • Are there extra costs for parking?   
  • Ask if the facility has a transportation service available and what it entails. For example, is there personal service to and from doctor's appointments?     

5. Social Networking   

While you may be living alone, that doesn't mean you will be lonely. Quite the contrary! With less responsibility and more free time, many seniors want to make this time the best!   

  • What activities are available?  
  • Do the activities change weekly? Monthly?  
  • Are there social events within the facility? (Dancing, Parties, Games)  
  • Are there activities during the holidays?    

6. Location, location, location    

Where you are is an integral part of your life. If you have been living in a specific town or city for an extended period, you are probably very comfortable there and know where everything is. Moving to another city could make you feel lonely or homesick. Being in a familiar area can make a big difference when considering a move. Where you live affects just about everything in your life. The places you shop, the street you live on, and your neighbors are all part of your everyday life. When deciding this, it is essential to consider all of the factors that will make this your best choice.        

7. Emergency Services

No one likes to think about it, but when an emergency arises, it is often too late to plan. Make sure that the independent living facility provides emergency services. Here are the questions you should be asking:  

  • Is the front desk staffed 24/7/365?   
  • Who do I contact after regular business hours?   
  • Is there medical staff on duty?   
  • Where is the nearest hospital? 
  • Will my family be notified if I have an emergency? 
Your Complete Guide to Independent Living
Independent Living Aids
What Is Independent Living?


Living in an independent living facility can be the best thing ever for a senior. Still, it is crucial to consider all the above factors. Change can be difficult, but it can also be a welcome and exciting part of your life. After all, life is about how we approach it. So, keep your mind open. Ask the questions. Get the answers. Live your best life! 


Disclaimer: All content found on our website, including images, videos, infographics, and text were created solely for informational purposes. Our reviewed content should never be used for the purpose of diagnosis or treatment of any medical conditions. Content shared on our websites is not meant to be used as a substitute for advice from a certified medical professional. Reliance on the information provided on our website as a basis for patient treatment is solely at your own risk. We urge all our customers to always consult a physician or a certified medical professional before trying or using a new medical product.

HPFY Linda Guerrera

Linda Guerrera

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Linda Guerrera is the Digital Content Manager for Health Products For You. As an award-winning media professional, she has spent her entire career as on on-air radio personality, program director, voice-over artist ...

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