Living independently brings with it dignity, self-confidence, and a sense of fulfillment. Therefore, seniors who are able to live with little or no assistance with activities of daily living opt for independent living facilities. Research shows that seniors who are a part of senior living communities are more likely to make friends and try new things.

Residents of independent living communities live without assistance, yet numerous centers offer a variety of amenities like gyms, clubhouses, housekeeping, security, transportation, and laundry services at additional costs.

Independence is core to your senior’s happiness and quality of life. When dependent, he/she may feel defeated and depressed, leading to loss of confidence and self-respect. Therefore, when choosing a senior care facility for your elder, prioritize his/her independence.

Here are six ways that can help retain your senior’s dignity as he/she moves into an independent living facility.

1. Keep Your Senior’s Interests in Mind

Your priorities and your senior’s needs may vary. Though it is tempting to make decisions based on your convenience and preferences, it is crucial that you keep your senior’s requirements in mind as he/she will be using the services of the eldercare center.

For instance, if you live in Albuquerque, you may choose an independent living in Albuquerque to make it convenient for you to see your senior often. However, if your elder loves meeting people and the independent living facility you have shortlisted doesn’t offer platforms for social interaction, your senior will soon be uncomfortable living there.

Before looking for a suitable independent living community, have an open discussion with your senior to understand his/her needs. Take into consideration his/her current habits, lifestyle, hobbies, and personality traits and match them with the services offered by each center. Focus on what is best for him/her. For instance, if he/she loves to stay active, you must look for amenities like swimming pool, gym, and sports club.

Having an open discussion with your elder about his/her senior living needs can be emotionally taxing, yet you must consider the type of care he/she requires, the finances, and the change in lifestyle that will follow.

Choosing an independent living facility based on your senior’s choice will make your senior self-sufficient and improve his/her quality of life, enabling him/her to live comfortably and with dignity.

2. Make Safety Your Priority

Healthy seniors who choose to live in independent living communities are usually over 55 years of age and able to live without much support. Yet, safety is one of the most crucial aspects of living alone.

When your elder chooses to live by himself/herself, a thorough safety assessment of the independent living center is a must for his/her wellbeing. This will not only protect your senior from accidents, but also keep you from constantly worrying about his/her comfort.

Talk to the management about the security arrangements and safety measures taken at the independent living facility. Check for uneven floors or staircases, inadequate lighting, obstructed pathways, and slippery rugs that may cause falls.

Also, consider the accessibility to important facilities your elder may need to visit frequently or in times of an emergency. These include hospitals, pharmacies, rehabilitation centers, and physical training centers.

3. Ensure the Facility Offers Engagement Activities

Your senior’s stay at the independent living facility should be enjoyable. After all, he/she is now looking forward to a few years of peace and quiet and need not bother with mortgages, kids, and work.

Though your elder desires to live independently, he/she seeks companionship of people of his/her age group. Recreational centers, parks, clubhouses, holiday gatherings, art/crafts meets, movie nights, and sports clubs, offer a platform for seniors to meet and connect with their peers.

The independent living facility you choose should offer plenty of opportunities for meeting people. Check with the management about the social and fun activities planned therein.

Social interaction can significantly improve your senior’s mood, making him/her feel confident and loved. Having companions of the same age who share common issues can be extremely comforting.

4. Research on the Services Offered

Independent living centers are simple housing arrangements where one need not bother with daily household chores such as the yard work or the house repairs and maintenance. However, these centers do not offer in-home help, medical care, or nursing staff as they are made for elders who can take care of themselves.

Research well on the non-medical, yet crucial services, such as private/semi-private rooms, cooked meals, housekeeping, beauty salon, transportation, and laundry services offered by the independent living facility.

Being aware of the services offered by independent living facilities will help you choose the most suitable one for your senior. For instance, if your senior isn’t comfortable cooking meals, you can choose a facility that offers meals three times a day. Similarly, if your senior needs to make frequent doctor visits, choose a center that offers transportation to his/her doctor’s clinic.

5. Consider the Nature and the Size of the Neighborhood

The independent living facility your senior moves into should have a welcoming neighborhood. It should enable him/her to socialize easily with the other residents.

The support staff present should be skilled, courteous, and offer timely services. If you plan to opt for meal services, have a meal at the facility and interact with the people living there to know more about the quality of service offered.

Research on the size of the independent living center and consider your senior’s personality and preferences when choosing one. If your elder is an extrovert and loves to participate in events, choose a large and active community. On the other hand, if your senior prefers privacy, opt for an apartment-style or detached housing facility.

6. Take into Account the Costs of Living Independently

In the U.S., the average monthly cost of independent living facilities ranges from $1000 to $3000 depending on the services offered. Numerous independent living communities offer fixed monthly rental prices with additional charges for à la carte services like in-home assistance and meals.

Medicare and other insurance plans do not fully cover independent living facility costs. Talk to your insurance advisor about the expenses that can be covered. Include medical and other expenses and make sure you choose a facility that suits your and your senior’s budget.

Sit with your senior and gauge the family savings and pensions that can be used to cover the costs of independent living. Effective planning will help you manage the expenses well, enabling you and your elder to live a stress-free life.

Elders living independently at senior care centers experience a sense of pride and achievement in doing so. Therefore, you must do everything in your control to foster your elder’s freedom and self-reliance.

The above-mentioned considerations will enable you to choose the ideal independent living facility for your senior to enable him/her to live with comfort and dignity.

Author's Bio: 

Evan Thompson, CEO and founder of Senior.One has a long standing interest in finding solutions for seniors. He helps connect senior citizens and their family members with elder care service providers and find the resources they need in one place. He offers information on nursing homes, hospice, financial planning, adult care, lifestyle and assisted living facilities in Albuquerque. He provides information on housing, medical professionals, financial planning services, and lifestyle options.