You’ve investigated your options and you’ve decided to move into an independent living community where you have more amenities and don’t need to worry about home maintenance. Now you have questions about the specifics related to independent living communities including floor plans, apartment options, amenities, services and cost. What are the typical floor plan options? What amenities should you look for? And which prices are right for your budget?
This article should clear up some of these questions and help you prepare for the next chapter of your new life in an independent living community.
Independent living apartments, also known as 55+ apartments, provide active adults at or near retirement with living options and opportunities they wouldn’t have if they continued living in their own home. In independent living apartments, you’ll be able to live your life on your terms but with amenities and services that enhance your lifestyle.
You have the freedom to make your own schedule and access to everything the community has to offer. When you want a bit of solitude, you can retreat to the comfort and privacy of your own apartment. You can also choose to take advantage of the activities scheduled within the independent living community or venture out into the local community. This means that you have a wide array of dining experiences, cultural events and shopping both on- and off-site.
When it comes to dining, you can prepare food in your own kitchen or enjoy hassle-free community dining with chef-prepared meals and food selections. Many independent living communities offer multiple dining options from formal restaurant-style dining to the convenience of grab-and-go food choices or even full-service bars with bistro-style dining. The best communities offer outdoor dining during nice weather, as well.
There are benefits to continuing to live in your own home — the biggest being familiarity. You’ve likely lived in your home for many years, and you’ve made lots of memories within its walls. There may no longer be a mortgage on the home, making it seem like the logical choice. And, you’ve always dreamed of passing it on to your children. However, owning a home comes with ongoing expenses, including physical, time and financial commitments to keep your home in good shape. When you own a home, you’re responsible for:
When you own your home, you’re also responsible for any upgrades needed to keep it accessible as you age. Want a shower without a large step? You’ll need to make any renovations yourself or hire someone to help.
Those responsibilities can be more overwhelming as you get older and prefer to devote your time to your hobbies, family or friends. That’s typically where an independent living community can help. We’ve already touched on dining and some community programs and recreational activities, but there are many other benefits, amenities and services commonly provided or offered by most independent living communities.
Imagine never having to worry about mowing the grass or raking leaves because landscaping and snow removal are provided. Imagine never having to change a light bulb or worry about repairs because maintenance and repairs are also taken care of in an independent living community. You’ll never have to worry about paying for utilities (except maybe your personal cell phone), basic cable, WiFi or property taxes because they’re all included in the monthly fee.
In addition to relieving these common burdens of homeownership, many communities offer additional amenities. Although benefits, amenities and services can vary from community to community, they commonly include:
Many communities also incorporate a wellness philosophy into their programming. At Aspire, our trademark wellness philosophy focuses on holistic wellness that helps each resident reach their personal goals. The philosophy is based on 12 years of research and studies concerning successful aging, is designed to help residents focus on the four components of wellness — physical, social, intellectual and spiritual.
Look for a similar wellness philosophy and amenities like the ones listed above when you’re researching potential communities. The best options will likely have a combination of these amenities along with enticing floor plans and affordable prices.
Because independent living communities are designed for active adults, the amenities and features are often comparable to those you would find in any small home or spacious apartment complex. Most communities offer apartment-style residences with one to two bedrooms and one or two bathrooms. Independent living floor plans also have other common features, which generally include:
Some apartments also include patio, balcony or den options. When researching floor plans, make a list of the most important features to you. For example, a washer and dryer may be a must, but perhaps a dining area isn’t as important because you prefer to go out to eat. Look for all the items on your must-have list when you tour communities, then consider what additional features may make each option stand out.
Since an independent living community doesn’t provide personal care or healthcare-related services, it’s generally one of the less expensive senior living options. Even when compared to the cost of living in your own home, independent living often comes out cheaper because you don’t need to pay for ongoing maintenance, upkeep and upgrades.
Research indicates that the average independent living apartment cost ranges between $1,500 and $10,000 per month. In most cases you can find luxury communities with the amenities you’re looking for at prices between $2,000 and $3,500 per month. This cost varies based on amenities, services, apartment sizes and location. As already mentioned, costs of the apartment lease often include maintenance, repairs, landscaping, snow removal, housekeeping and all utilities except phone. Meal plans may be included or may come at an additional cost. Some communities also have a move-in fee which is often equal to the cost of one month’s rent.
Your living situation is unique, and because independent living community costs vary from location to location, you are likely wondering about the specific costs of an independent living community versus that of continuing to live in your own home. Check out Genworth’s Cost of Care Calculator as a good starting point to get the information you need.
After doing a thorough comparison, the results may surprise you. Living in an independent living community compares quite favorably to that of aging in place. Not only that, but you gain additional time to pursue your interests, alleviating many of the non-financial burdens of caring for a home as well. Maximizing your time and improving how you spend it may not be financially rewarding, but it can greatly improve your quality of life.
An independent living community should have amenities and programming that keep you safe, engaged, entertained, involved, healthy, creative and even pampered. You will find all this and more at Aspire at Carriage Hill. Our independent living apartments make it easy for you to customize your private apartment in an environment you’ll love to call home. Our amenities and services take care of the mundane chores so all you have to worry about is what you want to do next.
At Aspire, you’ll have lots of time to enjoy life, creating a future as interesting and exciting as your past. Contact us to learn more. We look forward to giving you a tour of our Richmond, Virginia, independent living community.