Elderly Parents Independent Living Center - Finding a Good Community

Elderly Parents Independent Living Center - Finding a Good Community

What is an independent living center or community? It's often considered to be a transition for elderly parents and seniors who are still able to take care of themselves, enjoy activities and social interaction, but who don't necessarily want to take care of a large home or property any longer It's where Mom or Dad can mingle with people their own age, with like interests and goals. Self-sufficiency is the key to senior independent living, and knowing what you want before you get there.

Family members should discuss various options of housing for elderly parents who just don't have the energy, or desire, to take care of a large home and all it entails. By the time many seniors reach their 60s and 70s, many want to avoid some of the responsibilities of home ownership and the physical demands of house and yard work.

Finding an independent living center or community may be the answer your elderly parents are looking for, but finding the right one – one that will cater to their interests and hobbies - is not always easy. Considerations must be made regarding location, ease of visitation, and the type of environment or senior activities offered in such a community.

Many family members don't know where to start looking for such a place, nor what questions to ask to ensure that their elderly parents get the most for their money, the security they need, and the comfort they deserve.

Financial Issues with Mom and Dad....Will there be enough to last? See what others are saying and leave a comment of your own.

Senior Independent Living – Basic Characteristics

Independent Living Facilities

Remember the key term in the phrase Independent Living Center or Community is the word "independent". That means that elderly parents should be able to take adequate care of him or herself. When looking for any new living environment, consider:

  • Community Activities offered (recreation, transportation, events, etc.)
  • Community Services offered (meals, laundry, housekeeping, gardeners, etc.)

Family members and caregivers should understand that Independent Living Facilities generally do not offer services for personal care, meals, and housekeeping, though some might – but it will cost you. Nor do they provide on-site nursing care or medical services.

Some independent living communities offer outings, social events and group trips, but many do not. Some communities offer laundry and cleaning services, while others do not. Most senior living communities encourage independence and no supervision. It's like living in an apartment complex or building. Individuals in an independent living center or community must be able to manage their own home, meals and medical needs.

Common Types of Independent Living Center Options

Common facilities for independent living include:

  • Retirement communities
  • Low-income housing
  • Senior apartments

In most cases, individual units accommodate elderly parents, with a shared space for activities (such as a community hall), laundry rooms, recreational rooms, perhaps a swimming pool and dining rooms, where offered.

Senior apartments often provide built-in accessories for elders, such as handrails or grab rails in bathrooms, and pull cords in bedrooms for help getting into and out of bed, and minimal stairways or rises.

Independent retirement communities offer mobile or manufactured homes, clustered housing designs and subdivisions that may utilize shared facilities such as recreation halls, swimming pools, tennis courts and so forth.

HUD, the U.S. Dept. of Housing and Urban Development, may subsidize low-income housing. The waiting lists for these types of facilities are often very long and may take many years to find an open apartment.

10 Tips for Finding a Good Independent Living Center

When looking for an ideal independent living center, ask some questions and don't leave without adequate answers. If management personnel don't want to answer your questions, find another place. If you don't like the answers you receive, find another place.

Independent Living Facilities
  • Is the community secured by a gated entrance or patrolled by security guards?
  • Is public transportation available nearby?
  • Are ground floor units available?
  • How close is the community to doctors, family and friends?
  • Are community services offered? If so, what type? Will they cost extra?
  • Is there ample parking space in a safe, secured area close to resident homes?
  • Are apartments or homes wheelchair or walker-friendly?
  • Are kitchens, showers or bathtubs senior-friendly?
  • How do community landlords or managers deal with medical or natural disaster emergencies?

How Much Will This Cost?

Costs for independent living center communities will vary according to state, location and amenities offered. The lowest costs for such housing options are found through HUD or charities. Costs will be figured at a percentage based on the resident's monthly income.

Medium price ranges based on a per-month rent basis may range from several hundred to several thousand dollars, again depending on amenities and services provided, as well as location and “luxury housing” costs in your geographical area.

High-end facilities require an individual to actually purchase a mobile home or unit on the property. Costs are based on “luxury housing” costs in your geographical area in addition to fees for various services and amenities. For this type of housing, expect to pay between $1,000 and $2,000 a month, or more, which covers all fees, utilities and taxes.

When looking for an independent living center or facility, determine what's included and what's not when it comes to services. Some communities will negotiate on leases, but most won't. In most cases, leases are signed and agreed upon on a yearly basis, but again, the managers or landlords of such properties determine this.

Finding the ideal independent living center is a process that takes time, effort and a lot of research. Ask questions, don't assume, and get it in writing.

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