6 Things You Should Know About Independent Living

6 Things You Should Know About Independent Living

If you are getting ready for retirement or already there, you may be thinking about making a change to your current living arrangement. Moving to an independent senior living community could be one option you’re considering, and if so you may have a few questions. That makes sense since this is such a major transition, and that’s why NewGait presents this list of common questions and answers about independent living. 

What does independent living really mean?

Reading “independent living” may conjure up images of nursing homes. In reality, independent living is far from assisted living or skilled nursing home care. This term covers all sorts of living options for older adults, including retirement communities, co-ops, and senior apartments. Care is not provided for residents but there are amenities and features to make their lives easier. So really, independent living can preserve your independence and your quality of life in retirement. 

What are the costs of independent living?

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Since independent living can refer to so many different senior living arrangements, it only makes sense that costs vary. On average, seniors pay anywhere from $1,500 per month to $6,000 per month to live in a retirement or other independent living community. Keep in mind that this amount may also cover utilities and amenities, Which can make it a pretty good deal for seniors. 

When you’re ready to start looking for independent living or nursing homes, depending on your needs, sites like SeniorCare can help you locate a facility that’s within your budget. You can search based on your zip code and look at different facilities based on their ratings. It’s a good idea to have a loved one help you out with this process, as they may think of questions or concerns that don’t immediately come to mind.

How do seniors pay for independent living?

In terms of paying these monthly fees, you can look at it as you would buying or renting a home in any other situation. This is how most communities work, and you will likely need to use your own income to cover costs associated with living there. Selling your home can help with costs and you can always do a little research into the local housing market before reaching out to a real estate professional. That way, you will have a better idea of the sort of price and timeline you can expect. 

What about seniors living on a fixed income?

There’s no question that a $1,500 to $6,000 monthly expense can be overwhelming for many senior citizens. However, one aging study found that half of all seniors living alone do not have the income needed to cover routine living expenses. If you are living on a fixed income, you can see if there are government-funded senior housing options in your area. You can also look into different local organizations that assist underserved populations. 

Are there other resources available for seniors?

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According to the National Institute on Aging, isolation is a serious public health problem for older adults and seniors. Isolation can of course have negative mental health impacts, but there are physical health effects as well. You may be looking into independent living because you are trying to avoid loneliness, and making the transition can certainly help. If, however, you prefer to stay in your current home, you can look into additional community programs for seniors. 

When is it time to consider assisted living instead?

If you are looking for more company or amenities to make your golden years more comfortable then independent living may be the right choice for you. However, if you are having trouble managing daily tasks, like getting dressed, taking medications, and making your own meals, an assisted living community may be a better fit. These activities are known as ADLs and can be challenging for many older adults. Assisted living can also be appropriate for health conditions. 

Moving homes is always a major transition, regardless of your age. Even so, making a move to independent living is not the same as transitioning into assisted living. You have so many more options and making this move can help you make the most of your golden years. You can sell your home and/or use your retirement income to help with independent living costs, but there may also be government or community programs available. Explore all your options, and don’t make a decision until you’re absolutely ready to do so.

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A Senior’s Guide to Thriving When Transitioning to Assisted Living

A Senior’s Guide to Thriving When Transitioning to Assisted Living

This is the kind of content you can expect from the NewGait. Visit our blog for more.

Making the transition from your home to an assisted living facility can be difficult. However, this move can benefit you in many ways. Leisure Care explains that this shift can help seniors avoid a decline in health and combat feelings of loneliness, for instance. There are steps you can take to ensure you thrive in your new environment. It’s important to commit to your health and happiness to ensure you can enjoy your later years.

Read on to discover what steps you can take to ensure a seamless transition from your old home to your new assisted living community.

Prepare for the move well in advance

Don’t rush the move to assisted living. Research facilities thoroughly before choosing one. Consider practical elements like location, as well as extras that will help maintain your health. For example, some assisted living communities offer exercise courses. Before you move, you also need to decide what to do with your old home. Find out how much you can get for selling your house using an online calculator like this one from Redfin.

Decorate your new space to make it feel like home

You want to feel emotionally at ease in your new space. When you’re preparing for the move, pack a box of some essential comfort items like a favorite throw blanket and family photos. When you arrive in your new space, you can unpack this box immediately to settle in. Aging Care offers more tips for making an assisted living space feel like home, like decluttering beforehand to make for an easier move.

Enjoy healthy meals with other residents and caregivers

Many communities offer meals for residents, giving you an opportunity to get to know your new neighbors. Sticking to regular mealtimes is especially important for seniors, who tend to have slower metabolisms — meaning, they must get more nutrients while eating smaller portions. The National Council on Aging provides nutrition tips that can help guide your meal choices, emphasizing the need for lean proteins, fruits and vegetables, and whole grains.

Take advantage of exercise opportunities to maintain mobility and independence

In addition to meals, many assisted living communities also offer opportunities for exercise. Take advantage of these courses. According to BioMed Research International, regular physical activity is essential for healthy aging. If you have mobility issues, the NewGait can help you get back on your feet. This physical therapy device helps promote better walking, building strength, balance, and coordination.

Socialize with other residents to stay mentally sharp

When you go to meals or take part in exercise courses at your assisted living community, make a point to socialize with others. Actively engaging with people helps to maintain mental acuity with age. Further, feelings of isolation or loneliness can cause health issues like depression, anxiety, and hypertension. A lack of socialization is also linked to a greater risk of Alzheimer’s Disease, according to Senior Lifestyle.

Invite visitors to help you mingle

If you’re shy, you may have trouble taking steps to integrate with your assisted living community. Even striking up a conversation in an exercise class or over a meal can be tough. Call on friends or family to help. A visitor can be a great way to spark up a conversation — all you have to do is introduce them to others. They can then help facilitate the discussion. Check your community’s guidelines in case there are visitation restrictions.

Take advantage of opportunities to try something new

In addition to regular exercise courses and meals, your assisted living community may host special events, holiday get-togethers, and educational courses. When you have an opportunity to try something new, take it! Harvard Health Publishing explains that novel experiences challenge your brain and maintain mental acuity. Plus, you never know if you’ll discover a new hobby that you can enjoy in the future.

Give yourself time to adjust emotionally 

Even if you follow all of the above steps, you may find yourself experiencing emotional ups and downs as you settle into your new assisted living community. Don’t be afraid to reach out for emotional support. The National Institute of Mental Health provides a comprehensive guide to senior mental health, including how to recognize warning signs of issues like anxiety and depression. A mental health professional can provide guidance if needed.

Making the change and moving from your old home to a new assisted living community isn’t always easy. However, it will benefit your emotional and physical health in the long run. The above guide explains how to ensure a seamless transition.

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