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Frequently Asked Questions About Independent Living accent

June 26, 2024 | By

Independent living communities provide convenient opportunities to engage and grow intellectually, emotionally, and socially in active, vibrant surroundings. When it comes to the experience of being a resident, each independent living community is as unique as the people who call it home.

Let’s dig into the details with frequently asked questions about independent living, such as what amenities it includes, how much it costs, what kinds of programming it provides, and more.

1. What is independent living?

Independent living is defined by a sense of freedom and choice. It’s a great option for adults 55 and older who are generally in good health and don’t need help with activities of daily living (ADLs) and instrumental activities of daily living (IADLs).

In independent living, you’re free from the responsibilities of homeownership such as yard care, snow removal, and house upkeep and repairs. You can choose how you spend each day, with a rich variety of amenities, services, and conveniences just outside your front door. The ideal independent living community provides easy access to everything you need to live your best life, including delicious food, comprehensive well-being programs to maintain physical and emotional health, and ongoing learning opportunities.

2. What types of floor plans are available?

Independent living floor plans vary from community to community. Depending on location, WesleyLife communities offer single-family homes, townhomes, and apartments. Floor plans range in size from studios to three-bedroom residences.

When you find a community you’re interested in, take a tour and ask to see the floor plan options for yourself. Stepping inside the front door can give you a sense of whether a place feels like home.

3. If my care needs change, will I still receive the support I need in independent living?

Independent living does not include daily hands-on help with personal care activities. WesleyLife at Home is an option for those who don’t want or need to move to assisted living but would still like occasional at-home help. WesleyLife at Home services can include everything from medical support to light housekeeping to meal delivery.

When you choose a WesleyLife Community for Healthy Living — also commonly referred to as a continuing care retirement community or life plan community — other levels of care will be available on the same campus. If your needs change, you can transition into a new level of care without moving to a different community.

4. How much does an independent living community cost?

Many factors go into the overall cost of living in an independent living community, including the local cost of living, the size of residence you choose, whether the cost plan is all-inclusive or a la carte, and more.

When considering an independent living community, calculate your monthly expenses, including those involved with maintaining your current residence: upkeep and improvements, insurance, utilities, and taxes. (You can use our cost calculator to add up the numbers.) The monthly cost of independent living may be more affordable than you assume, especially when you account for included amenities such as transportation, entertainment, a fitness center, and more.

One of the benefits of choosing a WesleyLife community is The WesleyLife Promise. If one of our residents depletes their funds through no fault of their own, they will not be asked to leave or experience a reduction in care.

5. What amenities and services should I look for in an independent living community?

Choose an independent living community with amenities that match your priorities and desired lifestyle. These could include concierge services, an on-site salon, walking paths, a dog park, banking services, a fitness center, community gathering spaces, swimming pools, medical services, and an on-site general store.

Before you commit to a community, ensure that it provides high-quality dining options to support your health and preferences, from fine dining spaces to casual bistros to takeout. Ask to see menus during your tour, and stay for a meal to sample the food options and quality.

Do you enjoy driving, or would you rather let someone else sit behind the wheel? Consider whether you would like to live in a community with on-site parking options. Transportation services are also a big perk — you can use them when you aren’t in the mood to drive, or all the time if you don’t want the hassle and expense of maintaining your own vehicle.

6. What kind of programming should an independent living community offer?

Regular socialization is key to maintaining physical and cognitive health as we age. Independent living communities are built around socialization opportunities, from a calendar full of cultural, fitness, social, and spiritual programs to volunteer opportunities and a variety of resident clubs.

If a busy social life isn’t your cup of tea, remember that participation is optional. You can spend Monday taking a pottery class and eating each meal with friends and then spend Tuesday relaxing in your own quiet, peaceful apartment. With social opportunities just outside your front door, the choice is yours.

The right independent living community will also offer programming focused on well-being. Easy access to a fitness center, exercise classes, on-campus walking paths, and more can help maintain long-term health and physical resilience. At WesleyLife communities, you’ll also enjoy a focus on holistic well-being, or what we call the Core4: moving naturally, having the right outlook, eating wisely, and being connected.

7. What is the ideal staff-to-resident ratio in an independent living community?

Depending on the state, assisted living and memory care communities may be required to meet legally mandated minimum staff-to-resident ratios. For instance, in Iowa, residential care facilities must provide one direct care staff member per 25 residents during the day.

Independent living is generally not required to maintain direct care providers on the premises and on call. However, many communities offer on-site medical amenities such as physical therapy or doctor’s offices that operate during regular business hours.

When you tour a community, ask about the number of team members on-site during various times, including the daytime, evening, and overnight. Consider whether enough are available to meet scheduled and unscheduled resident needs.

8. How do I know if the team members are friendly?

The best way to know whether the team members are welcoming and friendly is to tour the communities you’re considering. Meeting the team and witnessing them in action provides insight that’s difficult to gain from a brochure or website. While you’re there, stop and talk with current residents to ask questions and benefit from their firsthand experiences with the team.

In addition to taking a tour, perform online research to find the information you need. Look for reviews from reliable sources, and read testimonials from current and former residents and team members.

9. What are the hallmarks of a positive independent living community culture?

All the aspects of independent living we’ve mentioned so far — plentiful amenities and services, dynamic programming, trained and friendly team members — are the building blocks of a positive independent living community culture. Friendly, engaged neighbors also make a community shine and create a welcoming, inclusive environment.

In addition to the people working and living there, the philosophy behind the community matters. Is the organization nonprofit? Does it promote principles that reflect your own, such as quality, dignity, community, stewardship, and integrity? These elements will be reflected in community life and directly impact your day-to-day experience.

As you gather information and prepare for the next step, remember that the next half of your life can be the best half. Explore our guide to Living Your Best Life After 55 for more strategies to thrive as you move forward.



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