Elderly Housing – Retirement and Independent Living Communities

    Published: 06-16-2009
    Views: 11,294
    Mary Alexander with Home Instead Senior Care provides information about various housing options and how to choose the best one for your parents. This video will focus on retirement and independent living communities.

    Housing Options for SeniorsRetirement and Independent Living CommunitiesMary Alexander: Hi! I'm Mary Alexander from Home Instead Senior Care, and today I'm discussing the various seniors housing options and how to choose the best one for your parents. Now I am going to talk about retirement and independent living communities.

    Independent living communities are designed for seniors who are able to live on their own, but desire the security and the conveniences of community living. These communities are also called by other names, such as Retirement Communities, Active 55 Plus Communities, Congregate Living or Senior Apartments.

    The decisions to leave a primary home for one of these facilities is usually based on number of factors, such as needing a smaller space, not wanting to deal with outside maintenance or seeking the security of being in a gated community. Still others choose Retirement communities because they enjoy being around their peers who share similar interests. Some also foresee the day when they might need additional assistance and seek to live in a community that provides a broad range of health and medical services they can access if needed.

    Typically, Retirement and Independent Living Communities are for the younger seniors, in other words, those who are in good health and are still active. Retirement communities come in all different shapes and sizes and tend to be oriented to recreation.

    Some offer accelerated services depending on changing needs. For instance, they could offer in-home care services all the way to skilled nursing or Alzheimer's care. Depending on the services and amenities offered, prices can range from a low cost to moderate cost to a high cost depending on need.

    Let's go over some questions your parents should ask themselves before they move into an independent living community. Does the community meet your recreation, entertainment, and social needs? Is the staff welcoming and are the resident people with whom you feel comfortable? How easy or difficult will it be to return to your traditional home for visits? What restrictions are there on young children being present including grandchildren?

    What is security like? Is there a gate at entrance? Are there security guards? Is there an organization for residents to voice their views to management? How close are the nearest medical facilities? Is parking convenient to your prospective living unit? Is there public transportation? Are there a lot of steps and stairs to climb in your unit or elsewhere on the grounds? Is your unit equipped with grab bars for the shower or similar aids?

    If they have answered those questions and believe that the independent living community might be for them, the next step is to familiarize yourself with community association life and its fees.

    Make sure they inquire in advance about possible charges for the following. Home maintenance and repair, gardening service, fire and theft insurance, snow ploughing, trash collection, water and other utilities, sport and health club fees, cable TV and internet access.

    When it comes to advantages, one of the biggest benefits of Retirement community living is that it promotes independent living, which is a big consideration for many seniors. Beyond independence, the benefit includes security, the possible provision of meals, housekeeping, transportation and planned activities. This is on top of a lot of socializing since your parents will be surrounded by their peers.

    When compared to other housing options, some of the disadvantages of retirement communities are that personal care services usually are not provided. There is often no formal regulation and it may require the payment of a large upfront fee. You should recommend your parents choose this option under the following conditions. They are healthy and able to take care of themselves. They desire security, they no longer want to maintain a house and they prefer to live among peers.

    The average annual cost of a retirement or independent living community varies by real estate markets throughout the U.

    S. The lowest cost facilities are subsidized housing followed by rentals. Planned retirement communities are the higher and up the scale. Monthly fees may apply and can range from a few hundred to several thousand dollars a month.

    Some last issues to help your parents be aware of for this housing option are the financial obligations and contractual agreements they will be responsible for, as well as a full accounting of services provided and any associated costs. And most importantly, they should check on the facility's reputation in the community and its financial health.

    If your parents do choose this option, they should plan on another move, even if it's to another facility on site, and that would be in the event that they are no longer able to care for themselves.

    When some seniors are making a move from their primary home, it's because they need a bit more help for them and Assisted Living Facility might be the answer. We will talk about that option in the next video.