Independent living communities offer many flexible options. Independent living is usually designed exclusively for older adults aged 55 and over. However, depending on your preferences, there are different living options, from single-family detached homes to apartment-style living.
And while you maintain your independence, you also can participate in social activities, as many facilities offer amenities such as golf courses, tennis courts, and swimming pools. But how do you choose the right option? FirstLantic and its sister company LiveWell Placements, guide you on how to find a place that will feel like home.
Start by listing your preferences for an independent living community, such as location, type of housing, healthcare services, budget, community size, social activities, and other amenities.
- Find out if the community offers the option of bringing your pet(s) and if there are size or breed restrictions.
- Is maintenance and yard work included if you decide on a detached house?
- Does the facility offer other services, such as daily meals and basic housekeeping?
- Do you have the option of hiring someone to help with light housekeeping and meal preparation?
- Do they have staff available 24/7 in case of emergencies?
- Does the community offer medical care or nursing staff if needed?
Once you know your needs and preferences, you can start narrowing down your options for an independent living community. Services such as LiveWell Placements can set appointments for you, take you to the facilities, and help you find the right choice free of charge. They also know the reputation of the communities and the type of amenities available, so it can take the guesswork out of the process and save you time. You can also arrange visits on your own. Either way, when you are taking a tour, you should consider the following:
- What are the people like that work there? Were they professional, friendly, and accommodating? Did they have a good rapport with the residents?
- What type of training do employees receive?
- What is the ratio of staff to residents?
- Does it have a community feel?
- Are the grounds and the common areas well maintained?
- Do they offer transportation options if you no longer wish to drive?
- Do they offer organized social activities?
- Gauge how accessible the common areas are both inside and outside.
- What type of security do they offer?
- Can you quickly get to locations you frequent, such as shopping, a library, or medical facilities?
- In your potential housing unit, what are the options for future adaptability? Are there any stairs inside the unit or outside? Can ramps be added if necessary?
- Ask if you can speak with a few current residents to get an idea of what they like or don’t like about their living situation.
- Check with state officials to see if they have received formal complaints and ensure their licenses are all in order.
Once you have found the right independent living community, it’s time to get ready. All moves are stressful, but there are things you can do to make sure you are prepared and can adapt to your new living situation as quickly as possible.
- Pack well before the move and determine which of your possessions are the most important that you want to take with you and which things can be sold or donated.
- Do your homework and ensure all your questions are answered before moving.
- Get out there and meet people. Introduce yourself to your neighbors, sign up for some activities, and explore the amenities. The more comfortable you get in your new environment, the sooner it will feel like home.
- Surround yourself with things you love, like photos, paintings, familiar furniture, etc., and make your new home your sanctuary.
- Be kind to yourself. It can be hard to make a move when you get older, especially if you are leaving behind a home where you raised your family. It is normal to feel some sadness but if it becomes overwhelming, talk to a trusted family member, friend, or professional. Don’t feel like you are all alone. You might even find that other community residents had similar issues with their transition and gain some insight from them.
Look at this new phase in your life as an adventure. Use this time to try new things and get out of your comfort zone. Take a class, travel, volunteer, meet new people and explore things you always wanted to try. And most of all, remember that you worked your whole life to get to retirement, so enjoy it.
If you or someone you know is interested in placement services or home healthcare services in South Florida, FirstLantic and LiveWell Placements can help. We are locally owned and operated, providing our patients with the highest quality in-home care and placement services in Fort Lauderdale ( Broward County), as well as Delray Beach (Palm Beach County) since 2000.
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