Independent living is a lifestyle option for seniors who are not in need of consistent medical attention, but would like to move out of their family home into a resource rich community.
Unlike assisted living, memory care, or skilled nursing facilities, independent living is an amenities-based lifestyle choice that allows seniors to maintain their independence while enjoying the benefits a full service community offers.
Some independent living facilities are considered “Full service communities” (also known as congregare) that typically provide meals in a restaurant setting, housekeeping, transportation and various social activities. While there may be wellness programs, there are typically no care options available, unless they are licensed as a Residential Care Facility for the Elderly. It is common for independent living facilities to be part of a larger living campus that also has housing arrangements for individuals who need assisted, memory-based, or more comprehensive care.
Senior living managers who run independent living facilities are primarily responsible for the quality of experience, providing new and fresh services to residents and expanding roles of local agencies serving seniors. Many of these facilities utilize the services of a senior living consultant to deepen those roles and find new opportunities for partnership among the Office on Aging for your County or region, as well as charities, area hospitals and non-profits, or even local home health agencies. Senior living managers and senior living consultants work to connect with all programs and service organizations that are currently available for an Office on Aging and identify upgrades or recommendations for enhancing or adding to these programs.
Some of the kinds of programs senior living managers and senior living consultants work to provide are:
- On-site Home Health Agencies (HHA) – which can assist in screenings and educational programs to bridge this gap. They can provide direct services and ancillary support service to low-income senior housing projects. Subsidized senior housing developments often have limited access to a social worker that can assist in suggesting supportive services for the elderly. Access to home health aides is the major component of supportive services HHAs can supply.
- Fall Prevention Programs – Senior Consulting, LLC, and its affiliates have conducted research to develop programs in fall prevention, a typical critical need that is the number one concern for so many elderly, with these programs usually the most utilized by residents that often avoid participation in community sponsored programs.
- Expanded volunteerism of area youth (middle school through high school) benefit your senior living residents with a reaffirmation of their usefulness that extends far beyond their previous family roles and working careers.
While independent living facilities may seem glamorous or out of reach for certain demographics, they are not restricted to the wealthy who can afford fancy condo units. In fact, according to David Stembel, a Pennsylvania architectural firm’s senior project manager, “Independent living facilities that depend on a high-income clientele may have to reconsider their basic business model in order to survive and remain solvent,” he added.
The amenities goal of most independent living facilities isn’t to be the fanciest on the block, but to help seniors enjoy lives full of education, recreation, and social activities with other seniors in an affordable fashion.