Independent Living Services and Amenities

By Caring.com Staff

Independent living communities feature a variety of homes, from studios to roomy 2-bedroom apartments. Management staff generally keeps a watchful eye over residents, and in most communities there is 24-hour staffing and building security. In an independent living community, residents maintain their independence, living in a private suite, coming and going as they please, and making the choices that are right for them. These communities do not offer health or nursing care nor assistance with activities of daily living such as bathing, dressing and medication management.

Note: If your loved one needs help with activities of daily living (getting dressed, walking, eating meals, bathing, or toileting), an assisted living community might be a better fit. Learn more about the options in Nursing Home, Independent Living, or Assisted Living? Options Explained.

While every independent living community is different, many of the leading providers feature communities that offer the following (and more):

  • Chef-prepared meals made daily
  • Activity and wellness coordinators that plan numerous events for the community
  • Weekly housekeeping and linen service
  • Local transportation services
  • Suites that include kitchenettes or even full kitchens
  • Live-in management and/or 24-hour security
  • Chapel services
  • Travel programs
  • On-site barber shops and beauty salons
  • Fitness rooms, pools and hot tubs
  • Concierge service

COST OF INDEPENDENT LIVING

The monthly fees for independent living community residents vary due to a number of factors, from the community’s location to apartment size. Typically more affordable than assisted living or nursing homes, the average cost for these communities ranges from $1,500 to $3,500 per month. Some communities require an entrance fee, also called a "buy-in" fee, while others only require a month-to-month, all-inclusive rent payment.


PAYING FOR INDEPENDENT LIVING

Most independent living residents pay out of pocket for their living expenses. Long-term care insurance or life insurance may help pay some of the costs of an independent living community.

Meanwhile, some residents turn to family to assist them in covering independent living community fees. Neither Medicaid nor Veteran’s Administration (VA) benefits may be used to cover these costs. However, both programs can help pay for additional in-home care for qualifying residents in independent living communities. More information about ways to pay for independent living can be found here.


INDEPENDENT LIVING PROVIDERS

Caring.com features hundreds of independent living community providers throughout the U.S. These range from large national chains to local companies that manage only one memory care community. Different providers offer their own unique programs, but many offer similar amenities. Browse a list of the top national senior living providers here.


HOW TO FIND AN INDEPENDENT LIVING COMMUNITY

To find an independent living community near you, search by zip code here in the Caring.com Independent Living Directory. Be sure to look for reviews of independent living communities written by other family caregivers.

Once you've narrowed your choices, take a tour so your loved one can see the amenities firsthand. Ask for a complete cost analysis with every charge detailed, and be wary of extra fees or hidden costs. Many independent living communities will also let your loved one stay as a guest for a night or two, to get a better idea of what the lifestyle really feels like.


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