How Do I Decide Whether to Move to an Independent Living Apartment?

7 answers | Last updated: Oct 15, 2016
A fellow caregiver asked...

What do I do if I need to move to an independent living apartment from my large house. I can no longer take care of it on my own? My brother doesn't agree I should move because he believes I can take care of the house myself and I shouldn't "short change" myself. I know what I need and he is thousands of miles away from me.

Expert Answers

Nan Hayes is founder of, the national resource network of Certified Relocation and Transition Specialists for seniors, and President of RightSized Living, a senior home transition service in Illinois.

You know better than anyone else what lifestyle will suit you best in the years to come. Deciding to move to an independent living apartment is not short changing yourself and in many ways can be very rewarding. Many older adults abandon the overwhelming burden of home maintenance and move to more efficient apartments, condos or community settings. Today's independent living communities offer both personal enrichment and a more relaxing lifestyle. New friends, community activities, transportation, meal plans and housekeeping arrangements may all be available through communities in your area. The choice is yours. Here are a few things to consider:

Cost- include everything you spend on your home, such as mortgage, insurance, taxes and repairs/maintenance when you compare the cost of a your home to the cost of a new place.

Location- carefully consider proximity to services, friends, family and your preferred climate when making a choice.

Health"”We can't anticipate what will happen down the road, but be sure to take all your current medical issues into consideration before choosing between wholly independent communities and those that offer different levels of care,Continuing Care Retirement Communities or CCRC's.

Home sale "”use a licensed Senior Real Estate Specialist who can understand your needs and can help with your sale in today's market.

Downsizing"”it can be challenging to let go of a lifetime's possessions, so create a space plan and take only those things that you absolutely need or love. Consider the support of a Certified professional to help with move management,estate sale and other services.

Community Answers

Jorie13 answered...

I am facing much the same situation. (Own my own home close to family who come over 3 or 4 time a week to help me with some chores I can't do well anymore). My short term (even long and medium) memory is getting worse. Judgement failures caused me to stop driving. Since I basically have normal intelligence, my family and friends find it hard to realize how affected I am. Recently held a burning piece of paper in my hand not wanting it to damage my floor or sink--should have been a no-brainer--better the sink than me. Really think I could enjoy group situation where I could go to a meal with others when I felt like it or stay in my own quarters when I felt like it. Concerned that I might run across people who would want more attention from me than I want to give (pretty much of a loner). Just giving it to God right now as have found that solutions usually come when needed. The thing that is good about progressive living for elders that I have checked out is that you are still in charge of your own space. I don't want to be in someone else's home and subject to their rules. I don't know about you. Your brother may not realize how comfortable and flexable these communities can be. The ones here in Sacramento offer choices of owning/renting apartments to completely independent homes with daily/weekly cleaning/meals (the optional communal breakfast appeals to me since I basically don't want to oook anymore), transportation to doctors and shopping, pools, libraries, classes, etc. If you have friends where you are, you should check out local options first and then maybe extend if needed. Good luck and God bless your choices.

Ca-claire answered...

Nan Hayes gave a very good answer to your question. 18 months ago, we moved my parents (kicking and screaming for the most part) to an independent living facility. It was the best thing possible for them - even they admit it now. The social interaction there is absolutely wonderful, and it gives me peace of mind to know that they get two balanced, healthy, good meals each day. The third is on their own. If we could have moved them about 5 years ago, it would have been much better. Dad was just diagnosed with moderate stage Alzheimers on Monday and is refusing to take any medication for it. Says that he can remember what's important. Our family probably would have caught the symptoms earlier, if they had lived closer to us (we moved them 160 miles). Where they lived before, most of their friends had either passed on, or moved to live near their children. Move BEFORE you think you need to, the longer you wait, the more difficulty you may have.

The caregiver's voice answered...

Although this is a personal choice, I also think this is a GREAT IDEA!

You're taking the initiative while you're of sound mind and body to do something about it.


Your brother may disagree because you're his sister and he may perceive your choice to reflect on him as well--perhaps, he may be fearing the same thing in his life or fear the uncertainty of your transition.

Whatever his reasons, YOU'LL find downsizing to make life simpler and easier; so that you can focus on what's important--your relationships.


Punkersad-sharon midlothian, il answered...

I am a 56 year old who has been wanting to go to a facility for the last 5 to 6 years. To me it is a no brainer, exercise facility, dining hall, craft classes, someone to drive me places, never alone. No home to maintain, no bills that are unexpected, no grocery shopping which I hate. They provide everything that you need and will leave you alone if you want. Great.

Flgal answered...

I found a home care agency to help with what I need right now, I can stay where I am for now.

A fellow caregiver answered...

I am ready for a life of leisure. Mainly, since I don't have any family left, I will need some help if I should get sick! Moving into assisted living may be an option. I also don't need all the troubles with home ownership. I am a very independent person and can handle all things up to now.