As your parent starts to age, there will be a number of issues that can arise, and while some may be relatively simple to deal with, others will require more thought and potentially some changes to their lifestyle. One common issue is the question of whether or not a senior independent living facility may be the right choice for your elderly parent. Perhaps your parent is still living on their own, and they haven’t gotten to the point where it’s dangerous to their well-being to be on their own, but issues are arising.
Here we’ll examine what a senior independent living facility is, what it offers to its residents, and why it may be the right choice for your elderly parent.
What Is an Independent Living Facility for Seniors?
You are probably familiar with assisted living facilities for seniors, but what about independent living facilities? This is just a step down from the care and services provided at an assisted living facility. It provides seniors with a way to continue living a full, active, and social lifestyle but it takes all the stress and work out of owning a home. If your parent is currently in their own home, they have all that maintenance and work to deal with.
Just because they are physically capable of handling it, doesn’t mean they want to. It can be exhausting, time-consuming, and expensive to look after a home, and not what seniors want to spend their time doing. At an independent living facility, they will be able to enjoy all that the facility has to offer, as well as its grounds, without ever having to put work into it. It’s a worry-free lifestyle in that sense. It also means they don’t run the risk of any accidents or injuries while trying to maintain a home.
Take for example a detached home that has a driveway and a front and backyard. That means there is grass to cut, gardens to maintain, a driveway to shovel (if you live in an area that gets snow), and a home to maintain and keep in tip top shape. It’s just a lot of extra work and responsibility. There’s also the fact that if it is just them, they likely don’t need all that space.
What Are Some of the Amenities?
Then there is the list of amenities that these facilities are often known for. They can include such things as recreational programs like Tai Chi for combating loss of balance in elderly, clubs, social activities, on-site dining (or they can choose to cook in their own room), and much more. Some may even go as far as offering on-site beauty salons, concierge services, shopping, and so forth.
Building Friendships and Encouraging Socialization
It’s important to point out that a huge benefit in this style of accommodation are the opportunities it offers for socialization and building friendships. These independent living facilities are basically a hub of activity, and because they are filled with others in their age group, it allows your parent to make new friends and really build their social circle. Socialization is encouraged and often the programming revolves around this belief.
Of course, residents are also encouraged to have their family and friends visit them at their home, and ensure that connection is maintained.
What Happens If They Eventually Need More Care?
So, what happens if your parent gets to the point where they need more attention and medical care? Some of these facilities also offer assisted living services, which is a step up. Assisted living can include such things as medication management so your parent doesn’t have to keep track, personal grooming help, laundry services, daily housekeeping, meal preparation, and so forth. It is often that next natural step in the aging process, and if the facility offers both types of services (independent and assisted), there is no need to uproot your parent.
How to Find the Ideal Facility
For families that have made the decision that an independent living facility makes sense for their parent and their lifestyle, it’s important that you go about the process in the right way. While you probably want to be very involved in the process in choosing the facility, remember it is your parent that will be living there, and they need to feel comfortable in the environment. The best way to do that is go through the selection process together.
You can start by searching for “senior living near me”, to find facilities such as Brandywine Living. Once you create a list of potential facilities, go ahead and schedule a tour or visit. This is the best way to get a feel for the facility. This also gives your parent a chance to see what their room or unit would look like, the kind of activities offered, the facilities, and to chat with some of the residents.
Now that you have a short list of contenders that you have also toured, it’s time to get the specifics. You’ll want to ask about the following:
- Pricing, and what is included in that price
- If there are any plans you will need to add to their room, e.g., a meal plan
- The meal selection
- If there are any hidden or extra fees
- What kind of monitoring they offer
- Visitor rules
- An overview of their recreational programs
- How many residents the home has
- If it offers assisted living services (should your parent need them down the road)
What Can Your Parent Bring with Them?
It’s also important that you ask what your parent is allowed to bring with them, and what they will need. Some facilities may offer furnished rooms/units, whereas others will be completely empty and act as a blank slate. There’s no doubt your parent will want to bring along some of their personal items to make it feel more like their space and more comfortable.
If you’ve been thinking about moving your parent to a senior independent living facility but aren’t sure whether it’s the right decision, it’s important to get as much information as possible and approach the discussion in an open and positive manner.