What is Independent Living?
The world of senior living can feel like uncharted territory — unfamiliar, with its language and rules. The distinction between different communities and what they offer is not easy to pick up on. Assisted Living Locators of Maine is here to help guide your decision.
Independent living communities are low-maintenance living arrangements designed for people 55 years and older. Independent senior housing options vary in price and style. There may be apartments, single-family homes or cottages, and condos to pick from. Some independent living is strictly independent, and other options are connected to assisted living or continuing care retirement communities. Communities always provide easier navigation (one-floor living), disability-accessible accommodations, and no maintenance or yard work to worry about. Communities are meant to be socially engaging for active retirees. Amenities may include a clubhouse, pool, tennis courts, a fitness center, transportation services, a golf course, security guards, and even an on-site restaurant.
What is the Cost of Independent Living?
Many of these communities are rental properties. They do not offer care services, but in a few places, seniors may own their homes individually. Where cost is a concern, independent living options in Maine include low-income or subsidized senior housing complexes, senior apartments or congregate care housing, retirement homes and communities, or continuing care retirement communities (CCRCs). Some independent senior living options require an up-front fee, monthly service fees, and others are simply month-to-month. Prices start at about $2750/month for a simple studio to $5,500/month for a two-bedroom cottage. You will find a range of prices that depend on factors such as your city, size of your residence, number of occupants, and whether or not there is an entrance fee.
What type of Services do Independent Living Include?
In independent apartment living situations, individuals have their own apartment - One- or two bedrooms with kitchens and bathrooms - and access to amenities. Housekeeping, linen service, social activities, dining, transportation, and security are common. Activity rooms, recreational centers, libraries, beauty and barber salons, fitness centers or clubhouses may be available to encourage connection among others the same age and in the community. Programming might include sports and fitness programs, gardening, book clubs, cards, arts and crafts, adult education classes, holiday celebrations, continuing education classes, or movie nights. These facilities typically do not help with activities of daily living like bathing and using the restroom but provide services to assist people with everyday activities. Having caregivers on-call in case of an emergency enhances the quality of life.
Independent living does not provide supervision or medical care. However, most private pay communities in our region offer urgent response services. Many of the communities near us operate separate independent living beside and in assisted living quarters. Independent living facilities may have 24-hour staff who can quickly and easily provide help if you ever need it. In Maine, independent living arrangements come without assistance with activities of daily living and require you to employ your caregivers for services like medication management and stand-by showering assistance. It is as if you were hiring a caregiver from an agency to come into your home. Sometimes when you move to an independent living community, care services may be available on-site provided by independent care agencies, often co-located on the property. Residents contract with them separately and pay them directly. The facility is not involved in the management or administration of these caregivers.