Independent Living: An Overview of Settings & Services

By Michelle Seitzer / Posted on 08 September 2011

Senior apartments. Retirement communities. Continuing care retirement communities (CCRCs). Subsidized senior housing. Independent living is not limited to one setting only: there are small and large apartment complexes (with studios, one-bedroom and two-bedroom units), high-rise buildings comprised of efficiency apartments, and in sprawling CCRCs, you can often choose from single-family homes, duplexes, townhouses, condos, or even mobile homes, depending on that community’s offerings.

When it comes to services offered on campus or in the apartment building, most independent living residents are granted a garage/parking spaces for their own vehicle, along with access to other transportation options (either provided by the facility or the surrounding city/county’s public transit department).

Meal plans are usually available in the larger retirement community/CCRC settings, but are generally not offered in subsidized senior housing apartment complexes, though the local Area Agency on Aging may provide congregate meals in a nearby senior center, or can deliver to eligible seniors via the county’s meals-on-wheels program.

Independent living often presents a calendar of social events and activities for resident participation, though it varies as to whom the responsibility falls for planning/presenting these events (part-time social services worker, full-time employee, a resident committee).

Sometimes, basic health care services are available, but independent living residents can bring in private-duty caregivers should they need further assistance. On a CCRC campus, residents can transition to a different level of care as needed.



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