Independent Living

Independent living is a type of community where people seek independence yet also desire the comforts of living in a community. Independent living is characterized by the intention of the people, especially the elders and the disabled, to live as any ordinary citizen would and to practice their free will in pursuing their own decisions.

Independent living communities are not licensed by local, state or federal agencies, thus, there is no official regulation that governs this kind of neighborhoods. Rules and guidelines are set and administered by the management of the companies which provides activities and services. On the other hand, other communities have a manager onsite or offsite who can help address any problems or concerns.

One apparent characteristic of an independent living community is that, unlike other senior living communities, no assistance is offered to the residents in carrying out their activities of daily living (ADLs). This is also in accordance with the main objective of independent living, which is to maximize the autonomy and independence of the residents. This being the case, the environment of independent living communities is generally, as the name suggests, independent. Moreover, no health services (e.g., medications, nursing care, etc.) are offered and available on the site. However, residents have the option to hire their own health aide or nurse to assist them with medicines and personal care in their own apartments.

Some communities also provide various recreational activities such as pools, spas, lounges or libraries. Occasionally, the community also organizes events and other occasions which encourage social interactions among the residents. Community services such as laundry facilities, linen service, meals or access to meals, and local transportation are also available.

Independent living communities can either be “age inclusive” or “age exclusive”. Age inclusive communities are favorable for retirees but do not meet the age requirement of age exclusive communities. The usual age standard set by age exclusive communities for senior citizens is 55 years and older.

The rates of charge vary and are dependent on the local market. Communities offering services are usually market priced but some financed senior apartments can also accommodate seniors with limited earnings.

Unlike assisted living housings where residents are aided to some extent, independent living is almost the same as living in one’s home wherein one has the full autonomy on his own decisions and actions. The only difference is that they are living in a semi-homogenous community where their age groups are relatively the same. Furthermore, independent living communities don’t cater to seniors with serious and particular medical conditions as opposed to other living arrangements such as assisted living, continuing care or home care. This is precisely because there are no medical assistance and equipment available within the premises of the community aside from the residents’ own employed medical aide or nurse. Independent living communities are, however, similar to other housing communities such as assisted living and retirement living in the sense that social activities and services other than that of assistance in ADLs are offered and provided.