What is Independent Living?

Independent living is a community of older adults who can participate in facility activities and events, without yard work and home maintenance. Read on to learn if it's right for you!

Key Takeaways

Independent Living does not provide any level of care.

The average monthly cost of independent living is $3,000.

Nearly 10,000 independent living communities can be found on Senior Care Finder.

What is Independent Living?

At its core, independent living is seen as a philosophy where people are able to examine alternatives, to make informed decisions, and to direct one’s own life. In the context of care for elderly people, independent living is seen as a step in the continuum of care. It often includes a housing arrangement designed for older adults, with no maintenance of yard work and where residents can live independently. Visit our Independent Living directory page to begin your search!

When is it Time for Independent Living?

Independent living is generally for older adults aged 55 or older, and who want to live independently without the need of medical care or personal assistance. Independent living communities offer social activities, community and a maintenance free lifestyle. For those who depend on Medicare, it’s important to know that Medicare does not cover independent living and it usually doesn’t pay for assisted living expenses.  


How Much Does Independent Living Cost?

The cost of independent living can vary greatly depending on several factors: location, amenities offered and size and type of unit. A large, nationwide provider lists pricing for their communities ranging from $1,650 - $16,165 per month. To get an estimate of what independent living costs in your area, be sure to reach out to communities directly. 

Tips for getting an accurate cost estimate:

  • Inquire about their pricing structure and any additional fees, such as move-in fees or association fees.

  • Be sure to ask about all the services and amenities that are included in the base price and any that may cost extra.

Popular Community Amenities

The particular kind and quality of amenity depends on the independent living facility offering it, however there are several popular amenities that most do offer. Some of the common amenities include:

  • Recreational center: where residents can play  games, watch TV or movies, and/or read books.
  • Lounge Areas: indoor and outdoor areas where residents can relax or talk with one another while they enjoy nature or weather outside.
  • Fitness center: an area for residents to do physical therapy, cardio exercises, or strength training.
  • Onsite hair salons or spas: a place for residents to try new hair styles or touch-up with their preferred styles.
  • Dining services/areas: community areas where residents can eat together, often provided apart from the dining area in their private residence.
  • Transportation services: scheduled bus or van transportation from the independent facility to venues or shopping centers nearby.

Many independent facilities also provide regular community activities for residents, which may include arts and crafts projects, holiday gatherings, movie nights, or even continuing education classes.

Benefits of Independent Living

Moving to an independent living community can be a difficult decision, especially since it involves reflecting your personal limitations and expectations. Reasons for embracing independent living may be different from person to person, but it’s important to remember that independent living communities are committed to improving your quality of life. Common reasons for moving to an independent living community include:

  • Socializing opportunities: moving to independent living communities presents opportunities to meet people and make new friends.
  • No more outdoor home maintenance and yard work: the yard work and maintenance of your home is too difficult to complete, and you know independent living communities take care of those services so you can relax.
  • Participate in activities: enjoy fitness classes, game tournaments or other events provided by independent living communities.
  • Help with chores: independent living communities provide laundry and cleaning services for your private rooms, which opens you up to more free time.


Choosing the Right Community

Choosing the right independent living community is a big decision. When considering top communities, consider cost, location, amenities, activities and environment. Scheduling tours can help you get a feel for the atmosphere and amenities. When you’re on site, talk to residents and hear what they have to say! By carefully considering these factors, you can choose an independent living community that meets your needs and helps you enjoy a vibrant and fulfilling retirement.

Find Your Independent Living Community

Are you interested in an independent living community near you or your elderly relative’s home? Senior Care Finder offers an extensive nationwide directory of independent living communities. Search either by location or provider name to find a comprehensive list of communities available for you.