How to Find the Best Independent Living Community: 10 Key Questions
When it comes to finding an independent living community, knowing where to start can be difficult. After all, there are dozens of options and they can all seem very different. Luckily, taking a strategic approach to finding your new home is one of the best ways to make the process as effortless and streamlined as possible. Here are 10 key questions to ask as you search for your new community:
Is the Campus Fresh and Clean?
First things first: no independent living community has an excuse for being anything other than clean and pleasant. The windows, baseboards, and corners should all sparkle, and house cleaning should maintain a strong presence in the community.
If you have any doubts about the program’s cleaning processes, ask a representative how often house cleaning comes through, what the laundry procedures are like and what services are available on the campus.
Does the Calendar of Events Look Exciting to You?
One of the big benefits of living in an independent living community is that they commonly provide an exciting schedule of events designed to keep you active and help you meet new people.
Before you commit to a community, check their calendar of events. Do the events look like things you’d be interested in? If you’d like to take this a step further, visit the campus while the events you’re interested in are taking place. They should be well-attended and well-organized.
Are the Grounds Well Cared-For?
The housing at an independent living community is only 50 percent of the equation. To be sure it’s a place you’d like to live, you need to tour the grounds as well.
The outside areas of the campus should be clean and well-maintained, with lots of comfortable spots to sit in the shade, walk and take in nature. Ideally, the campus should also feature areas for outdoor recreation.
Is the Food Good?
While your new apartment or cottage will have its own kitchen, most independent living facilities also have on-campus cafeterias or restaurants.
To make sure these eateries are places you’ll want to visit when you don’t feel like cooking dinner, have a meal on the grounds. The food should be fresh, diverse and delicious.
Do Current Residents Like it?
One of the best ways to get an idea of how much you’d enjoy living in the community is to speak to the residents who currently live there.
In the best independent living communities, residents will have good reviews of the property and staff. If everyone feels the environment is cohesive, welcoming and active, that’s a pretty good indication that you’ll probably enjoy the lifestyle and culture it offers.
Is the Location Convenient?
An independent living community might offer lots of convenient amenities, but it’s still your home, and you should enjoy the area in which it’s located.
As you view the grounds, pay attention to the site – is it large or small? Is it easy to get to other areas of your town or city from your new home? Is the storage ample and do you have enough room for guests? These small, location-centric considerations will make a big difference in the long run.
Is it in Your Budget?
Cost is a major factor in independent living communities. In most cases, the cost of an independent living community is on-par with standard housing prices in the region.
As you break down cost, be sure to ask a representative about small things like utilities, taxes and any additional on-site services you’ll be asked to pay for. This helps you plan your budget and make a smart move-in decision.
Who Would Your Neighbors Be?
Neighbors make or break an independent living community. With this in mind, be sure to meet your neighbors before you move into your new home! Attending events at the community and talking with current residents goes a long way toward knowing the different kinds of people you’ll encounter and their interests
Do They Take Pets?
As a whole, pet owners are healthier than the rest of the population. If you have pets, you’ll want to check and be sure the living community accommodates them. While most independent living residents have a pet policy that allows small dogs or cats, it’s always wise to check and make sure, since there may be areas on the campus where their presence is restricted.
In addition to cutting down on misunderstandings, checking the campus’s pet policy also helps you ensure your four-legged friend will be welcome as you settle into your new home.
Are The Amenities Up Your Alley?
Activities are one thing – amenities are another. If swimming is important to you, look for a campus with a heated pool. If you love to play tennis, be sure the community has courts you can use. Amenities are some of the top perks of independent living communities and can go a long way toward making the place a better long-term choice for your happiness and well-being.
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