5 Things to Look for in an Independent Living Community

Sep 13, 2022

An independent living community can be the perfect retirement solution when you choose the right senior living community. That’s why it is so important to thoroughly vet your options before making your choice. One of the best ways to do that is by touring independent living communities on your list, observing the people and environment and asking the right questions. Here are five things you should pay attention to when touring independent living communities.

1. First impressions of an independent living community

First impressions count so when you arrive at each community look around the outside of the community. Are the lawns and residential areas well maintained? Does the building appear to be in good repair? Is there plenty of parking available?

Indoors look for cleanliness and the layout of the building. Are floors, walls and windows clean? Does it smell clean? Are all community spaces easy to access and unobstructed? Is there plenty of natural light?

Observe the staff and residents. Do staff members seem helpful and friendly? Do residents appear happy and engaged? Do residents who are participating in activities look like they are enjoying themselves?

Answering no to any of these questions when touring independent living communities could be a red flag that this is not the right new home for you. For more red flags check out the senioroutlooktoday.com article, “Red Flags to Watch for When Touring Senior Living Facilities.”

2. Housing options

Senior living communities like Ganton’s Countryside often offer a variety of housing options from stand-alone homes to villas and condos to apartments, so be sure to examine all the possibilities when touring independent living communities. For those who love to travel or move south during the winter, it’s also essential to know what level of maintenance and security is included so you can leave knowing everything will be in good order when you return, whether it’s in a few weeks or after several months.

3. Dining options in an independent living community

When touring independent living communities, you will want to not just see the dining room but experience a meal as well. This is no problem for the best independent living communities because they want to show off their wonderful service and chef-prepared meals. Also, be sure to ask about meal plans and what is included or extra, so you can compare communities fairly.

Another aspect of dining is venue options. Does the community have a café or bistro for light meals and snacks? Is there a place to enjoy a drink with friends? Today’s top independent living communities put the emphasis on “independent” by offering a variety of choices for active seniors who want to enjoy a truly carefree lifestyle. Find out more about what to expect from exceptional senior living communities in our blog, “Top Qualities of the Best Retirement Communities in Michigan.”

4. A culture of wellness

Many senior living communities try hard to foster a culture of wellness for residents so when touring independent living communities, be sure to look for signs that healthy living is indeed a priority. Start with physical health options like well-equipped fitness facilities and a variety of classes for exercise, yoga or dance that are available throughout each week. Also be sure to visit outdoor spaces for walking or running to be sure they are safe and accessible.

Next ask about activities that are fun and fulfilling like games, group events, trips to local venues, and opportunities to learn and grow, like guest speakers and entertainers. Carefully consider what each independent living community offers so you find the perfect fit. To get a better idea of how independent living strives to make life great read our blog, “10 Ways Independent Living Communities Support Your Desired Lifestyle.”

5. Increased levels of care

One of the best aspects of moving to many senior living communities is that when more care is needed, it is available without waiting at the end of a line. Priority placement in assisted living can be expedited for current residents making the move seamless and much easier for residents and their families. When touring independent living communities ask staff what the process is for upgrading care so if the time comes it will be stress-free. For a look at how independent and assisted living differ, our blog, “Independent Living or Assisted Living: Which is the best choice for you?” is a great resource.

Countryside staff looks forward to showing you around our beautiful community! For more information about Countryside, please call Margaret Nagel at (517) 206-5000 or download our brochure to learn about our care levels, cost, and amenities.


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