Top Questions to Ask When Considering an Independent Living Community

Jan 22, 2021
Senior man making a phone call

Independent living in a senior community can be a perfect solution for those who want to spend more time and energy enjoying life and less tending to home maintenance and upkeep. But choosing the right community is key to long-term happiness. What you see from the street, or even on a tour may not reveal everything you need to know before the decision is made and the contract signed.

Before you leap, take the time to assess exactly what you need and expect from an independent living community. Then make a list of questions to ask yourself and staff including the following.

What is the best location?

Whether you want to stay local or move to another state or town, always consider location first. Living somewhere that you want to be is essential to everything else falling in to place. Start by canvassing the preferred area for all the communities available and make a list. Take an online look at each to review exactly where they are situated with respect to what you want in a new home. For example, do you prefer urban or rural? Would you like entertainment and shopping to be close by? If exercise is important, is there an area for enjoying nature or taking a walk outdoors? If you aren’t sure you have a complete list, try the search pages at Senior or A Place for Mom.

Also important is availability. If you have just begun your search and there’s no real hurry, that’s great. But if time is of the essence, be sure to enter that in the search to find communities that are taking new residents sooner than later.

What type of atmosphere is preferred?

Like location, the atmosphere of each community should match your lifestyle and desires. Maybe you enjoy lots of interaction with other residents or perhaps you prefer a more solitary, private life. Either way, a community should offer what you want so you truly enjoy your time there. Be sure to ask questions pertinent to your lifestyle preferences before you commit, and don’t be shy about asking current residents and checking online reviews.

What are the community demographics?

Whatever your age, it’s always nice to have the opportunity to make new friends with people in the same age group. That’s because they have similar memories, often share the same interests, and are more likely to be open to the same activities you enjoy. This is not to say that those younger and older can’t be fun too, but friends your own age can make the move to independent living a bit more fulfilling.

What meal plans are offered?

Different independent living communities have different meal plans so be sure to assess each option honestly, including costs. For those who choose an apartment-style residence, having meals prepared and served within the building might be the perfect solution to shopping and cooking. On the other hand, in senior communities that offer stand-alone units like condos or townhomes, preparing meals at home may be a better option. Some communities also offer café-type food service option where residents can purchase a snack or meal when desired.

When considering a meal plan be sure to confirm the number of meals provided daily, the times meals are provided, and the types of meals offered, (especially for those on special diets or who are vegetarians or vegans). Of course, the best way to assess the quality of meals is to arrange to stay for lunch or dinner, something many communities encourage. To find out more about what to expect, the article, “Best Practices for Food Services in Senior Care Facilities,” looks at the subject in-depth.

What activities and amenities are available?

Independent living communities offer a broad range of activities and amenities designed to make every day fun and ease some of life’s burdens. For example, ask about:

  • Housekeeping and/or laundry service either on a regular schedule or as needed.
  • Maintenance and repair of apartment and other units and whether it is provided for indoor and outdoor issues.
  • Transportation availability that is provided both for organized outings and as-needed for doctor appointments, shopping and other personal off-campus activities.
  • Exercise facilities including a fitness center, a pool, tennis courts, and other athletic options.
  • Regularly planned activities and events both on and off campus such as meditation and yoga classes, movies, and visiting lecturers or speakers at home, and trips to local symphonies, events, and places of interest like parks, museums and sports venues.
  • On-site personal services like hair salons and barbershops and dry cleaning pick-up and drop off.

What types of contracts are offered?

Different types of senior living have different types of contracts so be sure to ask about all of them and what they include or don’t include. Specifically, ask about any extra-cost services and hidden fees so that you get what want and only pay for what you get. For a look at the most common contracts, the Where You Live Matters blog, “Senior Living Contracts Explained,” is a great place to start. For those with concerns about financing independent living, our blog, “Clearing Up Misperceptions About Financing Senior Living,” can help sort out fact from fiction.

Making the move to the perfect independent living community requires research, but in the end, it is well worth the time and effort. 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.

assisted living near me

Subscribe to our blog.

Recent Posts

Michigan Senior Living: The Complete Guide for 2022

Ready to find your forever home in Michigan? You’re in luck! Few states come close to the natural beauty, affordability and high quality of life found in Pure Michigan. No matter what type of retirement community you’re looking for, you can find it here — if you know...

What the Best Michigan Memory Care Residences Have to Offer

For seniors with Alzheimer’s and dementia, memory loss can be jarring, lonely and even anger-inducing. They may be unable to remember basic facts, like what year it is, their location or a loved one’s name, all of which can contribute to feelings of a lost identity....

Top Qualities of the Best Retirement Communities in Michigan

Entering your golden years can be an exhilarating adventure, or it can be a stressful, uncertain transition. For most people, the difference comes down to whether or not they feel secure and supported in their new phase of life. Finding a retirement community that...

Assisted Living in Michigan: Everything You Need to Know

What happens when seniors can no longer live comfortably at home? Some people think that being unable to live alone means that a senior should enter nursing care, but that’s not necessarily true. The reality is that there are several living options in between total...

Memory Care Services in Jackson, MI.

Does your loved one struggle with serious memory loss? Losing memory and other cognitive functions is scary — it can feel like losing yourself. People who suffer from dementia and related conditions can become withdrawn and isolated, depressed or even angry. These...

Your Options for Assisted Living in Jackson, MI

How do you want to age? It’s a simple question, but an important one. Everyone who is lucky enough to live a long life will interact with old age, and preparing for that reality can make the aging process easier. By 2030, all baby boomers will be 65 or older. As the...

Comparing Costs of Assisted Living vs. Home Care

When envisioning retirement, seniors may plan to travel the world, spend more time with family and friends, or take up a new hobby to fill their days. But they don’t always plan for the cost of care should they need it. From just a little help with housekeeping to...

Senior Living in Jackson, MI: Guide for Seniors and Adult Children

The opportunity to grow older is a gift. It means more time to spend with the people you love, doing the activities you enjoy. There are a lot of misconceptions about getting older, especially when it comes to quality of life. Although ageist stereotypes may lead you...

Independent Living in Jackson, MI

Everyone ages, but no one ages in exactly the same way. Whereas some older people experience mobility issues and cognitive decline, others stay sprightly and mentally sharp their entire lives. That means that two seniors who are exactly the same age can have...

Share This