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What Is Independent Senior Living?

Aug 04, 2023|Independent Living

Group of seniors sitting in chairs in a circle by fireplace

This educational article was written by the team at Hawthorn Senior Living.

Is Independent Living the right choice for you?

As we age, the idea of maintaining our independence becomes more and more important. That’s where independent senior living comes in. If you’re considering this retirement lifestyle choice for yourself or a loved one, you’ve come to the right place. In this blog post, we’ll explore the benefits of senior living.

From social activities to dining choices and unique floor plans, independent living offers a world of possibilities. So, let’s dive in and discover if it’s the right choice for you.

Our homes are filled with memories of family, friends and good times. Homes reflect who we are. Homes reflect our stories and our journeys. And while changing your living space, cleaning out your closets, and starting a new chapter can sound frightening, the move to independent senior living can be the catalyst that helps you live vibrantly while protecting your health, happiness and future.

Statement of Fairness: Considering senior living options for yourself or a loved one? We’re here to help at every step. And even though we specialize in Independent and Assisted Living communities, our goal is for YOU to find your best path to gracious retirement living, and part of how we achieve that is by providing reliable information on all types of senior living, not just the ones we offer. When our offerings serve as useful illustrations to a specific topic, you can find that information in the attached sidebar.

What is Independent Senior Living?

If you’re an older adult who doesn’t need help with daily living routines – like dressing, hygiene and medication management – independent retirement facilities were built with you in mind. These communities are designed to give older adults a sense of belonging, a safe place to live, social opportunities, and programs that meet their physical and emotional needs.

Can you relate to any of these common retirement concerns?

Being alone.

As we age, it’s not uncommon to find ourselves spending more time alone. We simply don’t have as many social connections as we used to, and being alone can be difficult.

Staying mentally and physically active.

A healthy lifestyle can prevent or slow down change to maintain energy, mental clarity and physical resilience.

Home upkeep.

If your home care still includes mowing the lawn, shopping for groceries, washing the floors, doing laundry and tidying up, your to-do list never ends. Finding reliable and affordable help takes time, research and scheduling.


When someone rings your doorbell, what’s your first thought? If crime statistics have put you on alert, living alone can disrupt your sense of security, no matter how nice your neighborhood is or how long you’ve been living there.

Financial security.

Senior female putting change in a jar

Whether you’re a renter or a homeowner, rising housing costs and taxes can place a significant burden on your fixed-income household, according to a Bipartisan Policy Center study cited by the US Department of Housing.

If you’re nodding your head, you’re not alone. We talk to a lot of older adults who tell us the same things about the cost of living. The latest US census tells us that nearly a third of older adults live alone in America. That equates to about 14 million people who share your concerns.

We know the choices, research, and all the phone calls and visits can feel downright overwhelming, so let’s start with the facts about independent senior living.

What are the benefits of independent living?

Senior couple walking together

Communities offer a long list of goodies. Adults looking for positive, healthy aging in independent living facilities enjoy:

  • Maintenance-free accommodations
  • Housekeeping
  • Transportation
  • Safety and security

Are there different kinds of senior independent housing?

Senior couple residents walking through park holding onto each other

Depending on your lifestyle and budget and whether you require extra services, you can buy or rent a home, condominium, townhouse or apartment, along with extra storage space.

As you begin your research on your senior living options, you’ll find three kinds of housing.

55+ communities.

A 55+ community, also known as an active adult community, is a residential neighborhood in which you buy a home designed specifically for adults age 55 and older. These communities typically offer a range of amenities and services tailored to the interests of this age group, such as recreational facilities, fitness centers, golf courses, social clubs and organized activities. The goal is to create an environment for residents who are retired or nearing retirement age. Many 55+ communities also offer maintenance-free living options for residents who prefer to spend their time pursuing hobbies and interests rather than maintaining a large home and yard.

If you buy a home in a 55+ community, you’ll have far less maintenance to do, although you may find the homeowners association fees high, and your options can be limited.

Continuing care retirement communities.

Independent living in a Continuing Care Retirement Community (CCRC) offers seniors the opportunity to maintain their independence while also having access to a range of supportive services as they age.

CCRCs often have a tiered system of care that allows residents to move from independent living to assisted living or even skilled nursing care if needed without having to leave the community.

Stand-alone independent living communities

Stand-alone independent living communities are a fantastic option for older adults looking to maintain their independence while also enjoying the benefits of community living. These communities offer a range of services and amenities, from housekeeping to fitness centers and social activities, all tailored to meet the unique needs and interests of seniors. Choosing independent living homes can provide a sense of belonging and purpose, as well as opportunities for new friendships and experiences. With on-site staff always available, residents can rest easy knowing that help is close at hand if needed.

Many buildings feature spas, gyms, hair salons, cafés, game rooms, pools and movie theaters.

No matter which senior living style you choose, you won’t have the hassle of repairs and upkeep. These maintenance costs can be added to your monthly fees or included as part of your rent.

Discover a stand-alone independent living community in Greensboro, NC: Carolina Estates.

Seniors looking for a carefree lifestyle in a vibrant and friendly environment will appreciate Carolina Estates. Spacious apartments come with amenities that make you feel right at home – like cable TV, game rooms and even a beauty salon. Carolina Estates also offers local transportation to residents to easily explore the surrounding area, as well as three delicious meals per day prepared by talented chefs. And with weekly housekeeping, senior residents never have to worry about cleaning again. Even with all the perks, Carolina Estates residents say that the best part of living in this community is the camaraderie among residents. With in-house parties and regular events, they can enjoy life to the fullest alongside new friends.

What is dining like in senior independent living?

What is independent living

As we age, our bodies change in many ways, and our appetite is no exception. Older adults may experience a decrease or increase in appetite for a variety of reasons, including medication side effects and changes in taste buds. However, proper nutrition is crucial for maintaining good health and quality of life.

In an independent living community, nutritionally balanced meals are designed to meet the dietary and wellness needs of older adults.

While many apartments have kitchenettes, most people like to go to the community dining room so they can eat with friends. Some facilities offer plans with one to three meals a day, served restaurant-style or buffet.

Hank shares his favorite part of Ashwood Meadows – the dining service.

“I enjoy mealtime because they not only serve a wonderful variety of delicious foods, but it is also a time for fellowship with residents. The service is absolutely superb, and the servers are always friendly, knowledgeable and courteous. I can’t think of anytime better than mealtime at Ashwood Meadows, where outstanding food and friendly socializing come together.”

Hank Freedman, Ashwood Meadows, Georgia

What is independent living

What is there to do when you live in a retirement community?

Activity Coordinators put together a full schedule of things to do with lots of opportunities to socialize. Calendars fill up with arts, crafts, games, fitness classes, parties, holiday celebrations, outings, workshops, clubs and classes. The list goes on and on.

When people live by themselves or even together with their spouses, loneliness and boredom can creep in. The Centers for Disease Control tells us that socially isolated seniors run a higher risk of:

  • Heart disease and stroke
  • Depression and anxiety
  • Dementia

Individuals who choose retirement communities stay sharper longer and are busier – and happier – than ever.

Inspiring choices for residents.

The Palms at La Quinta ensures there are plenty of things for residents to do in its California senior living community. With a team of managers, executive chef, activity coordinators and transportation services, every day is full of activities and entertainment. Check out the monthly list of activities at The Palms at La Quinta.

What services do senior living facilities offer?

Depending on where you live, light housekeeping and laundry services may be available as part of your monthly payments or for an extra fee. Washers and dryers are available in some residences.

Seniors can hop on the transportation bus to local events, appointments and shopping.

What is the average cost of independent senior living?

Independent living costs are not like nursing homes. Northeastern states tend to have higher monthly costs, but it will all depend on the facility you choose, your floor plan, and any upfront costs and monthly fees.

By tracking your current expenses (Note: this will link to cost the worksheet chosen below), you can compare them to the costs of a retirement community. If you’re unsure of how to do this, enlist the help of a trusted family member, a savvy friend, or your financial advisor.

It’s time to explore the worry-free lifestyle at Hawthorn Senior Living community. Start independent living right now. Visit us today.

Find your community

Getting the most bang for your retirement buck.

Senior living services and amenities provide excellent value and ensure that your retirement dollars go further. For example, residents of Kennedy Meadows in North Billerica, MA, enjoy a host of perks and activities, including beautiful 55-plus apartments and on-site amenities, including:

  • Three chef-prepared meals daily
  • Caring live-in managers
  • Weekly housekeeping and linen services
  • All utilities paid (except telephone)
  • Scheduled local transportation
  • Safety call system in every apartment
Our goal is to make retirement a hassle-free and cost-effective experience.

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