The idea of moving to an independent living facility may be nerve-wracking, daunting, or even undesirable for you or your loved one. It’s a big transition that requires careful planning, preparation and execution, and even after you’ve moved, there may be an adjustment period.
Part of the fear surrounding the transition to independent living in Federal Way, however, is due to common misconceptions about what it is, the pros and cons, and how it can impact your lifestyle and future.
What Is an Independent Living Community?
An independent living community is one type of housing option along the senior care continuum. You can find stand-alone individual living houses, like the cottages and Fairfield apartments, as well as those that are part of a larger retirement community with multiple types of senior housing and care services.
At independent living communities, you live freely, independently and actively among your peers, while the facility offers a variety of activities, amenities, and services to make life more comfortable and convenient. Even still, we often hear several misconceptions from those of you who are deciding what your next step will be.
Common Misconceptions About Independent Living
If you or your loved one are feeling nervous or fearful about moving to an independent living community, that’s perfectly normal. However, take a few minutes to consider these common myths about independent living for seniors and the truths behind them:
Myth #1: I Won’t See My Family or Friends
Truth: Depending on where your family is located, moving to an independent living community may decrease your proximity to them, in addition to old neighbors and friends. However, independent living communities are visitor friendly, and your family is always welcome. You can entertain guests at your private apartment or home or socialize with them in the community’s common areas. You are also free to come and go from the retirement campus as you like, making it easy for you to go visit your relatives and friends. Plus, retirement communities are teaming with opportunities to develop new friendships.
Myth #2: Independent Living Facilities are too Institutionalized
Truth: When you think of a senior living home, you may picture dreary hallways, bright fluorescent lights, and lookalike bedrooms. In reality, housing can vary from apartments with different floor plans to freestanding cottage homes. Village Green's campus boasts beautiful grounds with walking trails and gardens, individual parking spots, and patios and decks. Additionally, the furnishings are comfortable, and the homes are designed for easy navigation.
Myth #3: Meals are Low-Quality at Independent Living Facilities
Truth: You have a couple options when it comes to dining services on campus. All floor plans include a full kitchen with appliance, pantries, and pull-out shelves, so you can cook meals for yourself at your home. At independent living facilities such as Village Green Retirement Campus, you also have access to seven dinner meals per week and optional breakfasts and lunches. These delicious, nutritious meals are prepared by a chef and highly trained staff and feature a variety of menu items to suit different tastes.
Myth #4: Independent Living is More Expensive Than Living at Home
Truth: Costs for independent living vary based on the facility and floor plan you choose, as well as what’s included in the monthly fee. In general, though, the costs for independent living are comparable to what it costs to maintain a home and access the same services and support. You get to enjoy free entertainment, programs, activities, and grounds keeping as part of your single monthly rate. Additionally, you may be surprised what common expenses disappear once you’ve moved to a retirement community.
Myth #5: I Won’t Get Enough Exercise
Truth: There are plenty of ways to stay fit on your independent living campus. You can walk or jog along on-site trails, swim in the pool, utilize the fitness center, or participate in a variety of fitness classes designed for seniors.
Myth #6: Senior Housing Lacks Privacy and Security
Truth: Independent living facilities offer private housing, so you get to choose how much you want to socialize with your peers. You receive daily well being checks, but they are simple and non-intrusive. Other well being services include fire and life safety systems and an emergency call system. You can maintain both privacy and security in a retirement community.
Myth #7: I’ll Have to Give Up My Hobbies
Truth: Quite the opposite, in fact. With all your basic needs taken care of, you have more time to devote to your hobbies and pastimes. You also can join existing clubs on campus or participate in group activities. If your hobbies tend toward sightseeing, antiquing, shopping, perusing art galleries, or dining out with friends, nothing’s to stop you from continuing those pursuits in Federal Way and the surrounding area.
Myth #8: Independent Living is Depressing
Truth: Life continues normally for you, except you have more opportunities to socialize with your peers. The camaraderie—along with easy access to fitness activities, fun events, and nutritious meals—can actually help boost your mental and physical health.
Myth #9: I Won’t Get to Keep My Pets
Truth: If you have a furry friend, don’t worry. Village Green is a pet-friendly senior community, and you are welcome to bring your cat, dog, or other pet to your new home.
Myth #10: I’m too Young and Healthy for Independent Living
Truth: As the name implies, independent living is designed for seniors who are still active and zealous about experiencing life to the fullest. While you might think there’s no reason to move to a senior care facility until you can no longer care for yourself, it’s easier to make the transition while you’re still in good health. You can enjoy the comfortable, care-free lifestyle afforded by the independent living community, and then easily move to a higher level of care on the same campus if you need to.
Moving to Independent Living Housing
After your initial transition to an independent living community, you can expect a period of adjustment as you familiarize yourself with the new surroundings. In time, however, many residents find their quality of life is improved by the accommodations, services, and amenities offered by retirement communities.