What is Independent Living?

Your Guide to Independent Living for SeniorsIndependent Living Facilities


Independent living is a housing arrangement designed to make your life after retirement easier and more comfortable. The facilities include a variety of services, amenities, and activities and have qualified staff to cater to your needs. Staying in an independent living facility offers opportunities to connect with other like-minded people and participate in community activities, such as holiday gatherings, arts and crafts, movie nights, and more.

Other Common Names for Independent Living Facilities

Independent living homes for seniors are also sometimes referred to as:

  • 55+ or 62+ communities
  • Retirement homes
  • Retirement communities
  • Congregate care
  • Active adult communities
  • Senior housing or senior apartments
  • Senior co-housing
  • Continuing Care Retirement Community

Independent Living vs. Other Senior Housing Options

The main difference between independent living for seniors and other housing options for older adults is the assistance provided for daily activities. If you want to have an independent lifestyle and do not need regular help with tasks such as bathing, dressing, eating, using the bathroom, managing your medications, and more, an independent living facility may be the right choice for you. Otherwise, alternative options such as a nursing home or assisted living facility may be a better option.

Independent living is more about making your life safer and easier. It is an excellent way to live the life you want after retirement without worrying about the upkeep and maintenance of a home.

Types of Independent Living Facilities & Retirement Homes

Senior Apartments or Congregate Care Housing

These senior living apartments are often available for different ages, typically 55 or 62 and older. Rent may include services like transportation, recreational programs, and meals served in a common dining room.

Retirement Homes or Retirement Communities

Retirement communities for seniors are housing units available as single-family homes, duplexes, condos, mobile homes, or townhouses. They also come with amenities such as maintenance service, clubhouses, and more for additional monthly fees.

Continuing Care Retirement Communities (CCRCs)

If you or your spouse are healthy but anticipate health issues in the future because of an existing condition, you may consider a CCRC. They provide a wide range of facilities, from independent living to nursing home care in the same community. You can also get assistance with your activities of daily living while maintaining your independence for as long as possible.

Independent Living Is Not an “Old Folks Home”

Often when the term “retirement community” comes up in conversation, people are quick to imagine dull, dreary buildings with an institutional feel, aged décor, stressed staff, and bland, boring food. That is not the case at all! Many independent retirement living communities are, in fact, quite the opposite. Moving into a senior community is designed to make your life easier, more convenient, and enjoyable as you age, rather than limit your independence.

Enjoy Retirement Living

Modern Aging

It is best to have an active lifestyle as you age. Enjoy exercise regularly, become members of groups and volunteer organizations, have a rich social life, and play active roles in your community and family. Do not give up all the things that you enjoy when moving into an independent living home for seniors. Be sure to choose a facility with a comfortable environment where you can make the most of your retirement years.

Long-Term Planning

It is always a good idea to plan for the long-term when thinking about retirement, as your needs will change over time. What you needed when you first retired may not be necessary for later years. Ask the facilities you’re interested in what options they have in terms of assisted living and more intensive care as part of your original research, so you can prepare for anything that may happen down the road. This way, you will already have a plan in place should anything unexpected happen.

Questions to Ask Before Moving into an Independent Living Home

Is Independent Living Right for Me?

Independent living facilities are the best senior housing options if you want privacy and a built-in community and do not require much assistance with daily activities. You may want to consider moving into a retirement home if:

  • You like being surrounded by other seniors and participating in social activities.
  • You are looking for additional security and staff assistance in case of emergencies.
  • You want to have an independent lifestyle and privacy without feeling isolated.
  • You need help with some of your daily obligations, such as cooking meals and housework.

Is It Easy for Me to Maintain My Home?

Maintaining a home can become a burden as you age. If you want to live in a place that does not require a lot of upkeep, an independent living facility offers you more flexibility.

Will It Become Difficult to Connect to Family and Friends?

If you are isolated, you may be at a higher risk of depression and other mental health concerns. It helps to know that independent living facilities offer excellent opportunities to meet other people and indulge in structured activities such as arts, field trips, and more. Your family and friends are more than welcome to visit or contact you.

Can I Move and Get Around Easily?

If you have difficulty driving around and getting to places, it may be harder to get to important appointments, visit others, and pursue the activities you enjoy. The staff at an independent living facility will ensure you are able to get where you need to go, making your life more convenient.

Am I In Good Health?

It is essential to consider your current health and analyze your future needs accordingly. If you need only a little help with your daily activities, an independent living facility may be ideal for you.

Tips to Make the Transition to Independent Living Easier

When transitioning from living on your own to a senior living community, you may feel lost about where to begin. The process can seem like a lot to take in, but often individuals find that it was much easier than they had first anticipated. Following these easy steps will help you transition smoothly and enjoy the benefits that independent senior living offers.

  • Pack Well in Advance Plan everything, make a list of essentials to carry with you, keep emergency contact numbers and medications handy, and do not leave anything until the last moment. This way, you can avoid making any hasty decisions or forgetting something important.
  • Get Involved in Classes and Clubs When you first arrive at a senior living community, it may be slightly overwhelming to try and acclimate to your new home and environment. Connecting with the activities director will help you find things you’re interested in, such as various clubs and classes. They will also show you the activity calendar for the month so you can plan accordingly.
  • Make New Friends One of the many benefits of living in a senior retirement community is the number of new friendships and connections you can make. Individuals who already live there are often quick to welcome newcomers in a warm and welcoming manner. This quickly allows the new resident to feel comfortable and brings a sense of familiarity and ease to the transition period.
  • Decorate Your New Home When you move to your new home, take your most beloved possessions such as pictures, books, furniture, and more with you. Surrounding yourself with familiar things can help make the space more comfortable.
  • Get Your Family Involved Sharing the transition from living on your own to moving into a senior living community with your family support system helps the process. When you have your family help you, it lets you get settled in quickly as they can assist with tasks such as moving, decorating, and unpacking. You can also explore the new facility together to help you get more comfortable with your surroundings and meet your neighbors together.
  • Enjoy Your Free Time When you were living at home, you may not have had the ability to relax without worrying or stressing. Once you move into an independent living facility, you will have more leisure time. Whether that means catching up on a book, taking up a hobby, or doing anything you may not have been able to fit into your schedule before, you can enjoy yourself freely and make the most of your time.
  • Go Easy on Yourself Adjusting to changes can be overwhelming, which is why it helps to give yourself a break. If you feel it is taking you longer than usual to settle in your new home, consider talking to your friends, family members, or a therapist.

Myths about Independent Living Homes for Seniors

Here are a few common misconceptions about living in an independent facility for seniors, along with the truth:

Living in a Retirement Community Means Losing Independence

When you choose to live in an independent living facility, you will have your own space and be able to maintain your privacy. Also, you can decide how to spend your days and decorate your place with personal items.

No One Will Be Around to Help at a Senior Living Facility

Most reputable independent living homes have qualified staff to assist you. Also, they have safety and security measures in place to ensure you feel safe, including in-room alarms.

You Can’t Pursue Your Hobbies at an Independent Living Facility

The staff can help you find various activities and programs that appeal to you to ensure you are healthy and happy. You can choose to participate according to your preferences and lifestyle.

Choosing an Independent Living or Retirement Home

Since retirement homes typically offer many services, it is best to consider your present and future needs, preferences, and conditions. Here are a few things to take into account when planning your move to an independent living facility:

Location and Size

Whether you want a small place or a busy environment, you can find a place that suits you. If you want a compact apartment, you can opt for a smaller independent living facility.

Location and Accessibility

It is beneficial to choose a senior apartment in your preferred location, taking into consideration the climate and distance from your family and friends. Also, check whether the facility is easily accessible and examine the doorways, halls, washrooms, and more to ensure it is senior-friendly.

Staff and Residents

Before moving into your new senior apartment, ask about the staff and services they offer to be sure you’ll be comfortable living there. It can also help to speak with other residents to get an opinion from someone who lives there.


Take a tour of the facility to find out what amenities they offer. If you have any specific requirements, such as a gym, reading space, and more, be sure to ask them about it.

We Have the Best Independent Living Facility in Hartford

The Holiday Retirement is a leading name when it comes to independent retirement living communities in West Hartford, Connecticut. We have qualified staff to look after your needs while helping you maintain a safe and healthy lifestyle. We provide a wide selection of nutritional meal choices to appeal to different palates while also incorporating important nutrients.

We offer engaging activities, games, crafts, and programs to help you enjoy your life without risk to your health. With regular outdoor events, excursions, and exercise classes, we provide many different options to ensure our residents are engaged, active, and happy. We care for each of our residents like they are our own family and want the best for them.

If you are looking for independent living homes for seniors, give us a call at 1-860-233-8202. You could also fill out our online form if you have any questions. If you are interested in learning more about our facility, we offer a virtual tour. We will be more than happy to help you find a suitable place that meets your needs in your senior years, ensuring you are safe and comfortable.


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