What is Independent Living?

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What is Independent Living

As you age, you may find that certain daily tasks become more difficult, and that sometimes you require assistance completing them. Your dignity and autonomy are very important, and it is nice to be independent. However, when you start to need assistance with certain daily tasks, there are plenty of options available for you to choose from. Independent living is just one of these solutions, and it allows you to maintain your independence whilst being able to get support when you need it. Here are a few basic pieces of information about independent living.

What does independent living look like?

Living in an independent living community is not too different from living in your own home. Many communities offer resort-like accommodation, allowing you or your loved one to live independently within a larger, social community, with access to support when they need it. Some even have their own kitchens, allowing you to cook your own meals. Alternatively, there are often restaurant-like dining facilities with great menus that cater to a range of tastes and dietary requirements.

There are many communities to choose from regardless of your location, with communities such as Frontier Senior Living having over 120 locations across 19 states. This means that you are able to choose an independent living facility that works for the requirements of you or your loved one. This may include elements such as cost, location, size and the types of care and activities on offer. Senior housing operated by Frontier places great importance in all areas of the resident’s lives. This includes working to increase and maintain the quality of life for as long as possible, through encouraging independence, maximizing dignity and autonomy, and providing support and care when needed.

Who is it for?

As you age, daily tasks may become harder to complete on your own. This is completely normal, and the majority of adults will experience this. Independent living is for those who wish to live independently, but within a community of like-minded residents who also enjoy socializing and activities. Enrolling on an independent living program gives you or your loved one access to similar adults, activities, social events, support, and care whilst allowing them to live independently as possible.

Often, when assessing whether senior living support is required, the ADLs may be used as part of this assessment, to give some kind of indication as to the level of independence an individual has. The Activities for Daily Living consist of 6 daily self-care tasks, that the majority of people can complete without assistance or support. However, as you age, it can be more difficult to complete some of these tasks, which is where assisted living comes in. The ADLs consist of:

  • Bathing
  • Eating
  • Dressing
  • Toileting
  • Continence
  • Mobility

A professional such as a physician or adult care social worker can use these tasks to help assess the independence of an individual. Each task equates to a point, and the ability to complete tasks without assistance or prompting builds the points an individual has. Being able to complete all 6 without help means the person can take physical care of themselves on their own, 4 out of 6 signifies ‘moderate impairment’ and they may need support in some areas. Completion of 2 or less equates to ‘significant functional impairment’ which means they must rely on care and support from someone else.

IADLs are a set of 8 tasks that further help to assess independence and can help spot disabilities that may not show up with the ADLs are being tested. These two sets of tasks, as well as other factors such as physical and mental health, are all taken into consideration when deciding whether an individual requires additional support and care.

What are the other options?

As well as independent living, there are many other senior living options available. Which option works for you or your loved one depends on a huge number of factors. Experts such as physicians or adult care social workers will be able to assess and make sure that you or your loved one gets the most appropriate and highest level of support and care available.

Assisted Living

when you or a loved one needs further support in completing daily tasks and activities, assisted living is an option that is offered by many nursing homes and retirement communities. At Frontier’s communities, residents have a private room and receive medical support, as well as assistance in tasks such as laundry, housekeeping, medication management, and recreational activities.

Memory Care-

memory care is a form of senior living aimed at those with Alzheimer’s, Dementia, or other memory-related illnesses. It works to provide a safe and secure living environment for individuals, with monitoring and support from specialized caregivers. Frontier’s memory care services are similar to their assisted living communities but with an extra focus on developing and maintaining cognitive functions.

Respite Care-

respite care is a short-term stay in a senior living community that provides the home caregiver with a break and a chance to focus on themselves while knowing that their loved one is being cared for in a top-quality community. Your loved one can enjoy a change of scenery while staying in a community, meeting new people and taking part in activities, while you have a break, go on vacation, run errands; whatever you need to do. Respite care is also an excellent way to explore senior living options available to you and can help you to make decisions if further care is needed in the future.

There are plenty of senior living options available, and a physician or adult care social worker will be able to help you or your loved one work out which is the best fit for you or them. There is not a one-size-fits-all solution, as everyone is different and has varying requirements and levels of ability. A good senior living facility like those operated by Frontier will be able to tailor its services to the needs of the residents to make sure that everyone is supported and catered for to the best of their abilities, providing a personalized and high-quality style of living.