What is an independent living community?

The Heritage of Green Hills | Front entrance of Heritage of Green Hills

As you start the journey to retirement and begin exploring senior living options and lifestyles, you may ask yourself, “What is independent living?” or find yourself doing online searches of “independent living definition.”

Simply put, it’s about everyday living made easy and filling your days with things you want to do, rather than what you have to do. Independent living provides the freedom to live your active retirement life on your own terms and schedule.

It means never having to shovel snow, clean your home, change a lightbulb or fix a leaky faucet. It means dining when and where you want – whether it’s carry-out or fine dining. It means your “to do” list and calendar are full of activities – just outside your door – that you’re free to participate in as you wish.

What is an independent living facility for seniors?

It’s a community buzzing with activity, where older adults can engage in what they love or try their hand at something new. Think: cocktail parties with neighbors, casino nights, global cuisine, live entertainment, and opportunities for games and friendly competition. Hello, water volleyball!

Independent living communities also typically offer a selection of residences to fit almost any budget and lifestyle – from cozy apartment homes connected by indoor walkways that lead to the fitness center, to spacious villas with patios and extra room for weekly bridge games or displaying your model train.

In addition to taking care of housekeeping and maintenance needs inside and outside your residence, there are many ways independent living communities can help seniors live their best retirement life.

Other independent living benefits and amenities

  • Concierge services
  • Scheduled transportation
  • Fully equipped fitness center with personal training and daily exercise classes
  • Indoor heated pool and hot tub
  • Flexible meal plans for multiple dining venues
  • Fireside lounge and bar
  • Library
  • 24/7 campus security
  • Creative arts studio
  • Woodworking shop
  • On and off-campus entertainment offerings
  • Gardening spaces
  • Fenced dog park (in pet-friendly communities)
  • Day spa
  • Salon/barber shop

Costs of homeownership vs. independent living

While most seniors have paid off their mortgage by the time they’re 65 years old, mortgage-free living isn’t the same as free living. With homeownership comes a variety of related costs and expenses that never go away: taxes, insurance, utilities, homeowner fees, landscaping, maintenance and repairs.

Depending on their size, location and amenities, independent living communities can cost anywhere from $1,000 to $6,000 per month. Some communities require a move-in fee, while others offer expanded care and hospitality services for an additional fee.

A benefit of independent living is that your monthly service fee covers nearly all your expenses. No more quarterly taxes, homeowner’s insurance, or paying someone shovel snow from your sidewalk. And broken down appliances? A phone call is all it takes to get them replaced quickly and easily.

How does personal care differ from assisted living?

If you or your loved one reaches a point when living fully independently is impossible, , there are other options to consider. Both personal care and assisted iving communities have their own distinct advantages for older adults with specific health and wellness needs.

A personal care community allows you to enjoy an active and independent living lifestyle, with the added benefit of a helping hand when needed. Assisted living bridges the care gap between personal care and more skilled nursing.

Personal care

Personal care is catered toward individual preferences. You decide what time you want to get up in the morning and go to bed at night, choose what you want to eat, and how you want to spend your day.

Professional assistance may include bathing, dressing and toileting, medication management, meal prep, housekeeping, transportation, general health maintenance and arrangement of health care services. Personal care is paid for by the resident; however, many communities accept low-income residents who receive Supplemental Security Income.

If your care requires medical assistance beyond what the community is licensed to provide, you’ll typically be transferred to a skilled nursing home as a permanent resident.

Assisted living

If your health needs become too great for personal care, assisted living can provide more comprehensive care for a longer period of time. Assisted living generally costs between one-half and two-thirds as much as skilled nursing.

Seniors can age in place in a community-based setting that typically offers larger residences with comfortable private and semiprivate rooms, private baths and space for kitchens.

Keep in mind that you should consider your care options as soon as you start to question your ability to live independently. Don’t wait until after you’re discharged from a hospital or rehab center.

Other assisted living and personal care offerings may include:

  • Nutritious, freshly prepared meals
  • Customized wellness programs with a variety of events and entertainment
  • 24-hour direct care services
  • Medication administration
  • 24-hour emergency call system
  • On-site clinical laboratory
  • Transportation
  • Personal laundry and linen services
  • Regular housekeeping
  • Cable television

Are you a good fit for independent living?

  • When deciding if you’re better suited for independent living or assisted living, there are a number of questions to consider.
  • Do you go for walks outside and over uneven ground?
  • Do you climb stairs?
  • Can you get in and out of a car?
  • Can you make yourself a hot drink or snack and take it from one room to another?
  • Can you feed yourself?
  • Can you manage your own money when you’re out shopping or running errands?
  • Can you do your own housework, shopping and laundry?
  • Do you read newspapers and books, use the computer or phone, or write letters?
  • Do you go out and socialize with friends?
  • Can you drive a car?

If you’re able to answer “yes” to most of these, independent living may be the right option for you.

What is independent senior living?

While we’ve done our best to answer this original question, to truly understand, you should plan a visit to an independent senior living community like The Heritage of Green Hills.

Take a tour of our beautiful campus, enjoy a tasty lunch, and meet some of our friendly and fun-loving residents. You’ll see firsthand how independent living can make your current retirement lifestyle even better. Give us a call at 484-577-8673.


Stay connected and stay in the know.

Sign up to receive blog posts in your inbox.

"*" indicates required fields

Skip to content