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Independent Living vs. Aging in Place: Which Is Right for You?

two senior females laugh in their senior living community

As a senior approaching retirement, you may be considering where you’d like to live as a retiree. For some seniors, the answer is living at home and aging in place, while others are attracted to the idea of the lifestyle an independent living community provides.

The initial years of your retirement are the optimal time for you to make the most of your newfound independence and establish the retirement lifestyle of your dreams. Learning more about your options and the benefits of senior living puts you one step closer to making the most of your golden years.

What Does It Mean to “Age in Place”?

If you’ve heard the term “aging in place” and wondered what it meant, you’re not alone. Actually, it’s just a fancy way of saying “staying in your current living environment,” which generally means your home. In other words, you’re growing older while living in your family home.

Aging in place may be suitable for you if you’re in relatively good health, fairly active, and don’t need much if any help with daily living. If your home is designed well to protect your safety and you’re able to keep up with the demands of managing a household, it may be a good choice for you.

Reasons you may want to rethink aging in place include the costs associated with maintaining your home (both financial and physical), safety risks if you live alone, health concerns now and in the future, and the possibility of becoming isolated if you don’t have family and friends nearby. Additionally, it’s a good idea to crunch some numbers to figure out whether you can afford in-home care if the need arises.

Potential advantages of aging in place:
  • One of the most commonly cited reasons seniors choose to age in place is the comfort of familiar surroundings. Staying in the home you know and love can be very appealing, especially when you’re experiencing a major life transition such as retirement.
  • If you have friends in the neighborhood and routines you enjoy following, aging in place allows you to maintain those connections and habits without interruption.

What Is Independent Living?

Within senior living communities, you’ll often find different levels of care. Independent living is an entry- level setting, designed for seniors who are self-sufficient and don’t require supportive care.

Often, independent living communities provide attractive amenities and services designed specially  for seniors. In addition, they typically offer social and wellness programming to empower residents to manage their quality of life. In addition, you can expect a private floor plan with modern details and plenty of space for your belongings.

Independent living is a good choice if you’re looking forward to a vibrant, carefree retirement with fewer obligations and responsibilities. It’s also worth considering if you think you may want to move in the future and want to take advantage of selling your home in a hot real estate market.

Now may not be the time for independent living if you’re not ready to consider downsizing or if you have health concerns you anticipate needing additional support to manage in the short-term (in the latter case, an assisted living or memory care community could be a better fit).

Potential advantages of independent living:
  • A major benefit of independent living is the freedom you enjoy when you don’t have responsibility for maintaining a home. Independent living communities commonly provide low-maintenance living and housekeeping services so your household chores are minimal, and your time is yours to do what you wish.
  • In retirement, you may find it more difficult to maintain social ties. Living in a community surrounded by peers in the same stage of life gives you plenty of opportunities to establish meaningful relationships.
  • The expenses associated with living at home can add up quickly, between unexpected repairs and other monthly bills. In an independent living community, your expenses are more predictable and easier to manage, since one monthly fee covers the majority of your needs.
  • Living in a community where a team of professionals get to know you personally means you have advocates watching out for you. They’re trained to notice potential concerns and help you address them proactively so you can maintain your independence longer.
  • Looking into the future, choosing an independent living community that offers other levels of care means you have an important plan in place should you need long-term care at some point.

Explore Independent Living in Arizona

Whether you’re an Arizona native or considering retiring to the Phoenix area, if you’re leaning toward independent living, a senior living community like Robson Reserve at Sun Lakes is an option you won’t want to miss. This retirement community offers an exceptional independent living experience in a vibrant community atmosphere with luxurious amenities, dining, events and activities — all with no entrance fee. And if you need assisted living or memory care in the future, you’ll find it within the community you already call home.

Contact us to schedule a tour and see how life expands with new adventures and friendships when you embrace independent living in Sun Lakes.