7 Tips for Choosing the Perfect Independent Living Lifestyle

Choosing the perfect independent living lifestyle for your retirement is a very personal choice, says Laurie Ralston, Marketing Director at Kingswood Senior Living.

“When you start your search, your choices can feel seemingly endless,” she says. “That’s why it’s important to understand what sort of lifestyle you’re looking for and what needs you may have in the future, so you can thoughtfully research your options and find a community that’s not just great – it’s perfect.”

Many of today’s older adults are choosing to move into retirement living while they’re still active and healthy. “Lots of seniors are beginning to realize how moving before you have to move is the best option for their retirement years,” Laurie says. “When you move into a retirement community, you give up the hassle of homeownership and can instead free your time to do the things you’ve been dreaming about for years.”

Here are seven tips to follow that will help you choose the perfect community for your independent living lifestyle.

1. Know what type of community you’d like to live in.

Independent living communities, like people, come in a wide range of shapes and sizes. Would you prefer a large community that feels more like a small town, or would you prefer a more closely-knit type of community? Are you only interested in independent living choices, or would you prefer a community like Kingswood (a Life Plan Community) that offers a complete range of health services, so you can always be cared for “at home?” Different types of communities have different services and benefits, so be sure you do your research to find the type that works best for your needs.

2. Figure out where you want to live.

As they say in real estate, it’s all about location, location, location. Location will play a huge role in your enjoyment and quality of life for your retirement years. Do you want to live in the country or the city? Would you like to remain in your current city that you know and love, or would you prefer to go somewhere new more exotic, or somewhere near family and friends? While the idea of spending your golden years on the beaches of Hawaii may sound lovely, it’s better to figure out if you’d really like to live there year ‘round, or if you’d like to keep it as a vacation destination. One good way to figure out a prime location, if you’re having difficulty deciding, is to spend a good chunk of time – maybe a month – in the area you’re considering to see what “real life” there is really like.

3. Determine the type of lifestyle you’d like.

What sort of retirement lifestyle is your dream – and what do you think you’ll want or need as you get older? Some people might prefer the idea of living in a downtown urban setting, while others would prefer something smaller in the suburbs. Maybe you want a large community that has a huge variety of options on campus so you don’t have to leave home a lot, or you’d prefer a community that’s more of a “home base” where you can launch out on your adventures. There is no right or wrong answer to this. Think about yourself and your needs and see what type of communities might align with your desires. A good way to start to see what a community’s lifestyle is like is to look at the events and services that take place. Some communities are very social with many opportunities to connect with others. Other communities may feel more secluded, depending on the individual residents of the community.

4. Get some details on the demographics.

We all like to be around people who share similar interests to us. As you’re looking at communities, take a look as well at the residents of the communities. What’s the average age of the resident population? Are there more single residents versus couples? What sort of intergenerational opportunities are there? If you’re an active senior, you’ll want to move to a community where there is lots of engaging opportunities to get involved. And, for example, you might want to move to a community like Kingswood (if you’re a Kansas Citian) that’s comprised mainly of other Kansas Citians who love our city and enjoy everything that it has to offer.

5. Look into the pricing structure.
Just as there are seemingly endless options for independent living, there are seemingly endless variations of pricing structures. Some communities charge “a la carte” for services, while others pay an all-inclusive monthly fee. Life Plan Communities charge an up-front entrance fee upon entrance to the community, and then residents pay a monthly service fee. Depending on the contract, you may pay a higher one-time entrance fee and monthly service fee that virtually stays the same no matter what level of care you require now or in the future. However, you are paying upfront for future health care whether you need it or not. While other Life Plan communities like Kingswood, offer a lower one-time entrance fee and monthly service fee, and you receive a health care discount for life, when or if you need the higher levels of care.  When you’re looking into communities, you will want to make sure that you’re looking closely at the pricing structure, so you’re able to compare apples-to-apples when it comes down to the dollars and cents. Even if money is no object, it’s always good to understand what the actual cost will be for you before committing to one community over another.

6. Understand the levels of care available.

What sort of services are available on site, and what are more of an ad-hoc or off-campus option? At a true Life Plan Community, all services are available under-one-roof (or on one campus). That means the community offers independent living, assisted living, memory care, short-term rehabilitation and long-term nursing care. While true emergencies may require transportation to a nearby hospital, a Life Plan Community provides the peace of mind and stability that, no matter how severe health needs may become, a resident can remain in place in the community they know and love. Other communities may provide only one or two health care levels on site, or they may not off any health care levels besides Independent Living. This means that you may need to move to a different community altogether, not knowing other residents or staff. As you look at care levels, you’ll also want to find out what sort of staffing options they have, what their care philosophy is, what happens in the event of an emergency, and so on and so forth.

7. Do a trial run.

The best way to get a taste of what the lifestyle is like at an community is to actually live it. Many communities offer short-term stays that allow you to trial run the lifestyle without any long-term commitment. This can give you the chance to try out the dining options, participate in activities and meet actual residents. It also allows you to experience the lifestyle without a “tour guide,” so to speak, so you can truly picture yourself living there. If you feel yourself “clicking,” you may want to start packing your bags – you’ve potentially found your new, perfect home.

Welcome to Kansas City’s Senior Living Sweet Spot.

Inspired senior living at Kingswood means living the retirement lifestyle you want – and deserve. We take care of most routine chores and maintenance, so you can keep enjoying all the things you love about living in Kansas City. And you have more time to try new things and have new adventures.

All of the activities and amenities are here to do more than just keep you busy. They’re here to enhance your whole life. It’s an intentional, holistic approach that helps you live healthier and happier. And, of course, you have plenty of opportunities to relax and enjoy the simple pleasures in life, like spending time with friends and family.

Our Life Plan Community offers all levels of care right on campus, from Independent Living and Assisted Living to Memory Support, Short-Term Rehabilitation and Long-Term Nursing Care.

Because Kingswood is a Life Plan Community, you can enjoy your independent lifestyle now and be assured all levels of care are available on site when you need it, at a discounted rate for life. This is an outstanding senior living value because you are assured access to care in the comfort of familiar surroundings. When combined with our maintenance-provided lifestyle, a Life Plan Community represents an affordable option providing value beyond your current home and other senior living community offerings … and peace of mind for a lifetime.

Contact us today to schedule your personal visit. (816) 673-2835

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