Commonly Asked Questions About Independent Living

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Independent Living FAQs

Retirement is a time many older adults make the decision to make the move in to a senior living community that frees them from the burdens of home ownership. They are looking for more opportunities to socialize, travel and enjoy their newly found leisure time.


Independent living communities give seniors that opportunity to make new friends, engage in meaningful activities, stay active and learn a new skill or two. 

Q: What is an independent living community?

A: An independent living community is designed to give older adults an opportunity to relax and enjoy life. These maintenance-free engaged living communities offer services and amenities that make life easier for seniors, such as housekeeping, yard care, snow removal, meal programs, and transportation. Most also offer restaurant-style dining.

The focus is on living a well-rounded life. Daily experiences should be meaningful and should nurture the body, mind, and spirit. Residents can participate in as many or as few organized experiences as they choose to each day.  Many independent living communities are part of Continuing Care Retirement Communities which can offer a full range of care needs.

Q: How much does an independent living community cost?

A: Prices for independent living communities are directly linked to the size and style of the unit or apartment, as well as how many services and amenities the community offers. Some communities are home to smaller apartments with very basic amenities. They offer a more affordable solution for older adults on a tighter budget.

On the opposite end of the spectrum are independent living communities that are especially plush with luxurious campuses, a rich variety of amenities, and an extensive list of life enrichment opportunities. 

Depending upon where a community falls in this spectrum, the cost can vary from under $2,000 to over $8,000 a month plus, most Continuing Care Retirement Communities require an upfront or buy-in fee which in many cases, can be partially refundable if you decide to move out. Be sure to ask the community you are interested in to fully explain the costs and fee schedule.

Q: Who is a good fit for a move to independent living?

A: Older adults who are able to care for themselves with minimal assistance are typically a good fit for an independent living community. Independent living residents are usually those looking for opportunities to participate in social activities and meet new people.

Seniors who need more than a little support with the activities of daily living, such as bathing, grooming, and medication management, might be better suited for an assisted living community.

Q: What is the difference between independent living and assisted living?

A: There are definitely distinct differences between an independent and an assisted living community.

While residents in an independent living community benefit from maintenance, housekeeping, lawn care, and other assistance, they are largely able to care for themselves. They usually choose to move to senior living for more social reasons, or in the case of independent living or a continuing care retirement community (CCRC), residents are investing in the security of knowing that their increasing care needs can be met right where they are.

By contrast, a resident in an assisted living community typically requires a helping hand with daily activities and medication. Unlike a nursing home resident, though, they don’t require skilled medical care or around the clock supervision by a health care professional. 

Q: What happens when an independent living resident needs more care?

A: If an independent living resident needs more care, they usually have a few different options to consider based on the community. Some communities have the ability to increase the level of care without the senior being required to move, such as a CCRC. 

Other communities have different types of care available on the same campus, but the resident will need to transition from one apartment to another. The staff at the community will usually help make sure this transition goes smoothly.

Q: Are residents allowed to bring their own furniture and belongings?

A: Yes! Residents are encouraged to furnish and decorate their independent living apartment or villa in their own unique style. It is their home and the appearance should reflect that.

Q: Do you need a car if you live in an independent living community?

A: While most independent living communities offer regular transportation services for local events, appointments, and outings, residents are still welcome to bring their own vehicles. Communities typically have dedicated resident parking lots or garages.

Q: Are pets allowed in independent living?

A: Many independent living communities welcome furry family members! Some communities have size restrictions though so be sure to ask for a copy of the community’s pet policy when you visit.

Visit us at Your Convenience

The best way to learn more about all of the benefits of an independent living community is with a personal tour. Contact a Benchmark community nearest you to set up a time to visit today!

Retirement is a time many older adults make the decision to make the move in to a senior living community that frees them from the burdens of home ownership. They are looking for more opportunities to socialize, travel and enjoy their newly found leisure time.


Independent living communities give seniors that opportunity to make new friends, engage in meaningful activities, stay active and learn a new skill or two. 

Q: What is an independent living community?

A: An independent living community is designed to give older adults an opportunity to relax and enjoy life. These maintenance-free engaged living communities offer services and amenities that make life easier for seniors, such as housekeeping, yard care, snow removal, meal programs, and transportation. Most also offer restaurant-style dining.

The focus is on living a well-rounded life. Daily experiences should be meaningful and should nurture the body, mind, and spirit. Residents can participate in as many or as few organized experiences as they choose to each day.  Many independent living communities are part of Continuing Care Retirement Communities which can offer a full range of care needs.

Q: How much does an independent living community cost?

A: Prices for independent living communities are directly linked to the size and style of the unit or apartment, as well as how many services and amenities the community offers. Some communities are home to smaller apartments with very basic amenities. They offer a more affordable solution for older adults on a tighter budget.

On the opposite end of the spectrum are independent living communities that are especially plush with luxurious campuses, a rich variety of amenities, and an extensive list of life enrichment opportunities. 

Depending upon where a community falls in this spectrum, the cost can vary from under $2,000 to over $8,000 a month plus, most Continuing Care Retirement Communities require an upfront or buy-in fee which in many cases, can be partially refundable if you decide to move out. Be sure to ask the community you are interested in to fully explain the costs and fee schedule.

Q: Who is a good fit for a move to independent living?

A: Older adults who are able to care for themselves with minimal assistance are typically a good fit for an independent living community. Independent living residents are usually those looking for opportunities to participate in social activities and meet new people.

Seniors who need more than a little support with the activities of daily living, such as bathing, grooming, and medication management, might be better suited for an assisted living community.

Q: What is the difference between independent living and assisted living?

A: There are definitely distinct differences between an independent and an assisted living community.

While residents in an independent living community benefit from maintenance, housekeeping, lawn care, and other assistance, they are largely able to care for themselves. They usually choose to move to senior living for more social reasons, or in the case of independent living or a continuing care retirement community (CCRC), residents are investing in the security of knowing that their increasing care needs can be met right where they are.

By contrast, a resident in an assisted living community typically requires a helping hand with daily activities and medication. Unlike a nursing home resident, though, they don’t require skilled medical care or around the clock supervision by a health care professional. 

Q: What happens when an independent living resident needs more care?

A: If an independent living resident needs more care, they usually have a few different options to consider based on the community. Some communities have the ability to increase the level of care without the senior being required to move, such as a CCRC. 

Other communities have different types of care available on the same campus, but the resident will need to transition from one apartment to another. The staff at the community will usually help make sure this transition goes smoothly.

Q: Are residents allowed to bring their own furniture and belongings?

A: Yes! Residents are encouraged to furnish and decorate their independent living apartment or villa in their own unique style. It is their home and the appearance should reflect that.

Q: Do you need a car if you live in an independent living community?

A: While most independent living communities offer regular transportation services for local events, appointments, and outings, residents are still welcome to bring their own vehicles. Communities typically have dedicated resident parking lots or garages.

Q: Are pets allowed in independent living?

A: Many independent living communities welcome furry family members! Some communities have size restrictions though so be sure to ask for a copy of the community’s pet policy when you visit.

Visit us at Your Convenience

The best way to learn more about all of the benefits of an independent living community is with a personal tour. Contact a Benchmark community nearest you to set up a time to visit today!

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