by Stuart Mapes

independent livingWhen you are choosing an independent living community to move to, you might not find one that is quite like home, but there may be one that is pretty close. Base your choice of independent living communities on your necessities and the lifestyle you have planned for retirement.


  • Think about meals—do you still like to cook for yourself or would a dining room be nice?
  • Make sure there is an emergency response system provided. Many communities have emergency pull chords in several rooms of each apartment.
  • Find out if the community provides laundry and trash services.
  • Is there free maintenance available if something breaks down?
  • If your home has to be a certain temperature, make sure you’ll have heating and air conditioning that you can easily control.


  • Many senior communities have first floor only apartments, but in some you may have to use an elevator.
  • Find out if there is transportation available—weekly scheduled shopping trips can be helpful!
  • Inspect the bathrooms and make sure you’re comfortable using the shower.

Active Living:

  • The retirement you envisioned might involve more than just TV and card games—make sure you find a community with a fitness center, a pool, patios, gardens, or planned activities if any of those are important to your active lifestyle.


  • A brochure can tell you any amenities the independent living community offers, but you’ll need to make a visit to judge if the community is really the right one for you. Walk through each room of your potential apartment and try to imagine yourself living there.
  • Also observe the neighborhood around the community and make sure you are comfortable with it. Would you rather have a quiet community of just the residents or do you need a place with access to a mall, theater and restaurants?
  • Talk to some of the residents you run into. Do they seem happy? Do they seem like neighbors you will easily get along with?

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