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    What Is Independent Living?

    Independent living refers to a way of life in residential communities designed specifically for those who have reached or are nearing retirement age, but want to remain active and independent. These communities feature social activities, amenities and services to make your life more carefree, in addition to housing options designed with seniors in mind.

    Unlike assisted living, independent living communities are for those who do not need help with daily tasks such as bathing or taking medications, although some independent living communities may offer very limited medical services.

    What Is Independent Living

    What Does an Independent Living Community Look Like?

    You can expect a variety of housing options in an independent living community. These can range from apartments and condos to duplex cottages and detached garden homes. Regardless of the type of home you choose, you will usually find handy features designed with safety and ease of senior living in mind, such as:

    • Handicap accessibility
    • Emergency alert systems
    • First floor access to elevators.

    These types of communities come in various sizes and layouts, and are often part of a larger community that also offers housing for seniors that require care, such as assisted living or skilled nursing care. This type of larger community that includes independent living as an option is called a Continuing Care Retirement Community. The advantage of this type of community is that you don't have to move far if you get to a point where you need more care.

    Independent living communities are typically located in or near residential or urban areas, which means residents can feel part of the overall neighborhood, community and county or city where they live.

    What's it Like to Live There?

    What Does an Independent Living Community Look Like?

    You'll have freedom to come and go in an independent living community, while still having the privacy of being in your own home. There are no limits on when or how much you come and go, and you can have friends and family over as much you like.

    In some communities, meals are included in your monthly fee, and you can usually choose between several options each day. You can also still continue to cook in your own kitchen if you'd like. Although transportation is typically included, you can often keep your own vehicle and continue to drive as well.

    There are usually lots of scheduled activities ranging from water aerobics to art classes. And you can choose to participate in as many of these as you'd like as often as you'd like. It's really up to you. You also have the freedom to continue to pursue many of your own unique hobbies and interests.

    Even though you can remain self-reliant in an independent living community, you'll get peace of mind from the around-the-clock security and knowledge that emergency help is close by if you ever need it.

    Is Independent Living Right for Me?

    Consider these statements below to determine if they describe you:

    Independence

    • I am still relatively healthy.
    • I like having my own living space.
    • I like being independent.
    • I am willing to move to a smaller home, or am unable to stay in my current home.
    • I prefer to live on my own, or do not have a relative or friend with whom I can live.
    • I no longer feel safe in my home.
    • I feel isolated in my home.
    Independent Living elder lady watering plants

    Daily Living

    • I need help getting in and out of the bathtub or taking a bath or shower.
    • I need help getting dressed.
    • I need assistance with personal grooming.
    • I get my medicines mixed up or can't remember when to take them.
    • I can no longer cook or need help preparing meals.
    • I can no longer drive or can only drive very short distances.
    • I do not have family or friends nearby if I need help with daily tasks.
      • If all or most of the Independence statements apply to you, but not the Daily Living statements, then independent living may be a good option for you. This includes independent living in Continuing Care Retirement Communities that let you transition to a higher level of care when you need it. Since you are still very independent and don't need daily help or nursing care, you might also want to consider these options:
        • Active adult homes
        • Senior apartments
      • If most or all of the above Independence and Daily Living statements apply to you, and you do not need regular nursing or medical care, then consider these options:
        • Assisted living
        • Companion care
        • Non medical home care
      • If most or all of the above Independence and Daily Living statements apply to you, and you ­also need regular nursing or medical care, then consider these options:
        • Skilled nursing care if you can't stay in your home
        • Medical home health care if you want to stay in your home
    Is Independent Living Right for Me?

    What to Expect from Independent Living?

    Lifestyle

    Most independent living communities have group dining areas, common areas, clubhouses or other recreation areas where you can enjoy the company of other residents.

    If you enjoy being around others, you will also have plenty of chances to do so with daily organized activities, such as:

    • Shopping sprees and other trips
    • Concerts and entertainment
    • Tai chi, yoga and other fitness activities
    • Card games and billiards
    • Religious services
    • Arts and crafts sessions

    You can come and go as you like, and still remain as close as you want with your family. Since you have your own private home in the community, you can usually have visitors when you like, and they can even stay overnight. Some independent living communities also allow pets.

    Services

    There are basic services which are typically included in your monthly fees. Typical services include:

    • Home maintenance
    • Housekeeping
    • Laundry Services
    • Meals
    • Transportation

    Costs

    Costs of independent living can vary greatly depending on:

    • Community location and amenities
    • Type and size of residence
    • Location of the residence within the community
    • Other factors

    Introduction to Cincinnati, Ohio and Northern Kentucky Surrounding Areas

    Cincinnati, located in southwestern Ohio on the Ohio River, is the third-largest city in the state. Founded in 1788 and incorporated as a city in 1819, it was named after the Society of the Cincinnati, which honored George Washington, whom they likened to the Roman General Cincinnatus. The city saw dramatic growth in the mid 1830s with the development of steamships and the completion of the Ohio and Erie Canal. It soon became a major shipping center, primarily for the pork industry. Cincinnati's location on the Ohio River has contributed not only to its prosperity but also its scenic charm. Winston Churchill once called Cincinnati "the most beautiful of America's inland cities".

    Today, Cincinnati has a population of around 340,000 and is home to major corporations that include Procter & Gamble, Kroger, CInergy Corporation, and Federated Department Stores, the parent company of Macy's and Bloomingdale's. Cincinnati ranked #37 on Ladies Home Journal's 2002 list of the Best Cities For Women (all but one of the cities ranking higher had larger populations). With a metro area that includes parts of Ohio, Indiana and Kentucky, Cincinnati has a unique personality that crosses midwestern industrial city with a southern country feel. Sarah Jessica Parker, Nick Lachey and Carmen Electra all hail from Cincinnati. Talk show host Jerry Springer was once its mayor.

    Cincinnati Culture

    Today, Cincinnati has a population of around 340,000 and is home to major corporations that include Procter & Gamble, Kroger, CInergy Corporation, and Federated Department Stores, the parent company of Macy's and Bloomingdale's. Cincinnati ranked #37 on Ladies Home Journal's 2002 list of the Best Cities For Women (all but one of the cities ranking higher had larger populations). With a metro area that includes parts of Ohio, Indiana and Kentucky, Cincinnati has a unique personality that crosses midwestern industrial city with a southern country feel. Sarah Jessica Parker, Nick Lachey and Carmen Electra all hail from Cincinnati. Talk show host Jerry Springer was once its mayor.

    Cincinnati Sports and Leisure

    Cultural attractions in Cincinnati include the Contemporary Arts Center, the Cincinnati Art Museum and the American Classical Music Hall of Fame and Museum. An obsolete railroad terminal has been revamped to house two museums: the Museum of Natural History and Science and the Cincinnati Historical Museum. The downtown architecture, with many art deco buildings, is another cultural draw, and the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra is one of the oldest orchestras in the country. The city hosts the International Wine Festival each March. On the first Monday in September, the Labor Day Riverfest features fireworks and a festive party scene. Cincinnati's sizeable German population makes its Octoberfest (held, oddly enough, in September) one of the country's largest and most authentic. And any day is a good day for Cincinnati's famous Skyline Chili, served over spaghetti.

    Sports are big in Cincinnati. Major league baseball's oldest team, the Cincinnati Reds, play at the 42,000-seat Great American Ballpark downtown on the banks of the Ohio River. The NFL's Cincinnati Bengals play next door at 65,600-seat Paul Brown Stadium. Also in the area is US Bank Arena, which hosts the International Hockey League's Cincinnati Cyclones. The University of Cincinnati and Xavier University have nationally competitive basketball programs that draw a strong local following.

    Cincinnati Outdoors

    With its riverfront location and a climate that's neither too hot nor too cold, Cincy is perfectly situated for recreational activities. The city claims one of the country's top park systems, with more than 100 parks spread over 5,000 acres. Sharon Woods Park is a 750-acre park with a lake surrounded by a 2.6-mile hiking and biking trail, along with restored 19th-century buildings. Shawnee State Park, 90 minutes away in Portsmouth, is a 60,000-acre park in the Appalachian foothills, offering golf, fishing, swimming, boating, several hiking trails, and camping facilities. For golfers, there are more than a dozen courses within the city and dozens more within a small radius. In the winter, skiing is available within an accessible distance. Perfect North Slopes, 30 minutes from the city, has more than a dozen runs on 70 acres. Spicy Run Resort, 90 miles east of Cincinnati in Latham, has trails for all levels and facilities for snowboarders. Mad River Mountain, 130 miles away in Bellefontaine, boasts Ohio's highest skiing elevation (1,460 ft) and has 15 trails and a snow tubing park on 120 acres.

    Cincinnati at Night

    Cincinnati has an energetic nightlife, with Main Street the main attraction, especially around the intersection of 12th Street. The Mount Adams neighborhood just east of downtown is a funky area, with upscale restaurants, bars and clubs. The Corryville district near the University of Cincinnati is another popular area to find diverse evening entertainment options. Riverboat casinos are available in Indiana just 20 minutes away.