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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 Indianapolis, Indiana and Surrounding Areas

    Indianapolis, the largest city in Indiana and its state capital, is located in the center of the state on the White River. Settled in 1820, "Indy" was incorporated as a city in 1832 and saw tremendous growth with the advent of railroads in the 1840s and the automobile industry at the turn of the century. Today, Indianapolis is the twelfth-largest city in the United States, with a steadily-growing population of around 800,000 and a strong, diverse economy supported by manufacturing, agriculture and the service industries. Leading employers in the area include electronics, pharmaceuticals, publishing, food processing and insurance companies. Indianapolis is one of the busiest convention centers in the country.

    Indianapolis Culture

    Cultural attractions in Indianapolis are plentiful. Some of the finest art and artifact collections in the country can be seen at the Eiteljorg Museum of American Indians & Western Art and at the Indianapolis Museum of Art. The latter is set on 52-acre grounds with the restored mansion of J.K. Lilly Jr., surrounded by beautiful gardens. The city is also home to the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra, the Indiana Repertory Theatre and Indianapolis Civic Theatre.

    Indianapolis Sports and Leisure

    The NBA's Indiana Pacers (18,000-seat Conseco Fieldhouse) and the NFL's Indianapolis Colts (56,000-seat RCA dome) bring major league sports to downtown Indianapolis. Other pro teams include the Fever (WNBA), the Indians (minor league baseball), the Firebirds (Arena Football) and Blast (USL soccer), but the area is best known as the home of the Indianapolis 500 road race and a hotbed of college basketball. A few miles west of downtown, the Indianapolis Motor Speedway (IMS) packs in more than 250,000 spectators each Memorial Day weekend for the Indy 500, a tradition since 1911. The IMS also houses a Hall of Fame Museum and part of a golf course. Within an hour's drive are perennial NCAA basketball tournament powerhouses Indiana, Indiana State and Purdue. Within a 2-hour drive are Notre Dame, Louisville and Cincinnati.

    Indianapolis Outdoors

    There's a lot to do in the Indiana outdoors. Brown County Park, just 46 miles away in Nashville (IN), is Indiana's largest park, offering 12 miles of hiking trails, cabins and camping facilities, horseback riding, and great lakes for fishing. A 2-hour drive away, the Falls of Ohio State Park on the Ohio River in Clarksville offers fishing, hiking and 386-million-year-old fossils, which can be viewed when the Ohio River recedes in early autumn.

    Indianapolis at Night

    There's always something going on at night downtown; another popular area about a mile away is Fountain Square, a renovated factory loaded with shops, restaurants, bowling alleys and a theatre. Although Indianapolis doesn't have the large student population of comparably sized cities, it has many huge colleges within a reachable radius. Indianapolis ranks among the cleanest, safest, most affordable and easiest-to-get-to cities, making it easy to get-to-know.

    Recognizing Indianapolis

    Indianapolis ranked #6 on BestJobsUsa.com's 2002 list of the Best Places to Live and Work in America and #27 on the Forbes 2004 list of the Best Cities for Singles.