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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 Lynchburg, Virginia and Surrounding Areas

    Lynchburg is an independent city (meaning a city not belonging to a county) located in central Virginia, near the cities of Roanoke, Danville, and Charlottesville. Nestled in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains, the city is situated approximately 180 miles southwest of the nation's capital, Washington, D.C. Principal highways in the city include U.S. Route 29, 221, 460, and 501.

    Incorporated as a town in 1805 and as a city in 1852, Lynchburg got its name from its founder, John Lynch, who was granted a charter in 1786 by the Virginia General Assembly for a town on 45 acres of his own land. The 19th century saw prosperity for Lynchburg, a center of manufacturing and commerce whose principal industry was tobacco. The onset of the 20th century brought a change in Lynchburg's economic base from tobacco to manufacturing. A large number of factories opened, many of which remained cornerstones of the economy for many years, allowing the city to grow and diversify. Colleges, libraries, and housing developments slowly populated the town over the years, to the point where today's Lynchburg is a vibrant community with a strong industrial base and is a regional center for retail and commerce.

    Known as the "City of Seven Hills" (College Hill, Garland Hill, Daniel's Hill, Federal Hill, Diamond Hill, White Rock Hill, and Franklin Hill), Lynchburg was frequented often by Thomas Jefferson, who maintained a nearby residence (Poplar Forest). The city is home to several colleges and universities, including Liberty University, established in the 1980s as Liberty Baptist College by televangelist and Lynchburg resident Jerry Falwell.

    Lynchburg Arts, Culture, and Entertainment

    Lynchburg's rich history and unspoiled beauty make it a natural setting for a wealth of historical landmarks, cultural events, and recreational activities. Some of the more prominent are as follows:

    • Academy of Fine Arts: Houses both an active studio theatre and an historic theatre undergoing renovation
    • Amazement Square, The Rightmire Children's Museum: Four spacious floors of interactive exhibitions, workshops and educational programs
    • Anne Spencer House and Garden: Honoring the internationally acclaimed poet who was the only black woman and the only Virginian included in the Norton Anthology of Modern American and British Poetry
    • Daura Gallery Museum: More than 1,000 paintings, drawings, sculptures, and prints
    • Legacy Museum of African-American History: Explores all aspects of local African American history and culture
    • Liberty University Theater: Located on Liberty University's main campus
    • Lynchburg Museum/Old Court House
    • Maier Museum of Art
    • Miller Claytor House
    • Old City Cemetery
    • Sandusky Historic Site & Civil War Museum
    • South River Meeting House
    • The James River Heritage Trail

    Although Virginia does not have a major league sports team, the city of Lynchburg is rich in baseball history. Minor League professional baseball has existed here since 1894, when the Lynchburg Hill Climbers brought baseball to the city. The team, which played in the Virginia League until the league disappeared in 1943, underwent some name changes during that time, becoming the Shoemakers, then the Grays, then the Senators. The team moved to the Piedmont League in 1943 and remained there until 1955 as the Lynchburg Cardinals. After a few more league changes and name changes, the team settled down in 1995 as the Lynchburg Hillcats of the Carolina League, where they remain to this day. The Hillcats are a class High-A affiliate of the Pittsburgh Pirates.