As more and more older adults reach retirement age, independent living communities are adjusting to reflect the next generation’s needs and preferences. From design updates to changes in the services and amenities offered within the community, modern independent living communities are continually evolving. Let’s take a look at some of the top trends you can expect to find in today’s independent living communities.
More choices and freedom
Baby Boomers are known for valuing their independence, which is why when members from this generation arrive into their retirement years, they tend to gravitate toward senior housing that allows them to live an independent, low-maintenance lifestyle. In response, independent living communities now offer a range of different senior housing options from cozy cottages and home-like villas to apartment suites.
In keeping up with the latest trends, independent living communities are also incorporating clean, contemporary interior design elements and offering appealing options for countertops, tile and carpeting, and appliances. Residents can choose from different floor plans and customize their new space with their own furniture and décor. Best of all, in independent living, residents don’t have to worry about time-consuming tasks such as mowing the lawn, shoveling the walkways, or fixing a leaky pipe. The independent living community takes care of any home maintenance needs so residents can spend more time doing what they enjoy.
Some independent living communities are taking advantage of new “smart” technology to enhance the safety and well-being of residents. For example, private living spaces and common areas are equipped with alert systems to ensure help can be notified quickly in the event of an emergency. The community may also provide residents with wearable technology such as a neck pendant or wristlet that allows them to call for assistance if they should need it.
In addition, some independent living communities now have on-campus IT departments to help residents set up Internet, cable, and phone service in their new place. One rising trend is the integration of in-home, voice-activated smart devices such as Amazon Echo or Google Home. These virtual helpers can assist with making calls, answering questions, ordering food, playing music, and much more!
Recognizing the wonderful benefits of pet ownership for older adults, many of today’s independent living communities are now becoming pet-friendly and permit residents to bring a small dog or cat when moving into the community. Be sure to find out if the independent living community has any size, weight, or breed restrictions on the types of pets allowed on campus.
Volunteering and community participation
After moving to independent living, most residents continue to be active and engaged members within the broader community. In fact, they might even find that the maintenance-free lifestyle of independent living gives them more time to explore community activities and social opportunities. They’re free to participate in local events, attend worship services, and visit nearby restaurants and shopping centers. They might even be involved in community leadership roles and volunteer activities. Staying engaged in the local community helps older adults maintain a feeling of meaning and fulfillment well into their retirement years.
Unique and varied food options
Not all independent living options offer on-campus dining to residents, but some do – especially when they are part of a continuing-care retirement community. If this is the case, residents can usually elect to pay for a meal plan or purchase meals on an à la carte basis.
One of the biggest changes to the senior living industry in the past decade is the approach to dining. Many communities are stepping up their dining experience and providing vibrant dining venues like on-campus restaurants, cafés, and community dining rooms that serve fresh and healthy chef-prepared meals. The cuisine may vary from comfort classics like steak and potatoes to dishes inspired by exotic flavors from around the world. Special dietary requests such as gluten-free options and milk alternatives can also be accommodated.
The future is bright
It’s exciting to think about what the future holds for independent living! As more and more Baby Boomers reach their retirement years and leave the workforce, we can expect to see even greater changes in the way that senior housing is designed and how senior care is delivered. With an increasing number of options available, be sure to take the time to research and tour independent living communities to find the one that’s right for you or your loved one!