When it comes to independent living, senior housing and even active adult living, there is confusion and misunderstanding because the terms are used in different ways by different people and by the senior living industry itself. Toss the term “retirement living” into the mix and you may be asking yourself, “What is retirement living?” It is a phrase that the senior living community is still working to define.

At Baldwin House Senior Living in Michigan, we’ve started using the term retirement living to encompass a variety of housing options for seniors who are 60+. Retirement living ranges from living independently in a senior apartment community to living in a senior apartment in a community that offers occasional meals and activities. Many retirement and active adult communities give residents the freedom to do what they want, when they want, without having to be on a schedule.

In fact, in two of our communities, we recently introduced a micro market food option for our residents. The micro market offers healthy and delicious food choices, and the residents have complete freedom regarding when they eat, where they eat and with whom they eat. Our residents are enjoying the freedom the micro market offers.

Choosing retirement living is such a personal choice and will also depend on the individual needs and amenities you require and your personal preferences. Before you move into retirement living, you will also need to look at:

  1. Your budget and finances. What can you afford?
  2. How independent do you want to be? Completely? Or do you want access to on-site and off-site activities and events?
  3. What is your health? If you’re healthy and don’t require any kind of assistance, that is a different living situation than if you’re not quite mobile or are suffering health issues that may deteriorate in the future.

What is retirement living?

As mentioned, retirement living is an all-encompassing term that is still being defined by individual senior living communities and the industry itself. As a high-level overview, though, here are some terms to think about when you are contemplating making a move into retirement living.

  1. Assisted living, for the most part, is a housing option that helps with daily living activities. Those activities could range from cooking meals to personal hygiene like bathing and getting dressed. Assisted living communities are typically higher-priced options because they have staff available to help the residents. Assisted living is an option for individuals who are still able to live independently but may need assistance.
  2. Independent living is considered housing designed for older adults who can live independently. The residents in independent living communities have their own apartments, can cook their own meals, clean their own apartments and do their own laundry. However, there are retirement living options that may offer occasional housekeeping services, at a cost. Independent and some retirement living communities could provide amenities, activities and services that might include meals, access to social activities and events and transportation.
  3. Nursing homes are not typically ranked in the retirement living category because nursing home residents require a high level of care in daily activities and more. A nursing home might be a better option for a senior who can’t live independently because of physical or cognitive decline.

If you’re considering moving out of your family home and into a retirement living community in Michigan, make sure you compare the options and pricing. Living in a retirement or active adult community could be an ideal option for older adults to enjoy their golden years in a comfortable and independent way.

How can you make sure you choose the right retirement community for you?

  1. Don’t jump into the first community you visit. Tour several communities and then compare notes, pricing and other items that are important to you.
  2. Speak to some of the residents. When you talk with someone who is currently living there, you get a better feeling of the community than you do from a community salesperson.
  3. Ask for pricing and what the cost includes.
  4. Ask what living options are available to you if your health declines and you can no longer live independently.
  5. Don’t discount your “gut feelings.” If you love the feeling of a place, make note of that. If something about a community doesn’t make you feel happy or comfortable, remember that when you’re making your final decision.

Deciding on a retirement community or an active adult community is a major choice and brings with it major life changes. It’s best to begin your search now, before the need arises for a retirement community. You don’t want to feel rushed or pressured into making any decision.

Visit a Baldwin House Senior Living community near you. Baldwin House Senior Living is built upon the strong foundation of guiding families and empowering seniors.

Baldwin House offers families peace of mind and gives active adults and seniors who call Baldwin House home the freedom to live their very best lives. Call us today to schedule a visit. We’d love to meet you or your loved one!