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Independent living

Posted July 17, 2013 in Advice Column, Ankeny

Many times families come into my office confused about the various terms that are associated with retirement living. It can seem overwhelming trying to figure out the various “lingo” and what exactly they mean.

Since we celebrated Independence Day this month, I thought it would be a great time to talk about independent living.  This is the first step on the retirement living journey.

Seniors look forward to this because often they are tired of keeping up the yard work and the snow shoveling. They also are ready to give up the many maintenance concerns and upkeep required in owning a home. They are ready to turn in their lawn mowers and snow blowers for something much more enjoyable and less physically demanding.  Many times the independent living apartment is smaller, so the housekeeping is oftentimes less. You’ll often see this talked about and promoted as “worry-free living.”

The idea behind this type of lifestyle is that instead of spending your time working around the home, you are spending your time doing the things that you enjoy.  Many senior communities offer a variety of clubs and activities from which to choose. But you aren’t just limited to those. Volunteering, traveling and spending time with family are also options that many seniors enjoy. When you are busy enjoying these things, you can rest easy knowing the yard is being mowed and the snow is being shoveled. Seniors also enjoy the security of having others in close proximity. and often new friendships are formed.

One of the phrases I often hear is “I’m not ready for this yet.” I have to think there is a huge misunderstanding as to what independent living in a retirement community means. In a nutshell — it’s time for you to do all the things you’ve always planned to do, with a lifestyle that promotes the freedom to do just that.

Next month we will talk about the next step in the continuum of care — assisted living.

Information provided by Shelly Charter, Valley View Village, 2571 Guthrie Ave., Des Moines, 265-2571.

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