Independent living is an excellent option for seniors who are active, seeking friendships, and ready to be done with household responsibilities. These busy communities are bustling with activity, featuring resort-like amenities and services designed to make health and wellness more attainable.
However, some older adults steer clear of independent living simply because they believe the cost won’t fit into their financial plans. But we have good news: Independent living is more affordable than you might think and will likely fit right into your retirement plans.
Costs of Living at Home vs. Independent Living
The reason independent living is so affordable is that residents no longer have to pay for monthly housing costs and other lifestyle incidentals. It’s all included in their independent living monthly rate. Residents can stop paying for their mortgage, home insurance bills, utilities, groceries, and even transportation costs.
The monthly fee at most independent living communities covers:
- A spacious, open-concept apartment
- Weekly housekeeping visits
- Access to transportation services around town
- Daily meals in the social dining room
- Events, concerts, and trips
- Concierge service
- Access to wellness resources, support, and education
When many older adults compare what they pay for living at home alone side by side with what they would pay monthly for an independent lifestyle, they are pleasantly surprised that community life fits nicely into their budget.
Making Independent Living Affordable
If you are concerned that independent living might stretch your budget, there are ways to make the lifestyle more affordable. Here are a few of our favorite tips that we have seen work for residents.
Talk to Your Financial Planner
Now is the time to have a frank conversation with your financial planner about your current retirement plan. Tell them about your dreams of independent living and see if there is a way to make it happen.
Continue to Work Part Time
Believe it or not, most baby boomer generation seniors are not planning on fully retiring anytime soon. Instead, boomers are leading the charge in part-time or consultation work, choosing something they are passionate about for their “second act” jobs in order to make extra money and make a difference in the lives of others.
Review Insurance and Veterans Affairs Benefits
Though most long-term care insurance and VA benefits do not cover independent living costs, they may cover other costs that could free up money to put toward your monthly fee.
Steer Clear of Communities That Ask You to ‘Buy In’
Some independent living communities are part of a larger campus continuum that offers multiple levels of care; these are typically called CCRCs, or continuing care retirement communities. Sometimes, these communities require residents to pay a hefty sum, typically the cost of a home in the area’s real estate market, in order to “buy in” to the benefits and lifestyle of the community. Be wary of these large investments and instead choose an independent living option that is a month-to-month contract and commitment.
Talk to Your Loved Ones
Finally, if independent living is what you want in retirement, talk to your family members about it. They may be able to see another way to make it possible within your fixed-income budget.
At Arbor Terrace of Herndon, we specialize in independent living. It’s all we do, so we are exceptional at it. Our services, amenities, and apartments are second to none. We would love to show you what makes our community so special and have a conversation about your concerns about cost or budget.
In the meantime, download our free resource, “Finding a Safe and Comfortable Senior Living Community.” It offers tips and tricks from our years of experience with seniors and their loved ones who are searching for a community that fits their needs and budget.