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How to Evaluate Independent Living Communities

While envisioning your future, it can be difficult to tell if an independent living community will help you live your best life. When you start searching for the right independent living community, you may feel unsure about what to look for.

To guarantee you’re making the right decision for your future – and present – here are nine key areas to evaluate in each community on your list.

9 Key Areas to Evaluate

1. Community Location

First of all, be sure to carefully consider the location of the community. For instance, you may want to be close to family, friends, or a certain city that you love. Sometimes maintaining nearby support networks, such as your church or primary physician, may be a priority as well.

It’s also a good idea for the community to be within reach of a major airport, so you can travel or receive visitors.

2. Amenities & Services

A significant part of your community experience will depend on the amenities offered for your enjoyment. You should research what is included in the monthly fee to find out whether you can pursue your retirement goals from the community.

For example, if you’re a fan of playing golf, having an on-site putting green can be a great plus. Make a list of your priority amenities to ensure the community will let you fulfill your retirement vision. At The Villages of Imperial Pointe, we offer a suite of amenities – everything from personalized fitness classes to an art studio to regular transportation into town.

3. Dining Options

It’s important to consider the type of dining you’re looking for in independent living. This includes not only typical menu options, but the timing of meals, which venues are on-site, and whether chefs take into account individual dietary needs.

Typically, the best scenario is to have flexible dining options. At The Villages of Imperial Pointe, for example, we offer nutritious, chef-prepared meals in a variety of venues at any time during the day. Our different venues – including the Witherspoon Dining Room, Henderson Grille House, Broussard Bistro Bar & Lounge, and L’Auberge Club Room – give you a range of dining atmospheres and cuisines to enjoy.

4. Apartment Floor Plans & Common Areas

It’s not “home sweet home” without an apartment layout that you feel comfortable in. You should check out the community floor plans to see the available sizes, layouts, and included appliances. Be sure that you have lots of options to choose from so you have the chance to personalize your home.

For example, our apartments at The Villages of Imperial Pointe offer multiple one-bedroom and two-bedroom layouts, ranging in size from 700 to 1,155 square feet. Every home has high-end finishes and stainless steel appliances. Some even come with patios or balconies, according to your lifestyle vision.

What’s more, you should consider the full community campus, including common areas and outdoor spaces. You’ll likely meet up with friends, pursue hobbies and take walks in these spaces, so it’s important that you feel that they’re beautiful, versatile, and clean.

5. Community Programming

Research what type of community programming is available in the community, too. Having opportunities to connect with your neighbors is a key aspect of independent living. Most communities will offer a social calendar with different events, therapies, and cultural programming.

Check out what a typical activity calendar looks like so you can picture what your social life would be like in that community.

6. Staff Training & Attention

The people within your community can make or break the experience. Get a feel for how the staff interacts with residents from the start. On your visit, note how friendly and attentive the staff members are and if individuals seem to enjoy spending time in common areas.

You should also ask about the staff’s qualifications and how much coverage they provide during the day and at night.

7. Security & Safety

You deserve to feel safe in your new home. As you choose a community, ask about security and safety measures in place. This includes not just accessibility features such as grab bars, no-slip floors, and walk-in showers, but also emergency response and security systems.

Ask if there’s 24/7 staff coverage and what type of health monitoring is available as well. Overall, these types of features can give you peace of mind as you age.

8. Future Health Care Options

As your health needs evolve, you may also require more involved levels of care. Find out what types of assistance and care are available in your community, and how you can transition over time.

For example, at The Villages of Imperial Pointe, we offer independent living, assisted living, and memory care, and allow residents to upgrade to different care levels as needed. This ensures you can continue to live in your same home and receive different medical services even if your health changes.

9. Current Resident Experience

The best way to get to know a community is to talk to current residents. During a visit, take time to eat lunch with some residents or talk to them in the shared spaces. Ask about their experiences, including their favorite things about the community and what they would improve about it.

If you’re unsure about any aspect of the community, these conversations can help guide your decision-making process.

Next Steps: Start Touring Independent Living Communities

Evaluating potential independent living communities can take a healthy dose of patience. Take your time during this process and ask lots of questions during your in-person or virtual tour. You deserve to find the right fit for you, where you can feel inspired, happy, and comfortable as you go about your days.

Want to get to know The Villages of Imperial Pointe? Kick off your senior living journey by checking out our photo and video gallery. When you’re ready, schedule an in-person tour. Here you can design your days as you wish, elevate your whole-person wellness, and get the peace of mind that you’re home.