Independent Living for Seniors in Pensacola, FL

Independent living for seniors is a hot topic in families and communities. And with good reason - our older loved ones have endured an awful lot; they’ve cared for us and our families. They’ve worked hard throughout their lives, and now it’s time to enjoy retirement. That’s a large part of what makes the notion of independent living so attractive for seniors. Independent living, after all, provides just that -- independence and flexibility.

But we’re getting ahead of ourselves! 

If you’ve found your way here, you’re curious about independent living for seniors in Pensacola (or even somewhere else). Maybe you’re an older adult eager to experience a different standard of living. Or maybe Mom or Dad has expressed some interest and you’re doing research to help a loved one.

Wherever you are in your journey, we are here to help. In our conversations with many seniors and their families everyday, we observe a common theme: seniors want freedom and flexibility, but feel tied down by their homes. 

And who can blame them? Homes come with a bevy of expenses and stresses. This needs to be replaced. That needs to be fixed. The lawn has to be mowed or watered. The shutters need to be painted. And during hurricane season, worrying about the house adds an entirely new set of stressors. 

Worrying about -- and taking care of -- a house takes a lot of time and money. Who wants to throw away time and money on things like that, especially at retirement age? This time is meant to be relaxing and fun! 

That’s why more and more families are delving into independent living for seniors, especially in Pensacola, where communities like Veranda of Pensacola (shameless plug!) have invested the resources and individuals needed to create a truly luxurious oasis. “Independent living for seniors” is just that -- communities designed specifically for seniors (most often ages 55+), with the freedom and flexibility of living in your own home. Plus, resort-style amenities, neighbors, activities, even luxe options like limousine service to your doctor’s appointments (we’re just saying - if you haven’t done it, it’s WORTH IT!). 

In this guide to independent living for seniors in Pensacola, FL, we’re going to examine the more important aspects of independent living to arm you with the information and resources needed to make the right decision for you or your loved one. Here is an outline of what and how we’ll be covering here to help you find exactly the information you need: 

  1. What is independent living? 

  2. Benefits of independent living for seniors

  3. Choosing the right independent living community

1. What is independent living?

Limo8_pp-2

With so many options available for seniors today, you may be confused about what independent actually is and isn’t -- not to worry, that’s why we created this resource! 

Living independently, or independent living? 

Technically, you could say that any senior living at home is “living independently.” Yet, there is a striking difference between living independently in a house versus independent living for seniors at a community like Veranda of Pensacola. Let’s take a look at some of the differences between “living independently” and “independent living for seniors.” 

Seniors who live independently at home are still responsible for all the components (including costs) of home ownership or renting. Things like home maintenance and repairs, homeowner’s insurance, lawn maintenance, and even things like buying groceries and preparing meals.

With independent living for seniors, your loved one gets the flexibility of living on their own, oftentimes with the amenities and activities of a permanent vacation.  

1. Independent living versus other types of senior living

Just as your loved one is unique, there are many different types of senior living to accommodate seniors with varying needs and wants. Here is a quick overview of some other types of senior living, and how they differ from independent living for seniors:

Nursing homes

Many people think of nursing homes when discussing senior living options. You’ve probably had a relative or close person over the years who has lived in a nursing home. Nursing homes are full-time, 24-hour care facilities that accommodate seniors and individuals who usually have pretty extensive medical needs. These individuals are no longer able to care for themselves, and need medical oversight to stay healthy and happy. Many nursing homes have activities for residents; however, they’re dependent on the medical needs of residents. 

Assisted living

The simplest definition of assisted living can be summed up as a residence for older adults and those with extra needs that provides various levels of nursing care, plus assistance with meals and housekeeping. Most assisted living communities (including our assisted living community here at Veranda of Pensacola) also offer a range of socialization, activities, amenities, and even outings, providing a rich and full life for residents (and peace of mind for their loved ones).  Many seniors and their families enjoy choosing an independent living community for seniors that also offers assisted living. That way, as they get older and/or have increased needs, they are able to stay in the same community. 

Home care

An option for seniors who need extra help around the house or have medical needs, home care provides a professional caregiver (or sometimes a nursing assistant or nurse, even physical therapists and occupational therapists) for a short time each day (or however long they are needed) to assist your loved one. Services offered can include simple household tasks and chores, or can expand into medical care. Options can be dependent on patient needs, as well as by location and company.    

Live-in care

Seniors who either need or want constant companionship or care may opt for live-in care, which is literally a caregiver who resides with you or your loved one. This may provide some peace of mind; however, many families feel uncomfortable having a stranger in the home on a permanent basis. 

Specialized care

Most specifically for specialized health conditions like heart disease, diabetes and Alzheimer’s or dementia, specialized care is often offered at home, but may also extend to nursing homes and other facilities. 

Who is a fit for independent living?

In the literal sense, independent living for seniors is a fit for seniors age 55 and up. In some cases, the time is right for a move into independent living once your loved one hits 55. Many seniors no longer want the stress and burden of home ownership, and are eager to shed them in order to live a free and independent life in retirement. 

In other instances, there may be a great deal of planning that goes into determining the right time for independent living. Some of the factors to consider when planning include:

Age

This is the most obvious factor, of course! We find that many seniors and families like to plan for a move to independent living for several years before they actually turn 55. This can help families make a seamless transition, and can also help prevent hitting unnecessary snags (like having to go on a waiting list).

Medical conditions

Seniors with medical conditions that may worsen over time may want to look at the big picture when determining which independent living community is a fit. Or, for senior couples where one partner has more needs than the other -- health and medical conditions can make a big impact on planning. The earlier you plan, often the better when it comes to flexibility and options. 

Upcoming expenses/selling a house

Selling a house can be a long and stressful process. Depending on finances, the ability to sell a house may impact your loved one’s timeline for a move to independent living for seniors in Pensacola, FL. Any renovations or work on the house that may be needed in order to sell can also majorly impact your loved one’s timeline. 

Finances

Any financial situations or other costs that are impacting your senior loved one now (or in the near future) could also impact a timeline for moving into an independent living community for seniors. 

Lifestyle

A propensity for travel, certain hobbies or activities, a desire to skip (or do) chores or household tasks -- there are any number of lifestyle preferences that could impact both the timing of a move to independent living, or a choice in independent living communities for seniors. 

Welcome Home-3

What’s it like for seniors in an independent living community?

Talking about a move to independent living for seniors in Pensacola, FL and actually experiencing that move and new lifestyle are two different things. We always recommend that prospective residents and their families take a tour of our community (and any community they’re considering) to get a real feel for what life will be like. 

But in the meantime, we can also help color in the lines a bit and give you a feeling for what it’s like to spend an “average” day in independent living for seniors in Pensacola, FL. In fact, let’s get even more specific and talk about what we know -- here’s what an average day could be like for a resident here at Veranda of Pensacola, FL:

Morning

Your loved one heads down to the dining room and picks some of their favorite breakfast foods to fuel up for a busy day. After breakfast, they head to the fitness center for some stretching before hitting the pool for some water aerobics.

After breakfast, your loved one grabs a book from the library and finds a quiet space in one of our lounges to enjoy a cup of coffee and a good book. 

Afternoon

Your loved one heads to the salon for a quick hair cut and style -- they’ve got big plans this afternoon!

You and your kids stop by for lunch with your loved one - big plans, indeed. Everyone gathers around the fireplace in our reception area to play a game and enjoy time together before you head out for lunch. 

When you drop your loved one back here at their Veranda of Pensacola, FL home, they sit down for a quick game of cards with some friends before heading back to their apartment for a rest before dinner.

Our fine dining room is offering a delicious stuffed Grouper or Butter Chicken -- your loved one loves how eclectic the menu is, working in time-tested favorites along with new cuisines to try! They enjoy dinner with some friends, and make plans for later that night. 

After an evening stroll to help digest, it’s time for those plans!

Time to munch on some popcorn with friends while watching a favorite flick in the 42-seat movie theater.

Here at Veranda of Pensacola, FL, every day can truly feel like vacation. Choosing the right independent living for seniors also means peace of mind for you and your family.  

How much does independent living for seniors in Pensacola, FL cost? 

Considering independent living for seniors in Pensacola, FL means making important budget considerations for seniors and families. Understanding affordability and balancing your family’s budget is essential to help make the best decision. 

In order to adequately budget for and examine the costs associated with independent living for seniors in Pensacola, it’s important to look at the complete picture. In many instances, the actual costs of independent living are on par with (at times, even less than!) the costs of home ownership -- with all the added amenities and luxuries.  

Costs of living at home that are included (or significantly lower) with independent living include:

  • Mortgage/rent
  • Homeowner’s/renter’s insurance
  • Property taxes
  • Utilities (including electric, gas, sewer, and water)
  • Home maintenance (including new appliances, repairs, and more)
  • Groceries
  • Car payment/gas
  • Car insurance
  • Homeowners association fees
  • Lawn service
  • Cable/internet
  • Costs for amenities and hobbies that are included with independent living residency

A 1-bedroom apartment at Veranda of Pensacola starts around $2,975 per month, and we have a variety of options available to suit your living preferences. Be sure to call us to talk about your needs and what’s available at our independent living community for seniors!

2. Benefits of independent living for seniors

IMG_9596

Now that you understand what independent living is and isn’t, it’s time to take a closer look at why independent living is a great fit for seniors, as well as their families. Following are some of the most compelling benefits (and even some potential challenges to consider) our residents have shared with us over the years.

A. Alleviate the burdens of home ownership

We just outlined some of the costs associated with living at home, but let’s dig a little deeper. Our residents share a lot of feedback regarding life at Veranda of Pensacola, and 100% of our residents share that they are relieved to no longer have the burden of home ownership or even renting a “regular” apartment. 

Here are some of the most common burdens of home ownership and traditional apartment renting that are alleviated by independent living for seniors: 

General maintenance and upkeep

It’s exhausting for even younger adults to keep up a house - when we get older, then it’s really a burden. And for some seniors, it’s a real trial to keep up their houses. 

Paint peels, houses need siding, roofs need to be redone or repaired. Countertops need replacing, hinges break. Lawns need to be mowed. In some parts of the country, sidewalks and driveways need to be shoveled (thankfully, not here in Pensacola, FL!). 

And that’s just to start! 

With a move to independent living, all the maintenance and upkeep of your apartment is taken care of -- so you or your senior loved one can just ENJOY retirement!

Travel time to your favorite activities

This one may not seem like a big deal, but it can be expensive and time consuming to drive to all your favorite activities. Here at Veranda of Pensacola, FL, our independent living for seniors offers a range of activities -- all that are just steps from your door. No long commutes, no spending too much money on gas or upkeep for your car. 

From exercise classes to board and card games, presentations and speakers, road trips to museums and galleries, movies in our own theater and so much more, you’ll always have an opportunity to enjoy your favorite activities.

Costs of home ownership

Although we just listed some of the expenses that come along with home ownership, it bears repeating -- owning a home is expensive! In many instances, the cost of independent living -- with all our amenities and activities -- is equal to the cost of home ownership, without the burdens. Some of our residents even save money each month! 

Freedom and security

In many ways, owning a home can bog you down. When you travel, you need to find someone to “look after the house” or “bring in the mail.” With an independent living community for seniors like Veranda of Pensacola, our community is protected with 24/7 security. Travel as often as you’d like - you don’t have to worry about whether your mail is picked up or your home is safe. 

Loneliness

Loneliness is a major issue for many seniors, and particularly for seniors who are unmarried or whose spouses have passed away, it can be profoundly lonely living alone at home. Loneliness has been linked to a host of health issues in seniors, and can even contribute to an early death

FaceTime, social visits, and getting out can help a bit, but independent living for seniors offers a powerful way to combat social isolation. That’s because when you become part of an independent living community for seniors, many of your friends are steps away from your door! Meet up with a friend for coffee, to see a movie, or for a fitness class. Or have outside friends and family come meet you. There is always a smiling face or a good friend, just steps away.  

B. Added benefits for families of seniors who move into independent living

Although independent living primarily alleviates burdens and offers so much benefit for seniors, there are some added benefits for the family and loved ones of senior independent living residents. 

In talking to our residents and their families, we’ve identified these top two (2) benefits for family members of our independent living residents:

Less stress about helping around the house

Of course, your loved ones would never share this with you, but everyone’s lives are busy. Your family would much rather spend time socializing and visiting, but many loved ones end up helping around the house, taking care of repairs, and more to help alleviate the burdens of home ownership. 

With a move to independent living, your family can just be family again. Visits are about actually visiting, and not “helping.” It’s one of the greatest joys our residents share after they have moved to Veranda of Pensacola. 

Less worrying

As we get older, we’re more prone to trips and falls -- things that seem silly, but can actually lead to major health issues or problems down the road. Our family members worry about things like this, they worry about security, robberies and everyday risks and challenges that may present themselves to our older loved ones. 

The joy of seeing you happy

Don’t underestimate the joy your family will feel at seeing you live your best life in your new independent living community for seniors. Whether they’ve mentioned it to you or not, your family worries about you, and wants you to enjoy every minute of these golden years. We’ve spoken to many children and grandchildren over the years who are simply over the moon at the joy and buoyancy they’ve noticed in their loved ones since they made the move to Veranda of Pensacola. 

C. Potential challenges of independent living for seniors

Although all of our residents love the freedom and amenities of life at Veranda of Pensacola, there are some challenges to consider -- after all, a move to independent living for seniors is a big change. 

While some residents have mentioned these challenges over the years, all have overwhelmingly felt they made the right decision in moving to Veranda of Pensacola. By sharing these “challenges,” we (and they) hope to prepare future residents for the incredible transition into the freedom of independent living. 

The loss of a “home base”

There is undoubtedly a mental comfort of sorts in knowing you own your home. During the earliest days of adulthood and marriage, owning a home meant you had a “home base,” a place that would always be there for you, your kids, etcetera. Moving away from that home base can be difficult for some seniors. 

And yet, you’ve made it to the best years of your life. Your home base served you well! Your kids are likely grown and have their own “home bases” now. Although it’s bittersweet to say goodbye to a home (perhaps a long-time home), our residents say that the freedom and unburdening of home ownership is undoubtedly worth making a challenging and emotional transition. 

Feeling further away from family

This one can vary quite a bit based on the resident and their family situation, but some residents have needed to adjust to not necessarily being five minutes away from family. Many families buy homes near each other, perhaps in the same town. Some are within walking distance. 

Much like the previous point, there is great comfort in knowing your closest loved ones are just a few doors down, or five minutes away. But, depending on where your family is located, a short drive isn’t insurmountable. And if you’re looking for peace of mind in case of an emergency, Veranda of Pensacola, FL offers 24/7 security. Although it’s a change, you’ll gain peace of mind in your new home as well. 

3. Choosing the right independent living community

KOI

By this point, you’ve learned about independent living for seniors, what it is and isn’t, who it’s for, and what independent living is like for seniors in Pensacola, FL and elsewhere. You understand why independent living can be a great choice for retirees who want to enjoy their later years and live a resort-like life while enjoying retirement. 

Now, the time has come to make a decision. While making a decision about your living situation is inherently a bit dramatic and maybe even stressful, we encourage you to relax and enjoy this part of the process. This is the fun part! Our advice in this section is designed to remove as much of the stress as possible, so that you can focus on finding the right independent living community that meets your needs.

We’ll specifically highlight these key areas to help you choose the right independent living community for seniors in Pensacola:

  • How to find independent living communities for seniors in Pensacola, FL
  • Critical factors to consider when choosing independent living for seniors in Pensacola
  • What to look for when calling or touring prospective independent living communities

How to find independent living communities for seniors in Pensacola, FL

It’s never been easier to find independent living communities for seniors in Pensacola, FL and beyond. These are the primary methods we recommend (and that are easiest to take advantage of regardless of your age or technical capabilities):

Leverage your (social) network

Everyone knows someone who has taken advantage of independent living for seniors, or has at least gone through the same research process for independent living communities. The easiest way to start building a list of prospective communities in Pensacola is to...ask! 

To start, give a call to old friends and family you know off the top of your head who have moved or had a close relative move to independent living. Hearing first hand accounts of the search and living experience can be tremendously beneficial. Plus, it’s always nice to talk to friends and family - especially those you haven’t contacted in awhile. 

Then, it’s time to take advantage of your Facebook profile (or any other social network where you have a presence). If you don’t have your own Facebook profile, as a close relative to post for you. Social media can provide a treasure trove of referrals, testimonials, and candid input on independent living for seniors in Pensacola. 

Put Google to work

Of course, the very easiest way to start finding independent living for seniors in Pensacola is to search using Google. To get started, use the very basic and clear “independent living for seniors in Pensacola, FL” to build your list of prospective communities. 

If you’re looking to build an even more refined list, you can get more specific with your search strings. For example, try “independent living with movie theater Pensacola” if your ideal independent living community has an on-site movie theater (Spoiler alert: We have a movie theater!). 

Read online reviews

From Google and Facebook, to Yelp and other sites, try using Google to look specifically for reviews as well. You’re not likely to find more search results than with a basic Google search; however, reading reviews can help you identify or eliminate “short list” independent living communities in Pensacola when building your list. At a minimum, something you find in reviews can help you know what questions to ask prospective independent living communities when you begin scheduling tours. 

Talk to senior groups 

Are you in a book club for seniors? Do you participate in activities or vacations with other seniors? From Facebook groups for seniors to active senior centers in your community, leverage those people and resources for referrals and recommendations wherever possible. 

Critical factors to consider when choosing independent living for seniors in Pensacola

Now that you’ve got a list of prospective independent living communities for seniors in Pensacola, it’s time to identify which factors -- your “wants” and “needs” -- to consider when narrowing down your list. 

Although every situation is unique and you’ll likely have your own factors to add to this list, consider this a starting point for you when identifying and writing down the “musts” and “nice-to-haves” you’ll weigh in potential senior communities.  

The right location

What the “right” location means will differ for everyone, but choosing independent living for seniors in Pensacola almost always begins with location. If you’d like to stay in the same general neighborhood or at least the same city as your previous home or apartment, you’ll want to add that factor up near the top of the list. 

If you’d like to live close to an airport because you’ll be traveling often, mark that down. In fact, rather than simply listing our neighborhoods you like, you may even want to narrow down “location” by getting even more specific in your wants here. After all, your specific lifestyle will merit different considerations in location -- thinking of every location factor that could impact your happiness in a particular community now could make a huge difference in your experience as a senior community resident. 

Other location factors to consider may include: proximity to close family and friends, proximity to favorite restaurants, museums, and other activities, distance to doctors and other frequently-visited locations, and more.

Cost of living

If you’ve completed the independent living for seniors cost exercise we outlined in the previous section, you’ve got a good idea what price range is applicable for potential independent living communities in Pensacola. 

Budget is going to be important for most families, so it’s important to be realistic here. We did break down how independent living can often equal or even cost less than homeownership. But regardless of your previous or current situation, have a very clear range in mind early in the search process when choosing independent living for seniors in Pensacola. Otherwise, you could find yourself head over heels when visiting an independent living community, only to later discover that it’s not within your budget range. 

The ability to “age in place”

Although you may be in excellent health at the moment (and we hope that you’ll continue to be in excellent health for many years to come!), we find that many Veranda of Pensacola residents find peace of mind in knowing that if their needs change, they can stay a resident of our community for as long as possible. That’s because at Veranda of Pensacola, we offer both independent living and assisted living options for seniors. We also offer four levels of care within our assisted living lifestyle. 

Meals you enjoy

You’re choosing an independent living community that ideally helps you feel like retirement is a vacation -- you’ve earned it! That means that your mealtimes should be as far away from the old school cafeterias of our youth as possible.

What does that mean, exactly? Well, at Veranda of Pensacola, for example, our beautiful dining room was designed specifically to make you feel comfortable, while making it easy and natural to have conversations with your friends and neighbors. Our fine dining room is a “place to be,” rather than just a place to eat. 

Of course, one of the best parts of visiting a resort is the amazing food, and when you choose resort-style living, you should enjoy every meal. Tastes vary, so we are sure to offer several options at every meal - main courses and sides. Our residents are from across the country, and our residents have also shared that they like trying new cuisines. That’s why our eclectic menu is sure to please every palate, with healthy, nutritious, and tasty meals that represent cultures from around the United States.

Amenities and activities that support your lifestyle

What does your ideal retirement lifestyle look like? 

Is it a home base where you’re comfortable and safe, but where you can travel frequently and not worry about upkeep and maintenance while you’re away? 

Does it include trips to museums, sporting events, and festivals, where you can really explore your “backyard” in Pensacola? 

Does it inspire you to try new things like “classic photo shoots”, seminars, and activities that you’ve never tried before? 

How about movies, relaxing in a lounge, seeing live music, or just relaxing on a screened-in porch? 

This and SO much more awaits you at Veranda of Pensacola. And regardless of what your ideal retirement lifestyle looks like, your independent living community for seniors should either include those amenities or activities, or make it easy for you to enjoy them. 

What to look for when calling or touring independent assisted living communities

The hard part is done - you’ve got a list of prospective independent living communities for seniors in Pensacola, FL. You know what you want and need in an independent living community. 

Now it’s time to start making calls and scheduling tours. But, maximizing those calls and tours is essential to ensure you find the perfect independent living community for you. As with the factors-to-consider noted above, consider this list a starting point for you. Since your situation is unique, consider printing this out and adding more things to consider or ask -- then, take this with you on your tours. Ask questions, take notes, and then you’ll be able to review everything with a clear mind when it’s time to make a decision. 

Friendly and welcoming staff

The activities and administrative staff of your independent living community will be helping you take full advantage of all the amenities and activities that community offers. Don’t be afraid to ask to meet or at least speak with every member of the team you’ll be interacting with on a regular basis. You’ll want to see if your personalities click, or at the very least, if you get a “good feeling” when talking with them. 

Amenities and activities

To that point - and we just outlined this above -- you’ll want to ask about amenities and activities. Although you’ll have your list of specific amenities and activities, asking this question of the staff may actually help identify more amenities you hadn’t considered -- amenities that could help you choose one independent living community for seniors over another one in Pensacola. 

Resident testimonials

Most independent living communities will take the time to understand you and your goals during the vetting process. Be sure to ask if you can talk to residents and get a feeling for life at that particular community. Since they’ve already taken the time to get to know you, exceptional independent living communities will even go the extra mile to introduce you to residents who share many of your preferences and hobbies. 

As a bonus, this part of the process may introduce you to the first new friends you make in your new independent living community!

Sample menus

We discussed food and dining above, but -- this is especially true if you have some particular likes and dislikes -- ask to see some sample menus from potential independent living communities so that you can get a feeling for the meals that are served. 

If you have allergies or other specific dining preferences, it’s a good idea to mention those during the vetting process as well. How a potential independent living community responds can give you an idea of how welcoming and accommodating they’ll be once you’re a resident (and of course, any independent living community should give the highest priority and attention to food allergies!). 

Continued health

Active seniors need a support system that empowers and encourages continued health. Be sure to ask about on-site fitness classes and equipment, and other initiatives that are designed to make it easy for you to invest in your continued health. 

Outdoor activities

Getting outside almost always makes you feel better. In fact, research shows that outdoor walks -- the easiest form of exercise for many -- can actually improve your brain health! It’s important to have an easy outlet for outdoor activities or even just sitting outside with a book. Don’t forget to ask about outdoor activities and offerings at a potential independent living community. 

On-site healthcare

It’s important to understand what happens in case of an emergency, and what healthcare options are available to you on-site at potential independent living communities. For example, here at Veranda of Pensacola, we have a nurse on site 24 hours a day for emergencies and wellness checks. We have routine visits from a variety of doctors, and offer on-site therapies for physical therapy, occupational therapy, and more. We provide transportation to and from medical appointments, and also offer emergency call buttons so that help is never far if you need it. 

4. Conclusion

IMG_1679

Finding the right independent living for seniors in Pensacola can have a dramatic impact on your retirement years. You deserve the benefits and stress-free living that come with the resort luxuries of a community like Veranda of Pensacola! 

You’ve created your lists and now you’re ready to take the first step - our team here at Veranda of Pensacola is here to help! We can answer any questions you may have, give you a tour, or provide any information you need to make the best decision for your needs. Resort-style retirement living is just a step away. To learn more about life at Veranda of Pensacola and schedule your tour, contact us today. 

MORE RESOURCES