Part 2 of How to Choose the Right Independent Living Community

Now that you have decided an independent living community is right for you, here are some things to consider when you visit different communities:

The People
You should get an understanding for the people who live there and what they are like. Talk to the residents and staff and see if they are friendly. Do the residents seem truly independent and do you share some of their same hobbies and interests? You want to know if these potential neighbors are people you will want over for dinner!

The Place
Decide if you prefer a small, quiet community or a large, bustling one. There are some communities in large apartment-like buildings and some in quaint gated communities. If you’ve only ever lived in a house, will an apartment on the 10th floor make you feel confined? Make sure to take note of the space residents have in their unit. Notice if there is adequate room for guests, storage, stairs, ramps, etc. Also, is it pet friendly? What are the restrictions, if any, for little things like displaying the American flag on holidays? Parking a motor home in the drive way?

The Location
Prioritize what is important to near you. Are you close to friends and family? Do you feel safe in the neighborhood? How far are your doctors and/or hospital? If you like to go out on the town or enjoy nature, where are the nearest shopping centers, restaurants, parks, or theater? Are you within walking distance to any grocery stores or pharmacies? Is there a gym in the community or one close by?

The Things to Do
Since you will be spending a majority of your time in this community, make sure there are plenty of activities or people who want to do activities! Is there a recreational center? A common area? Is there a reading group? Are there clubs or leagues to join? A golf group? Are there residents who like to ride bikes? Go to the beach? Travel? Bird watch?

The Costs
Check to see if costs are in line with the market prices of similar housing in that region. Sometimes there can be shared costs like common utilities, taxes, and community services, while other services like housekeeping are usually additional.

Low income seniors can find subsidized programs through the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.

Here are some costs to consider when researching independent living communities. Ask if they’re included:

  • Waiting list deposit
  • Move-in fee
  • Initial assessment fee
  • Housekeeping
  • Laundry
  • Meals
  • Cable TV
  • Utilities
  • Private phone
  • Transportation
  • Internet access
  • Parking
  • Field trips
  • Wellness program

Additional questions to ask:

  • Is there a pet deposit?
  • What are the billing and payment options?
  • What is the policy for fee increases?
  • Is personal property insurance required?

Moving can be a daunting experience, but my team and I can help you through this process. We walk you through every step of the process from helping you pick a community to packing your stuff to moving you in! If needed, we even will help sell your home! We know that any transition can be difficult, but we are here for you!

IMPORTANT: If you live an area we don’t serve, we will help you find a company that does just what we do. Also, if you need to SELL your home, we will find you a “Senior Certified Real Estate Specialist” to help in that area as well. You don’t want to work with just any agent, make sure they know how to deal with your specific needs. It is nice to know that you are working with an agent who is adverse in the needs of our senior community. We will do the interviewing for you should you need service outside of our area. 

Feel free to contact me at or (888) 436-1286 to find out how I can help you!

Julie Cosgrove

Senior Certified Real Estate Specialist (SRES), Member of National Association of Senior Move Managers (NASMM) Certified Luxury Home Specialist. 


How to Choose the Right Independent Living Community

So you are at a point in your life where the home you raised your children in has become harder and harder for you to maintain and it no longer brings you the joy it once did when it was filled with laughter, family and many friends.  More than that you no longer have the desire to weed the flowerbeds, lug the vacuum upstairs, have the dinner parties that you once used to have.  Most of all your old neighbors have moved on and the new ones don’t even know who you are or that you were one of the first owners in that neighborhood.

But you keep saying to yourself that memories of this place stretch your entire adult life. Your kids took their first steps in the living room. You took their high school graduation pictures in the front yard. Your grand kids love playing in the oak-shaded back yard.

To make a decision to move into something more manageable is not easy at first.  It is a lot of mental anguish but you know in your heart that a new life in something smaller could be a big weight lifted off your shoulders.  It is a very freeing experience.

Knowing that the first step is making the decision to move, the 2nd step is equally as important because it could affect the rest of your life.  I will try to help you make the selecting process to move to an independent living community a little clearer and a guide to help you in that process.

First of all, what is an Independent Living Community? 
Simply put, it’s a community for active, healthy seniors who are able to live on their own. You can live in a home, townhouse, condo, and even a mobile home or motor home. You can own or rent or live as part of a cooperative. Think of it like living in your old neighborhood except these communities have age restrictions—usually over 55—and many offer amenities like clubhouses, gyms, yard maintenance, housekeeping and security.

Independent living communities also typically offer transportation, laundry service, group meals, and social and cultural activities.

Is Independent Living Right for Me?
You can’t read the future, but you’re healthy right now. You’d like to be around your peers. You value security. You like your independence but don’t want to bother with some tasks like yard work and housekeeping. This is a start. Let’s look at some other things to consider when selecting an independent living community.

How to Select the Right Community?
What are some things you just won’t compromise on? E.g. size of home, location of community, distance to family, etc. Make a list.

Watch for Part 2 of How to Choose the right Independent Living Community

If you are ready to get started and want more information on how I can help you. Feel free to fill out the form below or directly contact me at or (209) 298-0252.

Julie Cosgrove

Senior Certified Real Estate Specialist (SRES), Member of National Association of Senior Move Managers (NASMM)