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What Are the Requirements for Independent Living?

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A female nurse and a female independent living patient talking together in the patient's room

As you get older, you may start thinking about your next steps when it comes to housing and your lifestyle. Caring for a home and property may not seem as fulfilling as it once did, and you may begin to feel an aspiration for more community and social interaction.

Independent living offers the chance to access amenities and services you would otherwise not be able to use while pursuing the parts of your life that bring you the most joy. Feel like golfing today? You can do that. Want to volunteer your time to help others? Let’s go! 

Independent living is a highly desirable lifestyle as you enter a different season of life. But it’s essential to understand when and how you can access independent living to pursue the lifestyle you’ve dreamed about.

What is Independent Living?

Independent living is a type of senior community where residents are mainly able to care for themselves and carry on with daily activities by themselves with little need for assistance. Independent living offers a sense of community with events, health & wellness activities, and more to add vibrancy to residents’ lives.

Community members in independent living communities enjoy the freedom to pursue their passions without the burden of daily chores and home ownership. Whether getting together with other community members to play games or volunteering your time to serve others, independent living provides a wealth of opportunities no matter what you’re looking for.

A female nurse walking with a senior citizen woman down a hallway

How Old Do I Have to Be?

Under the federal government’s Fair Housing Act, people cannot be denied housing based on various factors, including race, color, religion, sex, national origin, handicap, and familial status. The Fair Housing Act does not list age as prohibited grounds for denial.

Senior living homes are exempt from some aspects of the Fair Housing Act based on requirements detailed explicitly in the legislation. The “55 and older” exemption is one of the most common. Under this exemption, senior living communities can require residents to be at least the age of 55 to live there.

To qualify for the exemption, at least 80% of the units in the community must have one resident who is 55 or older. For example, if you are 55 and your spouse is younger, you can still live in the community together since one resident is at least 55.

How Much Do I Need to Pay?

In Tennessee, independent living is generally considered one of the most affordable options for senior living. Costs are lower since most residents don’t require the level of care needed in assisted living or memory care communities.

How much you pay also depends on the type of accommodation you’re looking for. Some residents choose to live in apartments, which are smaller and close to all the amenities and services they like. Other residents prefer to live in villas, which provide all the benefits and independence of living in a house without any of the maintenance requirements.

Do I Need to Be Fully Independent?

The short answer to this question is no. As we get older, we understand that we may not be able to complete daily tasks. Alternatively, a person’s ability to live without assistance may diminish while staying in an independent living community.

You may choose to access services to make life a little easier while in an independent living community. Some optional services include:

  • Bathing assistance
  • Medication reminders
  • Laundry service
  • Housekeeping
  • Medical & wellness services

Other care packages include on-site therapy, podiatrist home visits, and nurse practitioner home visits. You don’t need to be completely independent to live independently—caring staff are dedicated to making your life as comfortable and fulfilling as possible.

Discover The Villages at the River Club

If you’re seeking independent living options in Tennessee, look no further than The Villages at the River Club. Our community is situated on a picturesque golf course (including a free membership), full activity calendars, weekly transportation to appointments and grocery shopping, and more. The life you’ve been dreaming of starts here. Now that you understand the requirements for independent living, you can get in touch with our team and book a tour of our wonderful community to discover all its benefits.

Written by Lisa Klasen

“It gives me pleasure to help our residents live a life of independence, love, and joy here in our community.”

Lisa has lived in Clarksville for over 10 years and is originally from the Nashville area. She went to college at Central Michigan University, where she graduated with a liberal arts degree (psychology major).

Lisa has an eclectic work background and started her career in the human resources/training/development arena for several service-oriented companies such as Hyatt Hotels and The Forum Group (Senior Living Communities). Later in her career, she switched to real estate sales for local custom home builders for about 15 years in Indiana and Tennessee. Recently, Lisa has worked as a sales and marketing director for a local independent living community, a skilled nursing facility, and an assisted living/memory care facility.

She lives with her 4 “boys”: 2 dogs and 2 cats. She still holds her real estate license and also does professional photography during her time away from The Villages. She hopes to use her photography skills to market our beautiful building and wonderful family of residents and staff here. She looks forward to getting to know everyone!

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