Colorado Independent Living
Colorado is home to a population with about 885,000 aging adults 65 years or older. That is nearly 15% of the state’s overall population. There are excellent tax exemptions which increase Colorado’s appeal, and that is not to the mention the beautiful outdoors offering activities of all kinds for everyone. Colorado promotes a healthy lifestyle for residents, with easy access to things like hikes, stunning waterfalls, exotic bluffs and rock arrangements, and a cuisine that leans toward the healthy. As seniors age and want to reduce the stress of home ownership, they want to simplify their lives. When most people think of senior living and housing they often envision nursing homes. This couldn’t be further from the truth. There are several other senior living options aside from a nursing home. Independent Living Communities in Colorado are ideal for the seniors and retirees in Colorado who wish to maintain their independence without the stress of home maintenance.
There are over 500 senior care and living communities and facilities in Colorado, spread throughout the state in the well-known cities like Denver, Boulder, Aspen, Fort Collins, Pueblo, Grand Junction, Colorado Springs, and many others.
- Colorado Independent Living
- Who are the ideal residents for independent living communities?
- What makes independent living communities in Colorado different from other types of senior living?
- Housing in Colorado independent living
- What is the cost of Colorado independent living?
Independent Living Communities are all different. Some have traditional offerings and there are some communities that present new ideas and strategies to enhance the comfort of residents.
Who are the ideal residents for independent living communities?
The typical people interested in Independent Living require little to no assistance in daily life. They most likely want to preserve their social interactions with others, and they like the peace of mind that comes with no yard maintenance and housekeeping.
To promote safety, most communities offer 24-hour security or a call system to reach staff or a manager. Management and staff are there to promote a safe and secure environment because the well-being of residents is priority number one.
What makes independent living communities in Colorado different from other types of senior living?
Independent living communities accommodate residents with fully equipped private apartments or cottages, and because residents live on their own terms, independent living communities do not assist with activities of daily living, such as dressing, bathing, and medication reminders, like you may receive in a nursing home.
However, they may offer amenities such as housekeeping, linen services, transportation and social and recreational activities, included for an additional charge. Independent living may also be called Retirement living or Senior living.
Independent living communities may offer desirable services for residents
Independent Living and Retirement Communities are all different. Some have traditional offerings such as yard and home maintenance, while others offer new ideas and strategies to enhance the comfort of residents. “Life Plan Communities” offer a full campus of different healthcare levels, starting with Independent Living.
Services you may find in independent living
Meal Plans– This could be a community kitchen to prepare your own meals, flexible spending accounts, up to three meals each day. Some newer communities may even offer a restaurant, open to the public.
Housekeeping– May be offered as an additional fee or included in the base rent.
Transportation– May be an option, including regular scheduled trips to the grocery or nearby stores.
Linen service – Services may be offered for an additional fee or included in the base rent.
Activities– Some events may be run by residents with no staff involvement. Or a community may have a staff member plan, schedule and lead activities.
Amenities you may find in independent living
Amenities at an Independent Living Community can vary greatly. Typically the more available amenities, the higher the monthly rate. Most Independent Living communities offer excellent ways for people to stay social and build relationships with their peers in common areas or at a clubhouse on-site. Planned life enrichment opportunities could be: entertainment and performers, arts and crafts, game nights, movie nights, cocktail hour, bus trips and other outings.
Amenities at an Independent Living Community can vary greatly. Typically the more the amenities, the higher the monthly rate. Learning about what amenities are offered and comparing them to the desires of your loved one will go a long way toward finding the perfect fit. Offered amenities may include:
- Recreational center or a clubhouse on-site.
- The type and variety of meals provided.
- Swimming pools, steam room or sauna.
- Sports facilities where residents can play bocce ball, racketball and tennis.
- Trails for walking.
- Covered parking.
- Theater, library or billiards room.
Some independent living communities in Colorado may have a golf course. Other services may be on-site spas, beauty salons and barbers. You will not find accommodations like these in nursing homes.
To promote socialization, independent living communities offer a plethora of other benefits
- Common areas that allow people to socialize as they wish. Their time is their time.
- Organized events which give residents the opportunity to engage in social activities on premises and or in a nearby town.
- Dining rooms with plenty of meal options. Because of the needs and desires of each individual resident, most independent living communities have great choices for everyone.
- Friends and family can visit anytime.
- Residents have autonomy to make their own decisions as far as coming and going.
- Independent living communities may offer amenities such as libraries and computer rooms; fitness centers and exercise classes.
- Some communities allow cats and small and medium sized dogs.
Because residents in an Independent Living community are healthy and live independently, most do not offer medical or nursing care like you will receive in a nursing home. However, some communities may have a contracted agency on site to provide scheduled assistance for Activities of daily living if needed. These home care agencies would provide services for an additional cost. Residents have the option of how to approach their medical care as needed and they may choose to bring on in-home nursing or care as they so choose.
Housing in Colorado independent living
In addition to reducing household responsibilities, these communities offer great living options for residents such as:
- Studio apartments
- One-bedroom apartments
- Spacious two-bedroom apartments
- And other stand-alone structures
To promote safety, many communities offer on site staff or a call system to reach staff or a manager. Management and staff are there to promote a safe and secure environment because the well-being of residents is priority number one.
What is the cost of Colorado independent living?
The cost of an independent living community in Colorado ($3,100) is relatively similar to the national average ($2,950) Within the state itself, Boulder is the most expensive city for independent living at nearly $4,100 per month; Pueblo is on the much lower end of cost at $2,500 per month.
- National average per month: $2,950
- Colorado: $3,100
- Boulder: $4,100
- Denver $3,800
- Grand Junction: $2,800
- Pueblo: $2,500
The cost on independent living is generally less expensive on a base scale than other senior living. Assisted living and Nursing homes tend to be more expensive per month because of the required care of residents.
Paying for Independent Living, what resources are available to help?
Private Funds- YES: Most families pay for independent living with private funds. Private pay can be a combination of retirement funds, personal savings, and pension payments. Family members may also contribute funds toward a loved one’s care.
Tax Credit, section 202, HUD housing -MAYBE:
- Occupancy in Section 202 housing is open to any very low-income household comprised of at least one person who is at least 62 years old at the time of initial occupancy.
- The Section 202 program helps expand the supply of affordable housing with supportive services for the elderly. It provides very low-income elderly with options that allow them to live independently but in an environment that provides support activities such as cleaning, cooking, transportation, etc. The program is similar to Supportive Housing for Persons with Disabilities (Section 811).
Veterans Aid & Attendance -MAYBE:
- Veteran aid and attendance allow veterans to receive financial benefits.
- A single veteran may qualify for as much as $2,050 a month in benefits.
- A veteran with a spouse may qualify for as much as $2,430 per month.
- A well veteran with an ill spouse may qualify for as much as $1,600 per month.
- A surviving spouse may qualify for $1,300 a month.
Long-term Care Insurance- NOT TYPICALLY: This type of insurance does cover independent living communities because the policy owner will typically need assistance with Activities of Daily living to start the claim process. This care level is not typically offered by the Independent Living Provider. Typically, long-term care insurance will only help off-set costs related to care provided by a licensed provider, and not rent fees or meal expenses.
Standard medical insurance- NO: Health Insurance does NOT cover independent living communities because there are no direct medical treatments and services involved.
Medicare- NO: Medicare does not cover independent living, and rarely pays for assisted living level of care. Medicare’s main function is the coverage of certain expenses like short-term care, and rehabilitation depending on eligibility.
Medicaid- NO: Medicaid does not cover independent living. Most state medicaid plans require a care need to be present, such as dressing assistance, bathing assistance, cognitive impairment, etc.
Questions to ask when looking for Independent Living
- Does the community or facility have the right atmosphere for your needs?
- May I visit the community today?
- Who are the residents?
- What is the food like? Are residents happy with the food options?
- What are the transportation options?
- What amenities and activities are available?
- What are the costs for extra amenities?
- Does the facility have the right atmosphere for your needs?
- Make sure the facility is clean and well maintained. You can tell a lot about the operation by noting What is clean and maintained. Are doorknobs loose or damaged? Do you see any frayed carpet or trip hazards?
- Visit during lunch hour to observe what the residents are eating. Ask questions about the nutrition program. Is there diversity in meals, healthy fruits and vegetables served at all meals, drink options?
- Speak to residents and/or family members to learn their perspective.
- Ask about staff and resident engagement. Get a feel for how staff interact with residents.
- Ask about the life enrichment programs. Activities are crucial when it comes to quality of life and play a key role in care for older adults.
- And finally (there is a plethora of more things to consider), get to know the leadership in the building. If you feel good around the executive director, head nurse, lead activities director and even the chef or janitor, it is a good sign you can trust them with the care of your loved one.
Find the Senior Care You’re Looking For
Local Resources and Links – Colorado
Area Agency on Aging Boulder County offers services to adults 60 and over and their adult caregivers. They also provide assistance to Medicare beneficiaries and residents of any age who live in a long-term care facility. Provides information, referral, and options counseling to anyone 18 or older with a disability as well as to older adults through the Aging and Disability Resource for Colorado program. Legal assistance is offered via one of our contractors, not directly.
Denver Regional Council of Governments Provides information and assistance for people 60 and older or 18-plus with a disability, their families, and service providers. Referrals to local resources and services.
Larimer County Office on Aging The Larimer County Office on Aging LCOA provides Information and Referral through the ADRC, Title III services including In Home Services Voucher, Chore Voucher, Respite Voucher, application assistance and options counseling. Additional services include grant management and long term care ombudsman program community education and key member of the Partnership for Age Friendly Communities in Larimer County.
Park County Department of Human Services Adult Protection Services (APS) are provided to at-risk adults age 18 and older who, due to age or disability, are unable to protect themselves and have no one to advocate on their behalf. The Adult Protection program responds to reports of Abuse (physical or sexual), Neglect (caregiver or self), and Financial Exploitation.
Pikes Peak Area Council of Governments PPACG serves as the Area Agency on Aging for Colorado Springs and provides programs and services for older adults and their caregivers. A person must be 60 years of age or older to be eligible for a service provided by the Older Americans Act (OAA).
Disability Law Colorado offers legal representation, information and referrals to people with disabilities, older people, and their families.
Eldercare Locator This is a great resource to search for specific care in specific counties and cities. This database is a nationwide resource that connects older Americans and their caregivers with trustworthy local support resources. Connect with services such as meals, home care or transportation, or a caregiver education or respite from caregiving responsibilities. The Eldercare Locator is a public service of the Administration on Aging (AoA), an agency of the U.S. Administration for Community Living.
Medicare provides a search feature to find & compare providers near you, most senior housing and care providers are included on CareAvailability.com. Find & compare plans in your area. Determine if you qualify for premium savings
Medicaid offers information on how to apply for Medicaid, eligibility criteria, links to local state offices, and additional resources
The Alzheimer’s Association is the leading voluntary health organization in Alzheimer’s care, support, and research. Whether you are living with Alzheimer’s or caring for someone with the disease, information and resources are available.
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