Independent Living Information for Northern Virginia

Independent living communities are ideal for those who want to trade the responsibility of maintaining a home for a lifestyle of social and leisure activities.

Independent Living Information for Northern Virginia

What kind of care does Independent Living provide?

Independent living communities, also known as retirement communities, are age-restricted housing typically designed for seniors 55 and older. Residents live in their apartment or garden home but have access to various amenities, such as housekeeping, social activities, dining, transportation, and more. Since independent living is intended for largely self-sufficient seniors, independent living communities do not generally provide routine supervision or medical care to residents. Still, care services may be available on-site by independent care agencies.

In most cases, independent living can offer an adequate amount of support for individuals who do not need help with activities of daily living, such as dressing, bathing, and feeding, but can benefit from a senior-friendly environment with convenient services and increased social opportunities.

A growing number of seniors opt for independent living to avoid the challenges associated with maintaining a personal home or to enjoy greater companionship with peers. In Northern Virginia, some independent living communities are standalone properties. Still, many of them, like BrookdaleSunrise Senior Living, and Pacifica, have separate independent living wings co-located on properties that include assisted living and memory care, which allows a resident’s level of care to advance as their care needs change.

Independent living services generally include, but are not limited to:

  • Private or companion room/suite and utilities (gas, electric, water, sewer, and trash removal)
  • Housekeeping, laundry, and linen services
  • Dining/meal preparation
  • Social and recreational activities
  • Transportation
  • Varying amenities

How much does Independent Living cost in Northern Virginia?

The cost of assisted living in the Northern Virginia area varies depending on many factors, but the prices generally range from around $2,500 to $5,000 per month.

Some independent living communities require an up-front fee with monthly service fees, while others operate under month-to-month lease terms. Pricing for independent living is primarily based on the resident’s suite size and type, community amenities, and property location.

What types of Independent Living Communities are in Northern Virginia?

There are several types of independent living communities throughout Northern Virginia, from stand-alone homes to multi-level apartment complexes. These communities provide a wide range of services to meet the diverse needs of their seniors. The primary types of independent living communities in Northern Virginia include:

  • Continuing Care Retirement Communities (CCRCs), also known as life plan communities. If you and/or your partner are currently in fairly healthy condition, but substantial health issues are a likely possibility in the future, a CCRC could be an ideal senior housing option. These communities provide a continuum of care services, from independent living to memory care, all within the same community. For example, if a CCRC resident starts to require assistance with activities of daily living, they can transfer from independent living accommodations to assisted living care on the same campus. The central advantage of a CCRC is that seniors only have to relocate once, and then they can maintain their independence for as long as possible. By providing residents access to on-site higher-level care, CCRCs help residents maintain a stronger sense of security and stability.
  • Congregate housing, also known as senior apartments. These are apartment complexes with certain resident age constraints, often either 55 and older or 62 and older. In congregate housing, relatively healthy seniors live in private apartments but share common spaces, such as a fitness center, dining room, and various amenities/services with other residents. This housing structure aims to provide older adults with a lifestyle of independence while also offering them assistance with non-medical tasks, like cooking and cleaning. The rent for congregate housing (commonly paid monthly) generally covers community amenities and services, such as transportation services, recreational programs, community maintenance, and daily meal services. This type of senior housing does not offer 24/7 care services like assisted living and memory care communities.
  • Retirement communities, also known as active adult communities. This type of independent living consists of housing units that are limited to older adults within a specific age group, typically either 55 and older or 62 and older. These housing units are generally condominiums, townhouses, duplexes, single-family homes, or mobile homes. Retirement community residents purchase and own their housing unit, but pay additional monthly fees to cover community services and amenities, such as clubhouses, pools, lawn and landscape maintenance, recreation centers, etc. These senior housing communities are predominantly private, and they are often situated in upscale neighborhoods designed and developed with active retirees in mind. While retirement communities are usually their own neighborhood, some are located within larger planned communities, including single-family homes and townhomes, while others are adjoined by a Continuing Care Retirement Community campus.
  • Section 202 Supportive Housing, also known as Section 8 and low-income housing. Section 202 housing expands the availability of affordable housing with supportive services for seniors by providing housing units subsidized by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). Designed for low-income households comprised of at least one individual who is 62 years or older at the time of initial occupancy, this type of senior housing provides subsidies that allow residents to only pay 30% of their adjusted income to cover the rent and included utilities. HUD adjusts the annual income limits for Section 202 housing using the most current data available on local area incomes. The primary benefit of Section 202 housing is that it allows low-income seniors to live independently in an environment that affords them access to important support services, such as meal preparation, housekeeping, transportation, recreation services, etc.

Are there Independent Living resources in Northern Virginia?

National Center for Health Statistics 800-232-4636
The National Center for Health Statistics delivers comprehensive health data and tools related to, among others, providers and patients of long-term care, including home health care, nursing home care, and residential care communities.
Office for Disability Programs
The Office for Disability Programs offers programs that provide a wide range of services to people with disabilities to improve independent living opportunities. These programs include technical assistance and consultation in accessing community-based services, personal assistive services, assistive technology, Medicaid, and more.
Centers for Independent Living
The Centers for Independent Living (CILs) are non-residential places of action and partnership designed and operated by individuals with disabilities. CILs collaborate with people to support independence and leadership, comprehensively working with local communities to eliminate independence obstacles and provide core services in subjects like advocacy, peer counselling, independent living skills training, and more.
Virginia Department for Aging and Rehabilitative Services
The Virginia Department for Aging and Rehabilitative Services provides various free services, including Adult Services and Adult Protective Services. The professional counsellors are trained to provide advice for various senior-related topics, such as long-term care insurance, Medicare and Medicare Advantage plans, and prescription drug counselling.
Virginia’s Office for Aging Services
Virginia’s Office for Aging Services (OAS) provides a wide range of senior programs and resources, including free Senior Legal Services, Senior Health Insurance Counseling, and many others. OAS also organizes various activities, services, and initiatives to support seniors, individuals with disabilities, and their families and care partners.
Virginia Association of Area Agencies on Aging
The Virginia Association of Area Agencies on Aging operates five local Agencies on Aging in the Northern Virginia area, including Alexandria, Arlington, Fairfax, Loudoun, and Prince William. These agencies provide a wide range of services for seniors, including meal services, case management, and transportation.
Virginia Department of Veterans Services
The Virginia Department of Veterans Services (DVS) provides eligible Veterans and their spouses with access to federal and state benefits that may help them afford certain long-term care services. Along with providing referrals, the DVS can assist Veterans in applying for Aid and Attendance benefits or the VA pension.
Virginia 211
Virginia 211 is a free service that helps seniors and caregivers connect with local resources, such as non-medical transportation, nutritional programs, legal services, and case management. Individuals can call the toll-free number to speak with trained professionals who provide recommendations for local services and organizations based on their specific needs.

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