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What to Look for in an Independent Living Community

Seniors socializing and playing chess together

You’re at a time in life when you deserve to kick back and enjoy whatever makes you happy. Instead of dealing with to-do lists, you’re ready to give that bucket list a try. Often when seniors get to this point, they begin to explore moving to an independent living community. They don’t see the move as a last chapter – they view it as a chance to write a whole new book with exciting, carefree experiences.

Independent living in a senior community offers all kinds of advantages. Residences are designed with aging needs in mind, such as wider doorways, one-story floor plans, safety features in the bathrooms, and much more. They also feature plenty of conveniences and services to take the hassle out of daily living. 

And just outside your front door, there are even more reasons to make the move. The best senior communities – like The Moorings of Arlington Heights near Chicago, Illinois, and the other independent living communities managed by Presbyterian Homes – also provide numerous programs, classes, and events that encourage residents to stay active, engaged, and lead a full, healthy life.

But how do you know which independent living community is right for you? Here are some key considerations to keep in mind as you search.

Location Considerations

First and foremost, you’ll need to decide whether you want to remain in your current area or move to a new city. Everyone has a different definition of the perfect location, so take time to think through and list all  your priorities. Do you want to be within a short drive of children and grandchildren? Is walkability to shops and conveniences important? Would you love to be near water or beaches? For some, it’s essential to be close to dining, shopping and entertainment venues. As you consider the location of each senior living community, keep your personal preferences in mind.

Living Options

Living needs typically evolve as we age, especially for those who still live in the family home. Certain rooms get a lot of use; others just gather dust. Recognizing that your preferences and needs may be different these days is a very good reason to explore the advantages of a senior living community. Among the three beautiful communities in the Presbyterian Homes family, there are a variety of independent living options to choose from. You’ll find one- and two-bedroom apartments with spacious open floor plans, as well as beautifully appointed patio homes, villas, and cottages. Whether your priority is lots of room for entertaining, plenty of closet space, a private garage, a balcony, or all of the above, there’s no need to compromise on your idea of the perfect residence.


When you think of the amenities at a senior living community, picture the best of what you’d find at a resort, in a fitness club, at your local community center, in a beautiful city park, and at a fine country club, all right outside your door. As you research your options, consider three questions:

  • What are the dining choices? The best senior living communities, like those in the Presbyterian Homes group, typically boast multiple dining venues. At The Moorings of  Arlington Heights, for example, you can eat in the formal dining room or the more casual Garden Room; meet friends in the cocktail lounge or opt for takeout or delivery. For special occasions, there are two private event dining rooms and catering available.
  • Is the community maintenance-free? A carefree lifestyle is all about you having the freedom to do the fun stuff, while someone else handles meal planning and preparation, interior/exterior maintenance, housekeeping, laundry, and even advanced care planning if the need arises. That is the essence of a lock-and-leave senior living community, and something you definitely deserve!
  • What conveniences and amenities are available? Think how nice it would be to have a beauty salon and barbershop right on campus. Many, but not all, independent living communities have them. Look for conveniences like complimentary shuttle service. If you have or want a pet, ask if the community is pet-friendly. Look at the options for staying fit (fitness center, walking trails, pool) and review the activities calendar (classes, speakers, entertainment).

Care Considerations

While you may not need advanced care now, as you age, there may come a time where you require it. In a Life Plan Community, that care can be arranged and delivered right on campus. 

For example, in Illinois, The Moorings of Arlington Heights, Westminster Place, and Lake Forest Place, each offer a continuum of care, from Independent Living to Assisted Living, Skilled Nursing Care, Memory Care, Rehabilitation Services, and Respite Care. 

Just as important is exploring the staff-to-resident ratio and types of nursing professionals on staff, especially when it comes to higher levels of care. After all, the care is only as good as the level of excellence and compassion of the people who provide it.


Once you’ve compiled your top choices, take time to research the reputation of the senior living communities you’re considering. Talk to friends and colleagues. Carefully browse each community’s websites for details about features, amenities and more. Take time to read online reviews. Hopefully you’ll discover that your feelings match up nicely to what you hear and read about the communities that appeal to you.

Firsthand Impressions

Of course, the most important part of choosing an independent living community is taking a tour. This is your opportunity to observe everything from general cleanliness and staff friendliness to security and safety features like lighting, railings, and even how the front desk operates  when guests visit. Above all, don’t be shy about speaking to residents – and be sure to ask to have a meal in the dining room. If possible, visit the campus more than once, and at different times during the day, to learn more about it. Trust your instincts. If it feels like a place that you could call home, it could be the perfect place for the next big chapter of your life.

See How Life Gets Even Better Living in Our Communities.

For more information about Presbyterian Homes’ three independent living communities near Chicago, Illinois, contact us today or schedule a tour to see for yourself all the amazing services and amenities our communities have to offer. To get started, simply complete the request form and we’ll be in touch with you shortly. We look forward to meeting you soon!