Senior Living Chain Developing Assisted & Independent Living Hybrid

For many seniors, leaving long-time homes to transition into a retirement community can introduce emotional distress as they adapt to new lifestyle changes, but a Gulf Coast developer is attempting to ensure a seamless transition for residents by implementing a hybrid senior living model.

A Florida senior living community, Autumn of Sarasota, will introduce the “I-Lite” concept, described by Autumn Senior Living’s CEO Jim Soper as a hybrid between assisted living and independent living. 

An important feature of the brand’s “I-Lite,” Soper says, is residents’ ability to maintain the lifestyles they lived before moving into an Autumn community, as a way to ease the transitioning process. 


“What we’re doing is rather than having the residents move to the services, we are moving the services to the residents,” says Soper. 

Autumn’s “I-Lite” model allows residents the freedom of independent living while offering all the services of assisted living, which Soper refers to as “better living by design.”

Concepts of the model include 24-hour meal service in a dining room that will feature booths and tables to lend to a restaurant—rather than cafeteria—feel, along with a movie theater, an on-site pharmacy, and a therapy pool. The planned Sarasota community will also feature GPS-like technology that uses radio frequency ID (RFID) wristbands to track when residents enter and exit rooms. 


The company’s CEO is dedicated to living in recently-opened communities until they reaches full occupancy—even if it’s a months-long process. Soper, who has been active in assisted living in Florida for over 25 years, says he developed the idea of “I-Lite” after observing shifting movements within continuing care retirement communities (CCRCs) and independent and assisted living communities.

The concept of “I-Lite” is where he sees the market moving, Soper tells SHN. 

“People don’t want to move to smaller, more confined places because of a medical issue,” he said. “We are dealing with a very educated clientele. Individuals are seeing that they have a choice in where they want to age.”

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Autumn of Sarasota, a $65 million development, is expected to break ground in the first quarter of 2013. Phase One of the project will include 80 residences dedicated for those with memory care needs will open during first quarter 2014. Following this phase, the community looks to expand with 240 additional independent living units that will feature the “I-Lite” hybrid model. 

Other upcoming projects include Seasons Bellaire, Seasons Largo, and Seasons Northdale. 

Written by Jason Oliva