As you approach retirement, the array of housing options available can seem overwhelming. Two of the most popular choices among older adults are independent living communities and active adult communities. Both offer vibrant, engaging lifestyles but cater to different needs. So, how do you know which is the right option for your unique lifestyle?

Understanding the distinctions between these senior living options will help you and your family make an informed decision that aligns with the fulfilling lifestyle you always dreamed of enjoying. Let’s dive right in.

What is Independent Living?

Independent living communities are designed for seniors who can manage their daily activities without assistance but are looking for convenience, ease, and an enhanced social life. These communities typically offer apartments or cottages and a suite of amenities such as meal services, housekeeping, maintenance, transportation, and security.

Residents of independent living communities can expect a carefree lifestyle without worrying about the burdens of home maintenance. These communities often feature a rich calendar of social events, educational programs, and hobby classes, along with wellness and fitness programs tailored to their abilities and preferences. The goal of an award-winning independent living community is to provide a comfortable, safe and engaging environment that respects the independence of each resident while offering all of the luxurious amenities that make life more enjoyable.

What Are Active Adult Communities?

Active adult communities, often restricted to those 55 and older, cater to active seniors who do not require assistance and prefer to do more on their own. These communities are typically made up of single-family homes, condos, or townhouses that residents can purchase or rent. While some active adult communities offer amenities like landscaping and clubhouse amenities, they generally do not include healthcare services or meal plans.

The lifestyle in active adult communities is centered around being physically and socially active. Residents can enjoy various benefits such as having golf courses nearby, fitness centers, areas for social gatherings, and sometimes even business centers. The emphasis is on a lifestyle that supports health and wellness without the added support found in independent living communities.

Key Differences Between Independent Living and Active Adult Communities

Services and Amenities

The most significant difference lies in the range of services and amenities offered. Independent living communities provide comprehensive plans designed to make life as comfortable and hassle-free as possible, including dining programs, personalized fitness programs, transportation, and organized social activities. In contrast, active adult communities typically offer fewer services and place more responsibility on the resident to maintain their lifestyle.

Lifestyle and Social Opportunities

Both senior living options offer rich opportunities for social engagement; however, independent living communities usually have a more structured approach. They provide a variety of programmed events, classes, and clubs. Active adult communities offer facilities and organize some events but residents may need to take more initiative to participate, plan and engage socially.

Cost Considerations

Due to the extensive services that are available, independent living communities typically cost more per month than active adult communities. However, the higher cost includes the convenience, services, and lifestyle enrichment these communities provide. Also typically included are on-site healthcare and wellness programs, which can be particularly valuable to residents as they age.

Why Choose Independent Living?

Deciding on an independent living community near you means opting for a lifestyle that not only meets your current needs but also anticipates future ones, with flexible plans that adapt without hidden or surprise fees. This choice is especially prudent for those who foresee wanting to easily transition into different levels of care, such as assisted living and memory care, as their needs change over time without having to move away from a community they have grown to love.

The cost, while higher, includes a full suite of amenities and services that ensure you don’t have to stress over typical homeownership hassles like yard work, meal prepping or house maintenance, and can instead focus on enjoying retirement to the fullest. 

The decision between independent living and active adult communities depends largely on your personal needs and future planning considerations. If you value having a wide range of benefits and life-long friends at your fingertips as well as seek social, educational, and recreational activities organized just for you, then a lifestyle with a premium independent living provider like The Arbor Company will be one you truly cherish for many years to come. 

Allow our dedicated team members to answer questions, comments or concerns you may have about independent living by contacting us at any time or booking a tour. We look forward to warmly welcoming you and your family!

Begin Your Senior Living Journey with Arbor

Begin Your Senior Living Journey with Arbor

Find a Community