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What’s the Difference Between Independent Living vs. 55 Plus Communities?

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Group of seniors sitting around a table and laughing.

Senior living options have come a long way over the years, and there are now plenty of options available. If you’re looking for a new home, you may consider 2 common options: independent living or 55+ communities. While each option is excellent, they do have some key differences.

A 55+ community is an age-restricted residential neighborhood designed for adults over 55. Residents may own their homes, and the communities may offer fitness centers, clubhouses, and organized social activities, among other amenities. 

Independent living refers to a lifestyle option offered by senior living communities. Residents usually rent their apartments or condos and have access to on-site services designed to improve their quality of life. Senior living communities may also offer other levels of care (like assisted living or memory care), so if you want to age in place, you can. 

What Is a 55 Plus Community?

Think of a 55+ community like a typical neighborhood, but specifically designed for retired adults over 55. Everything from floor plans to community amenities is designed with older adults in mind. 

These communities focus on being accessible and supportive while providing older adults a maintenance-free lifestyle surrounded by peers of a similar age.

55+ communities typically offer:

  • Maintenance-free residences
  • Community activities, events, clubs, and classes
  • Access to amenities, like fitness centers and clubhouses
  • Security patrols or gated entrances
  • Easy access to healthcare
  • Transportation services and shuttles

Most 55+ communities offer lawn care and housekeeping, for additional fees, but they aren’t mandatory. The communities tend to offer single-family homes, condos, or townhouses depending on the area, letting seniors choose the right living situation for their desired life!

Who Should Live in a 55+ Community?

The age restrictions for 55+ communities are governed by the 1995 Housing for Older Persons Act (HOPA). According to HOPA, once at least 80% of the units in a community are occupied by individuals aged 55 or older, it qualifies as a 55+ community. Spouses or partners who are younger than 55 are usually allowed to live in these communities as long as one member of the household meets the age requirement.

Different 55+ communities may have specific guidelines and regulations regarding age restrictions, so it’s advisable to research and inquire with individual communities to understand their specific requirements.

These communities are best suited for active, healthy individuals who don’t require long-term care or assistance. They promote independence, peace, and routine. So, if this sounds ideal for you or a loved one, these communities may be the right choice.

What Is Independent Living?

Independent living is a level of senior living care that focuses on providing a healthy balance of independence and support. Instead of townhouses or private houses, residents live in private apartments or condos and have access to on-site services like:

  • Housekeeping and laundry
  • Meals served in a communal dining area
  • Health and wellness programs
  • Social activities and events
  • Transportation services
  • On-site staff for immediate assistance
  • Emergency call systems in each apartment.

These amenities and services aim to create a worry-free lifestyle for seniors while allowing them to live independently and engage with their community. Residents and their families also gain peace of mind, knowing their loved ones can access emergency help and security if something happens.

Mature husband and wife sitting on a couch and luaghing.

Who Should Live in Independent Living?

Independent living is an excellent choice for individuals who are still active and independent but may need minimal help with daily tasks. Because these communities offer access to services like housekeeping, laundry, and transportation, they can be a good choice for older adults looking to live in a community setting but want to make their day-to-day life much easier.

Independent living communities can be particularly beneficial for those who love socializing and being part of an engaged community. These communities tend to offer a wide range of amenities, like:

  • Fitness centers and wellness programs
  • Art and craft rooms for creative expression
  • Library and reading rooms for quiet time
  • Game rooms for community interaction
  • Gardens and outdoor spaces for fresh air
  • Scheduled group activities and outings

So, if you or a loved one are considering independent living, contact the community to schedule a tour and learn more.

Should I Try Independent Living?

Independent living can be an excellent choice for those looking to simplify their lives and enjoy retirement. Here at Arcadia at Limerick Point, our residents enjoy access to various amenities and programs for a worry-free retirement and focus on their passions and interests. Book a tour today to see how independent living can enhance your quality of life!

Written by Arcadia Limerick Pointe

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