Independent Living Communities, also known as Active Lifestyle Communities, Retirement Communities and Senior Living Communities, is ideal for individuals who are active and who can still live independently, but prefer some assistance in home upkeep, chores and provide their residents with convenient access to dining, medical care, entertainment and more. Community layouts vary widely, from apartment-style living to freestanding homes. The independent living lifestyle offers residents a safe living environment, but with minimal assistance. Built to accommodate an active senior lifestyle, many communities will offer a relaxing and socially interactive environment. Often, recreational centers or clubhouses are available on site to give seniors the opportunity to connect with peers and participate in community activities, such as arts and crafts, holiday gatherings or movie nights. Independent living facilities may also offer facilities such as a swimming pool, fitness center, tennis courts, and even a golf course. Other services offered may include onsite spas, beauty and barber shops.

There are many types of independent living communities and they range in costs and the services provided. Below are a few:

Subsidized Senior Housing - In the U.S., there are senior housing complexes, subsidized by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), for low-income seniors.

Senior Apartment Complexes or Congregate Care Housing – These types of apartment complexes are restricted by age, usually 55 and older. Rent may include community services such as recreational programs, transportation services, and amenities such as an exercise or media room.

Retirement Communities - Retirement communities can be groups of housing units for those aged 55 or 62 and older. These housing units can be single-family homes, duplexes, mobile homes, townhouses, or condominiums. If you decide to buy a unit, additional monthly fees may cover services such as outside maintenance, recreation centers, or clubhouses. Retirement communities can also be a stand-alone rental apartment community that offers amenities such as meals, laundry, housekeeping, transportation, social events and activities.

Continuing Care Retirement Communities (CCRCs) - CCRCs offer service and housing packages that allow access to independent living, assisted living, and skilled nursing facilities in the same community. If residents begin to need help with activities of daily living, for example, they can transfer from independent living to an assisted living or skilled nursing facility on the same site. Most CCRCs require an entrance or buy in fee, plus a monthly rate that is based on the size of the apartment you choose.

Is an Independent Living Community the right choice for you or a loved one?