If you’re just beginning to search for the perfect community setting to enjoy your retirement years, you may be overwhelmed by the options available and the various terms used throughout the senior living industry. Understanding the types of Independent Living requires some time and research – or a good conversation with a senior living expert – to learn the differences between communities.
“Senior living is a term that covers a vast array of community living options,” says Peggy Connelly, Vice President Resident Services at amavida, a senior living community in Fort Myers, Florida. “For those who are new to the idea, it’s natural to wonder what exactly Independent Living is, and how it’s different from a 55+ apartment building. How do you know what services are provided, if any, and most importantly, what’s the best option for you?”
To help you on your search for the ideal Independent Living community, the team at amavida has compiled a list of common community types, so you can learn the basics of Independent Living and begin narrowing down your choices.
Understanding Your Options
The difficulty in understanding the differences between many senior living options is that terms are often used interchangeably or defined differently. For example, a retirement community could offer multiple levels of care or none at all. It’s important to research a specific community thoroughly to determine what kind of environment and services it offers. Here, we’ll try to separate the most common differences among community options:
- Senior or 55+ Apartments – A common offering for senior living is an apartment building that only accepts tenants over a certain age, typically 55 years. These apartments are generally designed with older adults in mind. The building manager or a group of residents may organize events in the building’s lobby or amenity spaces, but there is no guarantee of a close-knit community atmosphere. Typically, these apartments offer small, manageable homes for older adults looking to downsize.
- Lock and Leave Homes – Whether in the form of apartments or neighborhood-style communities, lock and leave homes are popular among seniors who want to travel. Often offering security features as a gated community, lock and leave homes allow residents to pick up and go whenever they choose for as long as they want. Community staff or groundskeepers take care of outdoor maintenance and upkeep.
- Independent Living Communities – Independent Living communities go to the next level by offering not just housing but community amenities, programming, dining and lifestyle enrichment as well. Residents may reside in apartment suites, freestanding homes or cottages, but the name community means a lot. These communities welcome active older adults to enjoy maintenance-free living with the added benefits of social events, dining experiences, fun amenities like a pool, spa, art studio or putting green, and more. Some Independent Living communities may offer minor health services in a wellness clinic, but healthcare or support services are not usually available.
- Continuing Care Retirement Communities (CCRC) – Continuing Care Retirement Communities offer a full spectrum of senior living lifestyles from Independent Living to Assisted Living, Memory Care Living, Skilled Nursing and even Rehabilitation, all on one campus. Seniors may enter as Independent Living residents and “age in place,” utilizing Assisted Living or more advanced services as needed if their health declines. Like Independent Living communities, CCRCs also provide community amenities, social events and programming and dining options.
- Intergenerational Communities – A newer model for senior living incorporates the benefits of multigenerational living. Intergenerational communities accommodate both senior adults and younger generations to share life together and help each other. Some communities integrate seniors with young children in the foster care system or families with single parents, young adults living on their own, or a combination of these. These communities often promote intergenerational living while also enhancing one’s life through special connections formed within the community. Care services for older adults may or may not be available.
Independent Living at amavida
Seniors who choose to make amavida their home for retirement enjoy Independent Living in their choice of cottages or apartment homes. In addition to Independent Living, we offer a continuum of Assisted Living and Memory Care Living, plus a physician-staffed wellness clinic – all on site! Resort-style amenities, such as various dining venues, a pool, fitness center and plenty of comfortable community spaces ensure seniors have everything they want and need for a fulfilling lifestyle.
“Independent Living at amavida is a truly worry-free lifestyle,” says Connelly. “Forget the days of doing laundry, mowing the lawn or spending hours preparing meals. amavida takes care of all the bothersome tasks of daily life, replacing them with opportunities to relax, explore and thrive.”
If you would like to learn even more about Independent Living, or you need help determining what kind of community is best for you, reach out to our team! We’d be happy to help you understand your options and share details about our community offerings. Call us today!