Retirement Community vs. Independent Living

We understand that it can be difficult to find the right home for a senior. If you’re looking for senior citizen apartments or trying to determine the difference between a retirement community vs. independent living, we’re here to provide some clarification. 

When trying to find the next place to call home, it can feel like you have endless options: retirement communities, independent living, and all other types of living arrangements for seniors. Keep in mind that the right senior living community will help enrich a person’s life and make the transition to their new home enjoyable, exciting, and stress-free.

Overview of a Retirement Community vs. Independent Living

With all the different terminology out there, you might be wondering, “What does senior living/apartments mean?” A lot of terms that represent living arrangements for seniors can sound similar, which can be confusing when you’re looking for senior citizen apartments that will feel safe and homey. When comparing a retirement community vs. independent living, just know the differences are pretty straightforward.

What is a Retirement Community?

Retirement communities are meant to meet the needs of both senior citizens and their families. Retirement communities are designed to enrich an individual’s later years. Typically, a retirement community is a type of residential community, and it may be a housing or apartment complex so older adults can still care for themselves with the assistance, amenities, and activities provided by the community.

What is Independent Living?

Independent living” is a type of retirement home that offers a senior a range of living amenities, convenience, and a sense of togetherness. This is different from “living independently,” which means a senior can continue to live as they always have in their own home. Independent living communities for seniors tend to focus on fulfilling their residents’ social needs since most residents can live without much additional support. Independent living offers a senior enough freedom to live independently while remaining productive and present in their community.

What are Some Other Types of Senior Living?

Assisted Living

This is a living situation solution for older adults with mobility issues seeking support. Assisted living communities generally offer medication management, assistance with activities, meals, housekeeping, laundry, and more.

Group Homes

Group homes are often called “adult family homes,” which tend to be small residences located in normal residential neighborhoods. These homes employ licensed caregivers who assist seniors in a variety of ways including with meals, hygiene, and dressing. These types of homes are most useful for seniors with a certain amount of cognitive impairment.

Memory Care

This type of retirement home is only necessary for seniors who have senior cognitive impairments or dementia. This type of home provides security for its residents, and the staff must undergo specialized training to provide the best care.

Continuing Care

This kind of retirement community is also known as a “life plan community.” It encompasses a wide spectrum of care levels, from assisted living to independent living, memory care to nursing homes, and more. They tend to require an upfront membership with a significant financial investment.

Things to Consider Before Choosing Between a Retirement Community vs. Independent Living

How Much Maintenance Do You Want to be Responsible for?

Living arrangements for the elderly pros and cons differ when it comes to level of responsibility. When choosing the best retirement home for a senior, it’s important to consider how much responsibility they want to have over their home. 

Independent living allows a resident to enjoy a convenient community offering plenty of amenities and services including housekeeping, dining, transportation, and more. A retirement community can come with a bit more responsibility, especially if the senior owns their home or apartment within that community. In this case, the senior would be responsible for cleaning, cooking, and home maintenance tasks.

How Important is an Active Social Life?

Both independent living and retirement community options have great opportunities for socializing. That being said, an independent living community usually has a program director who ensures the calendar is always full of plenty of fun activities for residents. The level of social activity varies from community to community, but typically an independent living community has more reliable social options.

What is Your Definition of “Independence?”

As you choose between a retirement community vs. independent living, consider how much independence is needed. If you or your senior wants to do everything on their own, then a retirement community may be the best option. But if you or your senior is looking forward to an independent retirement that’s free of household chores, grocery shopping, and home maintenance, then an independent living community may be a better choice.

Look at the Long-Term Value

When choosing the right home for a retiring senior, it’s important to look at the community while considering the long term. How much will it cost over the years? Will the living situation still suit the senior in the long term? An independent living facility can offer better long-term value than many retirement communities. They allow a senior to forget worries about home maintenance, errands, and other chores while being affordable, comfortable, and homey.

What Services Do You Need?

Independent living communities tend to provide a fully stress-free lifestyle for their seniors. You don’t need to worry about home upkeep, cooking, cleaning, home maintenance, or even keeping up your social calendar. The independent living community handles that. If you don’t need or want these types of services, then a retirement community should be a good choice.

How Do I Find the Best Senior Living Community Near Me?

If you’re looking for senior citizen apartments and hoping to find a community near you, it’s important to do your research. Always feel free to ask plenty of questions so you can make the right choice. There are a lot of communities you might love, but finding the right one might take some time. Reach out to us at New Perspective with questions, and we can help you find the best home for you and your needs.