A close up of a smiling couple in their 50s

What’s the Difference Between 55+ Communities and Independent Living?

Are you trying to figure out when’s the best time to consider senior living? And how do you know if independent living or a 55+ community is your best option for worry-free living? To help you make a more informed decision, this blog post will outline some of the pros and cons of both choices.

What is a 55+ Community?

Active adult communities, also known as 55+ communities, are residential neighborhoods for adults ages 55 and older who want to downsize, socialize with people at the same life stage, and live a low-maintenance lifestyle.

55+ Community Pros

  • Low- or no-maintenance exteriors: After years of dealing with exterior maintenance like mowing, raking, shoveling and cleaning gutters, imagine the free time you’d have if someone else dealt with it.
  • Social opportunities: If you’re thinking of moving to a new place (either across town or on the other side of the country, it can be hard to make friends. A 55+ community is home to people of similar backgrounds and ages. 
  • A quiet, mostly kid-free environment: 55+ age requirement for residents means that active adult communities are usually nice, quiet places to live. Of course, adult children and grandchildren are welcome to visit.
  • Amenities: Most 55+ communities will provide you with access, for an additional fee, to golf courses, pools, fitness centers and tennis courts. They may also feature organized social events, clubs and volunteer opportunities.

55+ Community Cons

  • Taxes and utilities: You’re still responsible for real estate taxes, insurance, inside maintenance, appliances, utilities, internet service and cable/satellite TV.
  • HOA rules and fees: A 55+ community could have a homeowners’ association (HOA) with rules and fees. The money collected is used to pay for landscaping services, trash removal, exterior home repairs, pool upkeep and more. And HOA rules could cover everything from when you can make noise to what color you can paint your house.
  • Lack of care services: Active adult living communities typically don’t have on-site health care services. If one spouse requires more care, couples are often faced with separation or may have to move to receive the short- or long-term care they need.

What Is Independent Living?

Independent living, as part of Continuing Care Retirement Community (CCRC), is similar to a 55+ community in that you can continue to live your life as you do now. You have all exterior and interior maintenance provided, access to numerous desirable services and amenities plus the assurance of on-site long-term health care. 

Independent Living Pros

  • One and done: Your monthly fee covers a wide variety of services, amenities, wellness programs, indoor and outdoor maintenance, a calendar full of activities and dining.
  • Social life: Scheduled parties, Happy Hours, special events, and outings with friends and neighbors who share your interests ensure you’re never at a loss for things to do.
  • Amenities: As part of the lifestyle at independent living communities — like Aberdeen Ridge — educational, recreational, cultural, intergenerational, social, spiritual and wellness programs are covered in your monthly fee. So are resort-like amenities including a heated indoor pool, fitness center and creative arts studio.
  • Tax breaks: A portion of your entrance and monthly fee could be tax-deductible. Consult your tax advisor to be sure.
  • On-site health care services: If you or your spouse needs long-term health care, you won’t have to make another move, and you’ll be close to people you already know.

Independent Living Cons

  • Tough choices: With so much to do, you may find it hard to squeeze it all in. Luckily, there’s always next month.
  • Unneeded care: You could pay for care you don’t end up needing. But according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, 70% of seniors 65 or older will need some type of long-term care. (That’s nearly 3 in 4 seniors.) And the average stay is approximately 3 years.

Elevate Your Lifestyle at Aberdeen Ridge

As you consider your senior living options, now’s a great time to take a look at Aberdeen Ridge where you can pick your choice of mountain views or nighttime views of the city from your brand-new apartment home. Want more input? Hear from future resident Meg Burke on why she’s moving to Aberdeen Ridge. To explore what independent living could look like for you at Aberdeen Ridge, contact us here.