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What Is an Active Adult Community and How Is It Like Independent Living?

After a certain number of birthdays, you start getting mailers from various organizations that suggest you’re getting “older.” But you don’t feel older. In fact, you probably feel like you’re at the top of your game. Your nest may have emptied, your career may be in full swing—or you may have an eye toward the day you can wake up without an alarm clock—and what you most want is the freedom to fully enjoy yourself and pursue your interests. Many active “older” adults are exploring the idea of moving to a community where fewer household responsibilities free them to enjoy new adventures or long-time passions. The best options typically fall into two categories: active adult communities and independent living. To help you understand what each type of community provides, here’s a guide to the similarities— and differences:

What Is Active Adult Living?

Sometimes called 55+ communities, active adult communities are designed for older adults who want to eliminate some of the hassles of homeownership so they can spend more time doing the things they love. Many active adult communities are age-restricted, requiring that at least 80% of their residences have one or more residents over the age of 55. Other communities are age-targeted, marketing to older adults without imposing age requirements. Depending on the community, residences may include single-family homes, townhouses, apartments or condominiums.

What Is Independent Living?

Like 55+ communities, independent living is ideal for older adults who want the amenities and services that support an active lifestyle. Age restrictions vary among independent living communities, with the minimum age ranging from 55 to 62. Residence options typically include apartment homes and cottage homes of varying sizes to meet a variety of needs and preferences.

The Benefits Are Similar

Active adult communities and independent living offer similar advantages, including:

  • Low-maintenance lifestyle. Services like groundskeeping and exterior maintenance mean the time you used to spend on home and lawn upkeep is now available for activities that you truly want to do.
  • Freedom. You get to live life the way you like, just with fewer household responsibilities to hold you back.
  • Community belonging. When your neighbors are in a similar stage of life, you have a basis for rapport, which fosters a sense of connection and belonging.
  • Attractive amenities. Features such as a pool, walking trails, a fitness center and common areas in which to gather with neighbors give you opportunities to be active, social and engaged, often just steps from your residence.
  • Rightsized home. With a variety of floor plans, you can choose a living space that suits your current needs and lifestyle.

There Are Key Differences

Although both types of communities can give you the maintenance-free lifestyle you’re looking for, if you want to position yourself to enjoy the present and have a plan for your potential needs in the future, independent living offers significant advantages. Unlike most active adult communities, independent living communities that are Life Plan Communities have higher levels of care on the same campus. So if you experience a health setback, short-term or long-term care is available without necessitating a disruptive move to a new community. What’s more, it’s possible to lock in a predictable rate for these higher levels of care, protecting yourself financially from rising health care costs.

Live Life to the Fullest at The Glebe

If you’re interested in a low-maintenance lifestyle in an independent living community where magnificent landscapes beckon you outdoors, an abundance of amenities enrich daily life and you know comprehensive care is available should you need it, come see what The Glebe has to offer. We’re a Life Plan Community nestled amid the Allegheny and Blue Ridge Mountains, where a culture of hospitality and carefree convenience give you the freedom to choose how you’ll spend every day. To learn more, check out our contract options or contact us to schedule a visit.