Understanding Your Choices: 55+ Active Adult Living Or Senior Housing

At every stage of our lives, we have different needs. Typically, our family homes do not evolve to keep pace with those changes. So, ultimately, as we age, we need to find a living situation that is better suited to this new chapter. There are many different senior housing choices to consider and each is designed to accommodate different circumstances. 

How to Find the Right Senior Housing Solution

When determining which type of senior housing will best serve your needs, it's important to ask a few key questions. 

  • Where do you want to live? 

Do you want to stay in the general vicinity of your current location, or move to a warmer climate? If your kids have relocated, maybe you want to be closer to them—and the grandkids. Or if you have always lived in the suburbs, this might be the time to explore a more urban setting. Maybe you’ve always wanted to live near the beach. 

  • Are you independent? 

Different types of senior housing offer varying levels of services. Independent active adults who need no assistance of any kind often gravitate toward Active Adult communities. Those who need daily help or care are candidates for other housing options. 

  • What do you like to do?

Are you an avid golfer who would like access to courses? Or do you enjoy a daily workout in the gym? Each Active Adult Community features slightly different layouts and amenities. There are also different types of living spaces. When checking out the choices, ask to see class schedules and activity rosters to be sure your interests are included.

What are 55+ Active Adult Living Communities?

Known for their resort-style amenities, Active Adult or 55+ communities are ideal for those ready to sell the house and enjoy convenient, turnkey living. These communities cater to those who want to take advantage of a lifestyle opportunity that includes state-of-the-art fitness facilities, Olympic sized swimming pools, yoga studios, and an endless list of activities ranging from continuing education to cooking classes with world-class chefs. These activities are organized by an on-site coordinator and all activities are complementary to residents. 

Active adult living does not provide daily meals. However, apartment homes have fully outfitted gourmet kitchens with a large prep island, stainless steel appliances, granite or quartz counters, glass backsplashes and in some cases, even wine fridges. 

Though this type of community does not provide medical care or transportation, resource options for these services may be provided by the onsite team. 

These are age-qualified communities where the emphasis is on creating a warm and welcoming atmosphere to facilitate social connections. Nothing about the active adult lifestyle says old age home. Everything says, healthy active seniors.  

These may be ownership, rental or land lease communities.

Independent Living (IL)

Independent Living Communities are ideal for individuals who can still live independently but enjoy having access to assistance when needed. Services include dining, medical care, entertainment and more. Hospitality services, such as housekeeping, meals, and laundry may or may not be included in the monthly rental but are typically available. 

Nursing Home vs Assisted Living

Though often confused, Nursing Home and Assisted Living facilities are actually quite different in the level of care and assistance provided. Assisted Living is a unique combination of residential housing, personalized supportive services, and care. Residents live independently but receive regular support for a range of daily activities including dressing, cleaning, housekeeping, maintenance and laundry services, utilities, transportation, meals, and additional care services, such as medication management or assistance taking a shower.

Nursing Care

Nursing Home or Skilled Nursing Facilities, on the other hand, are designed for seniors who require 24-hour nursing care. 

Continuing Care Retirement Communities (CCRC)

Continuing Care Retirement Communities are residential campuses that provide a continuum of care from assisted living to skilled nursing care, all in one location. 

Home Care

Home Care is a general term to describe services delivered at home to recovering, disabled, or terminally ill persons in need of medical, nursing, social, or therapeutic treatment.

Adult Day Care

Daily structured programs in a community setting with activities and health-related and rehabilitation services to the elderly who are physically or emotionally disabled and need a protective environment.

 Alzheimer’s or Memory Care

Alzheimer’s Care provides specialized care and housing tailored to the special needs of individuals with this disease. 

Low Income-Affordable

55+ Communities, Independent Living and Assisted Living communities offer one of several different government assistance programs designed for low-income seniors. Income restrictions generally apply, and individuals must meet certain criteria to qualify for assistance. The two most common programs are the Section 202 Supportive Housing for the Elderly Program and the Low-Income Housing Tax Credit (LIHTC) program. 

Respite Care-Short Stay

Temporary relief from duties for caregivers, ranging from several hours to days. May be provided in-home or in a residential care setting such as an assisted living facility or nursing home.

As you begin to contemplate what this next phase of life will look like, the more information you have, the easier it will be to make the decision that is perfect for you.