What’s the Difference Between Active Adult vs. Independent Living?

If you or a loved one are considering a move to senior housing, you may encounter several options for active, independent individuals. What is the difference between active adult communities and independent living, and what should you know to make the best choice for you?

Active Adult Communities

Active adult communities have emerged in recent years as an option for individuals over age 55 who don’t need all the services and amenities of a traditional senior living community. Many so-called “empty-nesters” — retired adults or those nearing retirement whose children have left home — may choose active adult communities as they seek smaller living spaces.

People who move into active adult neighborhoods also may look for communities catering to an older demographic than traditional neighborhoods. Most active adult communities do not have formal age restrictions but do tend to attract people over age 55.

Housing in active adult communities can include traditional single-family homes, condos and other living arrangements. Communities may include amenities like swimming pools but typically do not include health care, meals, housekeeping and other services provided in traditional senior living.

Independent Living

Independent living communities offer a variety of services and amenities designed to support older adults as they enjoy an active lifestyle and continue to thrive. Services usually include landscaping and maintenance, housekeeping, security, meals, educational and entertainment programming, transportation, and access to personal care and health care services should an individual’s needs change.

Housing in independent living communities may include cottages, apartments and studios that residents rent, purchase or lease with the addition of a one-time entrance fee or community fee. Fully trained staff members are on hand to oversee the many services provided in independent living.

Senior Apartments: The Best of Both Worlds?

In senior apartment communities like The Villa at San Mateo, you can take advantage of all the amenities and services offered in independent senior living. Residents choose fully appointed, one- or two-bedroom apartments, and they benefit from amenities, including a BBQ area, outdoor pool, movie and coffee lounges, fitness center, game room, and a main lobby with community Wi-Fi. Entertainment options and activities include regularly scheduled ice cream socials, fitness classes, happy hours, games and more.

Senior apartments provide advantages of both independent living and active adult communities. Because communities are age-restricted, residents can feel comfortable that they will meet new friends with similar interests, and they benefit from the many amenities and services offered in independent living communities.

When Is the Right Time to Move?

The right time to make a move to senior living is when you feel you’re ready. When you choose a senior apartment, you’ll benefit from an engaged community, a variety of stimulating activities, opportunities for meeting new people, a comfortable and welcoming environment, and supportive services that allow you to focus on enjoying life.