Active Adult Communities vs. Independent Living for Seniors – What’s the Difference?

If you or a loved one are considering transitioning to an age-focused neighborhood or older adult independent housing, you may feel overwhelmed by your options. It’s important to understand the differences in living arrangements so that you can make an informed decision. Keep reading to learn about the differences between active adult communities and independent living for seniors.

Understanding Active Independent Senior Living

The concept of active independent senior living has gained popularity as more older adults choose to spend their retirement with like-minded people in safe and enriching environments. Age-focused active communities for older adults provide a sense of community, security, and comfort so that you can enjoy your time doing what you love with people you connect with.

While active adult communities and independent living situations share similarities such as hosting organized events for community members and offering a variety of on-site or nearby amenities, there are some key differences you should take note of.

A group of women in an active adult living community smile as they leave an exercise class.

What Is an Active Adult Community?

Active adult communities are places where people over 55 can live in well-maintained, comfortable properties such as apartments or condos while enjoying the company and proximity of other older adults. These communities feature a variety of luxurious amenities such as pools, community centers, lounges, fitness centers, and more.

While not every active adult community is age-restricted, most cater to people over 55 who want to continue to pursue their active hobbies and lifestyle without having to navigate the stress of home ownership, isolation, loneliness, and safety. Housing in active adult communities can include traditional single-family homes, condos, and other living arrangements. 

What Is Independent Living for Seniors?

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 depending on you or your loved one’s needs.

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.

What Is the Difference Between Independent Living and Active Adult Apartments?

While active adult apartments and independent living communities both provide a sense of community and lots of opportunities for enrichment, there are important differences to consider. The clearest difference is that active living communities typically do not include health care, meal plans, and housekeeping.

The reason these services are not included in active adult communities is that these communities attract people who still want to maintain a great deal of choice and responsibility in their daily lives. For example, if you enjoy cooking your own meals, choosing which restaurants to eat at, and only need to attend regular health checkups with your general practitioner, then an active living community can offer you the right balance of engagement, community, and independence.

If active adult communities provide the experiences listed above, then what is independent living for seniors? Independent living arrangements offer a more expansive array of care programming, including housekeeping and meals. Choosing an independent living housing option is also a good idea if you or your loved one would like access to professional nurses or assisted living.

Senior Apartments: The Best of Both Worlds

In senior apartment communities such as The Villa at San Mateo, you can take advantage of all the amenities and services offered in independent senior living. You can choose a fully appointed, one- or two-bedroom apartment and 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 the advantages of both independent living and active adult communities. Because communities are age-restricted, you can feel comfortable that you will meet new friends with similar interests while taking advantage of the many amenities and services offered in independent living communities.

Woman smiling while enjoying coffee in an active independent senior living community.

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.

Does Active Adult Living Keep You Healthy?

Active adult living can help you optimize your health outcomes as you age so that you stay healthy and engaged with life. Living in a community with other active older adults keeps you healthy by: 

  • Motivating you to exercise and stay active
  • Engaging your mind and body with purposeful activities
  • Combating loneliness and isolation
  • Helping you make healthy and nutritional meal choices

Is Active Independent Senior Living Affordable?

If you have been avoiding making the transition to active independent senior living because of the cost, you will be surprised to find out how affordable it is. When you live in a well-maintained community, you will no longer have to worry about your mortgage and the price tag of home repairs and upkeep. Plus, being closer to the amenities you love will cut down on transportation costs.

Elder Care Alliance Senior Living Communities in California

Elder Care Alliance has served seniors and their families in California for more than 20 years through five different senior living communities. From day one, our mission and vision have been centered on the care of seniors — putting their well-being and dignity at the forefront of all we do.

Our network of communities offers a range of senior living options with varying levels of service, support, and care. Whether you’re looking for a little assistance or a higher level of care, a short-term stay, or a new home, Elder Care Alliance has a community to meet your needs. Tour our communities today and discover the possibilities of a purposeful and engaged life. If you would like to set up a tour or see us in person, please call us today at (510) 619-2809.

For help or more information contact us or schedule a visit at a location today.