The key difference between active adult/independent living and other senior housing options is the level of assistance offered for activities of daily living. There are many types of independent living arrangements, from apartment complexes or houses to congregate living, which range in cost and services provided.
A Continuing Care Retirement Community offers a tiered approach to the aging process. Healthy adults reside independently in single-family homes, apartments or condominiums. When assistance with everyday activities becomes necessary, they move into assisted living or nursing care facilities within the same community. CCRCs require an entrance fee as well as monthly maintenance fees.
55 Plus Communities/Independent Living Residences:
Senior apartment communities, manufactured home communities and mobile home parks are tailored to the needs of active adults over 55 years of age. Residents live independently and are generally responsible for their own utilities, and personal care. These communities do not offer the type of personal care services that assisted living communities and memory care facilities provide. Some 55 plus communities provide laundry and kitchen services, as well as 24-hour staff and/or concierge to attend to any other needs. Many communities offer amenities such as:
Swimming pools • Dance classes • Fitness programs • Art studios • Religious activities• Organized card, board and video games • Billiards • Putting greens/golf courses
If a community does not offer such opportunities on site, they may supply transportation to off-site locations for these activities. Most community fees include landscaping services and security.
The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) creates affordable housing through assistive services for seniors and the disabled. There are three types of affordable rent programs:
- Public Housing: owned and run by local Public Housing Agencies (PHAs).
- Multifamily Subsidized Housing: privately owned housing that is subsidized by HUD.
- Housing Vouchers: provide rental assistance to individuals and families for housing in the private market.
Keep in mind that HUD programs are designed primarily for independent seniors and the waiting lists for HUD housing are often long (from two to five years).