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What’s the Difference Between a 55+ Community and Independent Living in a Retirement Community?

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Your retirement years should be a time to relax and enjoy what you’ve earned. For many people, that means choosing a maintenance-free lifestyle where they have fewer responsibilities and more opportunities to live life the way they want. It’s a great time to move to a senior living community where you’ll be surrounded by peers who are in a similar stage in life. 

Not all communities offer the same benefits, so it’s important to look closely at what’s included before making a decision. Independent Living in a full-service retirement community and 55+ senior residences in an age-restricted community are two popular options for active older adults. Let’s compare key features of both to help you make an informed choice.

Age-Restricted vs. Independent Living Communities

What is a 55+ community? As the name implies, 55+ communities are residential neighborhoods for adults 55 and older. These age-restricted communities often attract seniors who want to downsize from a larger home to a smaller and more manageable apartment, condominium or townhouse. 

What is an Independent Living community? Independent Living within a full-service retirement community is designed for seniors who want an active lifestyle in retirement with the security that comes with having a plan for the future. You’ll enjoy a host of services and amenities that make life easier as you age, plus access to the senior care you might need in the future.

Perks of an Independent Living Lifestyle

Understanding the differences between Independent Living communities and 55+ communities can help you figure which option is best for you. Here are a few key points to consider:

Social opportunities. You’ll enjoy the company of living near people of a similar age in both types of communities. However, Independent Living communities typically offer a more robust calendar of social events, scheduled parties, and special outings and more. You’ll never be at a loss for things to do!

Life-enriching amenities. A 55+ community may include some community amenities such as a swimming pool, community room and walking trails. Independent Living in a retirement community typically offers a lot more amenities to help you live your best life. At Autumn Leaves, residents enjoy chef-prepared meals, wellness programs, housekeeping twice per month, transportation to medical appointments within a 10-mile radius, an on-site library, game room, hair salon, and more.

Maintenance and more. If you buy a condo in an age-restricted community, you’ll be responsible for real estate taxes, insurance, garbage collection, inside maintenance, appliances, utilities, internet service and cable/satellite TV. There’s typically a monthly homeowners association (HOA) fee when you buy a residence in a 55+ community. In a rental 55+ community, some outdoor maintenance may be included as part of the monthly rental fee. When you’re in the Independent Living neighborhood of a full-service retirement community, you’ll know they take care of all indoor and outdoor maintenance, so you can worry less and enjoy more — without all the extra fees.

On-site health care services. 55+ communities typically don’t offer health care services on campus, which means you may have to move again if you or your spouse needed long-term care. At Autumn Woods, we offer a continuum of health services on the same campus, including Assisted Living, Skilled Nursing and Rehabilitation. This means you won’t have to make another move, and you’ll be close to people you already know. 

Flexibility for your future. Choosing to rent an Independent Living residence in a full-service retirement community offers more flexibility than buying a home in a 55+ community or paying a hefty upfront sum at an entrance fee retirement community, because you don’t have to commit for the long term. You’ll have the freedom to live the way you want and the flexibility to make adjustments in the future if your needs change. 

See What’s Possible at Autumn Leaves

When you experience the lifestyle and explore our beautiful campus, you’ll fall in love with our cozy community in Dallas, Texas. Come see for yourself why Autumn Leaves may be the best fit for you, and tour our open and spacious apartments with peaceful lake or courtyard views. Explore our Independent Living floor plans and contact us to learn more.

You Are Invited to Experience Our Community!

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