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55+ Communities vs. Independent Living in a Retirement Community: What’s the Difference?

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When you’re shopping for senior living, one of the smartest moves you can make is to choose a community designed to adapt to your changing needs. Many older adults start their search because they want a maintenance-free lifestyle with fewer responsibilities related to home upkeep. That’s a great place to start, but it’s important to look at the full picture of benefits a community offers.

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 take a closer look at key features of both and see how they stack up.

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.

Enjoy the Perks of Independent Living

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

Social connections. 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, special outings and more. You’ll never be at a loss for things to do!

Lifestyle and 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 Parkwood, residents enjoy chef-prepared meals, wellness programs, on-site fitness center, weekly housekeeping services, transportation to local medical appointments, salon services, and more.

Maintenance made easy. 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.

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 need long-term care. At Parkwood, we offer a continuum of health services on the same campus, including Assisted Living, Enhanced 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. 

Financial flexibility. 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 Parkwood

When you experience the lifestyle and explore our beautiful campus, you’ll fall in love with our friendly community in Bedford, Texas. Come see for yourself why Parkwood may be the best fit for you, and tour our open and spacious apartments with peaceful pond 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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