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Senior Community Living: Differences Between 55+ & Independent Living

Posted by Daystar Retirement Village on Jan 16, 2020 1:21:00 PM

No matter where you are at in life and your unique circumstances, it’s important to have a suitable housing arrangement that accommodates your needs and preferences at that particular stage.

Senior Community Living Differences Between 55+ and Independent Living

Older adults who are active and independent may not require the regulated, healthcare-focused environment of a nursing home or assisted living facility, but that doesn’t mean you or your loved one couldn’t benefit from more comfortable, convenient accommodations that support the next chapter of your life. Fortunately, there are two different senior housing options that provide this sort of supportive, age-specific and beneficial environment: independent living and over 55 communities.


What Is Senior Housing?

Senior housing is a broad category that applies both to the real estate market and to the service industry. Technically, any accommodations that are marketed for or serve older adults could be considered senior housing. However, the common perception is that senior housing encompasses communities and campuses that offer services, facilities, and programs that are geared toward making life easier and more convenient as you age.

Independent living and 55 plus living are two entry points into age-specific housing and the care continuum for seniors in West Seattle. They are similar in several ways, but also possess a few key differences that could make one better suited toward your circumstances and lifestyle.


What Is the Difference Between 55+ Living and Independent Living?

Before identifying what differentiates 55 plus living and independent living arrangements, it’s important to point out what unites them: A sense of community. Both types of accommodations are focused on senior community living and residing on a low-maintenance campus that caters toward you and your peers. You will find the same types of comfortable studio, one- and two-bedroom floor plans complete with washers and dryers, en suite kitchens, and the other features you need to live a full, independent lifestyle. Exterior maintenance is also taken care of, giving you one less thing to worry about or more time for the activities you enjoy.

What Is Independent Living?

Independent living is a good fit if you are an active, self-sufficient adult who could use a little bit of support and would be more socially fulfilled being around your peers. This style of senior community living doesn’t encompass healthcare services or help managing daily routines, personal hygiene, or medications the way assisted living or nursing homes do. However, you still have the benefit of daily non-intrusive wellbeing checks and weekly housekeeping, along with access to an emergency call system. Additionally, the campus is safe and secure for the wellbeing of its residents. All your utilities, such as water, sewer, garbage, and basic cable TV, are covered in your monthly fee.

Independent living also comes with a dining plan to ensure you have access to fresh, nutritional meals three times per day, along with snacks and a juice bar. Staff will consult with your primary care physician and cater to any dietary needs and restrictions. There is a full schedule of programs with activities, events, and outings geared toward seniors and scheduled transportation to and from campus so you can go shopping or out to eat.

What Is 55+ Living?

The term “55+” can be a bit misleading as this type of senior community living is open to older adults of any age that are still completely independent and self-reliant, which is why you will sometimes hear them referred to as active adult communities. According to Senior Housing News, “the choice to move into these communities is lifestyle-driven, not needs-driven,” as 55 plus communities offer you convenience, socialization, and the safety of like minded neighbors. They are often located in close proximity to shopping, restaurants, theaters, parks, and other establishments so you can continue your daily routine more easily and conveniently.

What differs from independent living is that 55 plus communities don’t incorporate any care component. Meal plans and well-being checks are not included, although you can opt for eating at the communal dining room for an additional charge, and interior maintenance and daily upkeep of your home are your responsibility. Meanwhile, you will still receive the social perks of being on an age-restricted campus with access to all the community areas, events, and activities provided for residents.

In terms of cost, independent living is more expensive than 55+ living because it includes a small amount of personal care, such as well-being checks, and comprehensive dining services. Take a look at the Best 55+ Communities in Washington State.


Senior Community Living: The Next Chapter

There are numerous reasons you may feel ready to transition to a senior community, even if you’re still working, volunteering, or pursuing your favorite hobbies. Residential communities in Washington that cater toward active adults who are 55 and older offer a low-maintenance, comfortable housing option that can support your active lifestyle while granting you peace of mind and the benefit of being around like minded peers. The Parkview Senior Residence 55+ apartments at Daystar Retirement Village in West Seattle are situated near parks, shopping, restaurants and other attractions and you will also find a wealth of activities, events and amenities on site, giving you plenty of options for enjoying life into your retirement years.

Learn About 55+ Living »



“Why 55-Plus ‘Senior Living’ Needs a Rebrand.” Senior Housing News. Accessed online at https://seniorhousingnews.com/2017/02/20/55-plus-senior-living-needs-rebrand/

“The Pros & Cons of 55+ Active Adult Communities.” My Life Site blog post by Brad Breeding. Accessed online at https://www.mylifesite.net/blog/post/pros-cons-55-active-adult-communities/

Tags: Senior Living 101

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