Individuals choose to move into senior living communities for a variety of reasons. Some move to be around other people their age. Some don’t want to be burdened with the upkeep of a home. Others need help performing everyday tasks. And still others need a safer environment or more medical care than their family can provide. This guide will explore options addressing each of these concerns and more.
ACTIVE OLDER ADULT HOUSING OPTIONS
Studies show that individuals who are active and engaged in life are happier and healthier than their non-active counterparts. Many older adults become more active and engaged after moving into a community of their peers for various reasons:
- It’s easier to make friends within a community of similarly-aged people
- Organized activities and clubs make participation easy
- Greater access to sports and fitness programs geared to their age group
- Activities and programs are age-appropriate
As you examine your housing options, you may want to also consider:
- Are the services and facilities you want nearby, such as shopping malls, public libraries, health centers and museums?
- Does the housing option you’re considering accommodate alternative mobilities? If you need handicapped bathroom facilities or parking, or ramps and elevators, are these available?
- If you have a health condition that could require immediate medical attention, is a hospital or medical care facility nearby?
As Americans live longer, healthier lives, the number of active older adults searching for senior housing options offering an energetic lifestyle has increased. Fortunately, several types are available:
Independent Living is a senior living option for active older adults with minimal need for assistance for daily tasks.
55+ Communities attract seniors in early retirement looking to downsize.
Continuing Care Retirement Communities, or CCRCs are senior living communities for those who prefer a continuum of care in one location at a predictable rate.
COMPARING INDEPENDENT LIVING COMMUNITIES, 55+ RETIREMENT COMMUNITIES AND CONTINUING CARE RETIREMENT COMMUNITIES (CCRCS)
As you consider housing options during retirement, all three help residents pursue an active lifestyle. They all offer activities that interest a wide variety of people and provide an environment in which to do these activities surrounded by people who are similarly-aged; although an independent living community and a CCRC offer more scheduled activities each day, most on-site. They all offer a wide range of amenities and services, but they will vary from location to location; so, it’s best to determine what amenities and services are important to you and then choose a community that provides them.
A 55+ retirement community is more likely to have single-family homes, although independent living and CCRCs may also provide this option but on a much smaller scale. Single-family homes offer spaces to cultivate your own flowers and vegetables or a garage to work on your car, if that is your hobby, making them an obvious choice for many.
The biggest difference in these options is that a CCRC is more future-focused, providing a continuum of care beyond independent living all within the confines of a single support living environment. Once established in a CCRC, things will be familiar to you for the rest of your life … no more needing to acclimate to new surroundings, schedules and people, despite any changes in your level of care. Although the cost of a CCRC is substantially higher, 77% of family members of residents in CCRCs would be likely or very likely to consider a CCRC lifestyle for themselves in the future.