Independent Living vs. Retirement Living: What’s the Difference?

By Michelle Seitzer / Posted on 05 August 2011

Independent living, senior apartments, and retirement communities: they’re all different based on the owner/operator, the location, the cost, services provided, and the population of residents, but one common thread exists no matter what it’s called.

In these settings, seniors are completely independent. Care, services and support may be available in some communities – either on-site or off-campus – but it’s up to the resident(s) to make the arrangements. Residents of continuing care retirement communities generally have access to these services on-site.

Not all independent senior housing facilities offer transportation in-house. There are a few options provided by the local government (Shared Ride, county transit, etc.), but scheduling responsibilities usually land with the resident who desires transport.

When it comes to maintenance and housekeeping, independent living residents may be able to elect for these basic services to be provided at an additional cost (or, sometimes, it is included in the monthly rent package). But some facilities do not provide these services at all; in this case, a resident can elect to bring in services, just as anyone in a private apartment or home would do.

Many independent communities offer an activities program, but the level of involvement from staff varies. Some senior apartments employ a full- or part-time employee to plan and promote activities; others give full responsibility to a Resident Council/committee.

Get the scoop on independent living here at our site.

There are 3 Comments about this post

  1. joyce margel says,

    I would like info on independent living facilities near morris county and adjoining areas. The different type of homes.


    on 07 August 2011 / 2:39 PM

  2. joyce margel says,

    Independent living for seniors can be very helpful


    on 07 August 2011 / 2:40 PM

  3. Thanks for your comments, Joyce. You can search for facilities in those areas via our site. Yes, independent living is a great option for many seniors!


    on 08 August 2011 / 9:30 AM


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