Types of Independent Living Communities
There are many different types of “retirement” communities. That’s a good thing, because we are all different, with personal preferences for lifestyle and setting. Naturally, you want to find a retirement living community that suits you in every way – and you can, but it will take some work to sift through all the options.
And there are a lot of options. So let’s take a closer look at what they are and how they differ. Keep in mind that some communities are distinctly different whereas others overlap to some degree in terms of amenities and services offered.
It’s an age thing.
All retirement communities have a minimum age requirement – usually 55 or 62, but sometimes higher. The rules can vary from one place to another, depending on local laws as well as the community’s own policies. In some cases, only one spouse of a couple has to meet the requirement. Communities often have rules about visitor ages as well, which might affect your grandchildren.
Here at The Lodge, our minimum age for residents is 62 (applicable to at least one spouse) and we welcome visits from family members of all ages because we are all about family here.
Call it “Retirement” or Call it “Senior Living”
You will find communities that cater to active, healthy seniors of a certain age that refer to themselves as Active Adult, 55+, Independent Living, Senior Housing, and Continuing Care. Some are communities in the traditional sense – their campus includes multiple buildings and a wide range of amenities and activities for residents. Others are just a single, self-contained community such as an apartment building.
Some smaller communities are self-managed by the residents, but usually, retirement communities are owned and professionally managed by a private company, a government agency, or a non-profit organization. Magnolia Manor, which owns and operates The Lodge, is a faith-based non-profit well-known throughout southern Georgia since 1963 for its devotion to treating every resident as a family in a setting that nurtures the body, mind, and spirit. You can see and feel that special difference here.
This is the most common type of housing for independent seniors. Typically, these are privately operated buildings that might offer extras for residents such as meals, social activities, fitness centers, transportation, gardens, salons, etc. You sometimes see these apartments referred to as Congregate Care communities.
Age-Restricted (or 55+) Communities
Moving to a 55+ community means you can start to enjoy the benefits of “retirement” even as a somewhat younger, healthy, mobile adult because you can skip major home-related chores. Most 55+ communities include basic amenities such as a pool, centralized clubhouse or other facilities, with both rental and for-purchase housing options.
There may even be an official activities director, but usually social activities are informal and resident-directed just as you’d find in any neighborhood. Typically, 55+ communities have no facilities or services for anyone who is not fully independent. However, in some cases, the community may have an overall theme or focus:
- Active retirement: Love to do lots of outdoor activities such as biking, hiking, boating, swimming, etc.? This is your kind of place. You can keep busy and stay in shape as you age.
- Faith-based: Perhaps you would prefer to be surrounded by those with similar religious beliefs, which can provide a stronger sense of spiritual congregation. At Magnolia Manor, we are faith-based, and all our communities offer worship services, Bible study and pastoral care. We openly welcome and serve residents of all faiths.
- Golf or tennis resort environment: Can’t get enough of the court or the links? In a resort-sport community, you can zero in on your favorite activity and socialize with like-minded neighbors.
- Luxury living: High-end homes with high-end community features and amenities ensure you’ll have more affluent neighbors.
- RV Park instead of traditional housing: Some seniors just want to hit the road when they retire, trading in their home for a motorhome or RV and heading out to see the sights and meet new friends around the country. Senior RV Parks provide welcome respite for long or short stays.
- Singles only: You don’t have to be part of a couple to enjoy everything active senior living has to offer! Maybe you prefer to be around singles like yourself, in which case there are independent living communities designed just for you.
- University focus: If you would love to be surrounded by educational and cultural activities and ambiance, look for a community that has direct ties to a local university. You won’t have to be a graduate to participate.
Continuing Care Retirement Communities (CCRCs), Life Plan, or Full-Service Communities
CCRC is an official, legal designation for a retirement community that is certified to provide a comprehensive spectrum of care, from fully independent living to assisted living, memory care, skilled nursing, and end-of-life care. Only individuals who have paid an entry fee can take advantage of these various levels of care. Residents usually move as their care needs increase or change, but they can stay within the same community campus.
The Lodge is a Full-Service Retirement Community and offers a full continuum of care for residents within our community, at a considerably more affordable price.