Independent living communities, also known as rental retirement communities, offer housing options for active seniors and retirees who require little or no assistance with daily activities. Most independent living residents desire an environment where they don’t have to be concerned about safety, maintenance, and homeownership responsibilities.
One of the major offshoots of the burgeoning number of baby boomers retiring every day is the growing retirement living industry. More and more communities dedicated to senior living are opening each year. Two popular options are continuing care retirement communities (CCRCs) and independent living communities. While there are similarities between the two, there are important differences as well.
Both CCRCs and independent living communities may offer amenities such as a clubhouse, lounge, dining rooms, fitness centers, swimming pools, housekeeping services, and transportation. CCRCs usually offer a higher level of amenities and services than independent living communities. The main difference between CCRCs and independent living communities is the extent of health-related, or continuing care, services offered by CCRCs, which include assisted living services, memory care, and long-term care. Independent living communities typically do not offer continuing care services. Instead, the resident may arrange for such services through an outside agency. Generally, independent living communities do not offer assisted living services or long-term care.
Another difference between CCRCs and independent living communities relates to the costs. Most CCRCs require a substantial entry fee plus a monthly fee. Typically, independent living communities charge a monthly fee, similar to rent. Independent living fees are usually not covered by any type of insurance, including Medicare and long-term care insurance. However, health-related services and care that a resident receives (which are not offered by the independent resident community) may be covered by insurance or Medicare.
Determining which type of community is the best choice depends on a number of factors including the services needed or desired and the costs associated with each type of residential community.