← Back to Blog

What You Need to Know About 55+ Communities vs. Independent Living in a Full-Service Retirement Community

A senior couple in a modern kitchen looking at a computer together

If you’re looking for maintenance-free living in retirement, you’ll find a range of senior housing options with age-friendly features designed to make life easier. However, not all communities offer the same benefits, so it’s important to look closely at what’s included before making a decision. The best senior living communities offer one-level living, exterior and interior maintenance, on-site dining, and a host of amenities to enjoy.

Two popular options for older adults are 55+ communities and Independent Living in a full-service retirement community. Let’s compare key features of both to help you make an informed choice.

55+ Communities vs. Independent Living Communities

While both are designed for healthy, active seniors who need no assistance or any type of long-term care at the time they move in, there are definite differences between these two types of communities.

What is a 55+ community? As the name implies, 55+ communities are residential neighborhoods for adults 55 and older. These age-restricted communities often attract seniors who want to downsize from a larger home to a smaller and more manageable apartment, condominium or townhouse. 

What is an Independent Living community? Independent Living within a full-service retirement community is designed for seniors who want an active lifestyle in retirement with the security that comes with having a plan for the future. You’ll enjoy a host of services and amenities that make life easier as you age, plus access to the senior care you might need in the future.

Advantages of an Independent Living Lifestyle

Understanding the differences between Independent Living communities and 55+ communities can help you figure out which option is best for you. Here are a few key points to consider:

Social opportunities. Living near people of  similar age and stage of life becomes increasingly important as you age, because it can reduce isolation and improve quality of life. Although 55+ communities provide housing exclusively for older adults, Independent Living communities take the social aspect a step further. They typically offer a more robust calendar of social events, scheduled parties, and special outings and more. You’ll never be at a loss for things to do!

An array of amenities. A 55+ community may include some community amenities such as a community room and walking trails. Independent Living in a retirement community typically offers a lot more amenities to help you live your best life. At Monticello West, residents enjoy chef-prepared meals, wellness programs, an on-site fitness center, weekly housekeeping services, transportation to local medical appointments, salon services, and more.

Maintenance-free living. If you buy a condo in an age-restricted community, you’ll be responsible for real estate taxes, insurance, garbage collection, inside maintenance, appliances, utilities, internet service and cable/satellite TV. There’s typically a monthly homeowners association (HOA) fee when you buy a residence in a 55+ community. In a rental 55+ community, some outdoor maintenance may be included as part of the monthly rental fee. When you’re in the Independent Living neighborhood of a full-service retirement community, you’ll know they take care of all indoor and outdoor maintenance, so you can worry less and enjoy more — without all the extra fees.

Access to health care services. 55+ communities typically don’t offer health care services on campus, which means you may have to move again if you or your spouse someday needs long-term care. At Monticello West, we offer a continuum of health services on the same campus, including Assisted Living, Enhanced Assisted Living and Memory Care. This means you’ll have options to transition to higher levels of care without making another move, and you’ll be close to people you already know. 

Flexibility for your future. Choosing to rent an Independent Living residence in a full-service retirement community offers more flexibility than buying a home in a 55+ community or paying a hefty upfront sum at an entrance fee retirement community, because you don’t have to commit for the long term. You’ll have the freedom to live the way you want and the flexibility to make adjustments in the future if your needs change. 

See What’s Possible at Monticello West

When you experience the lifestyle and explore our beautiful campus, you’ll fall in love with our vibrant community in Dallas, Texas. Come see for yourself why Monticello West may be the best fit for you, and tour our spacious one- and two-bedroom apartments. Explore our Independent Living floor plans and contact us to learn more.

You Are Invited to Experience Our Community!

image of open hands with