Senior Living: Differences Between 55+ & Independent Living

Older adults who are active and independent may not require the regulated, healthcare-focused environment of a nursing home or assisted living community, but that doesn’t mean you or your loved one couldn’t benefit from more comfortable, convenient accommodations that support the next chapter of your life. 

Fortunately, two senior housing options provide this supportive, age-specific, and beneficial environment: independent living and over-55 communities.

What is Senior Housing?

Senior housing is a broad category that applies to the real estate market and service industry. Any accommodations marketed for or serving older adults could be considered senior housing. However, the common perception is that senior housing encompasses communities and campuses offering services, facilities, and programs to make life easier and more convenient as you age.

Independent living and 55-plus living are two entry points into age-specific housing and the care continuum for older adults. They are similar in several ways but possess a few key differences that could make one better suited to your circumstances and lifestyle.

What is the Difference Between 55+ Living and Independent Living?

Before identifying what differentiates 55-plus living and independent living arrangements, it’s important to point out what unites them: A sense of community. Both types of accommodations are focused on senior community living and residing on a low-maintenance campus that caters to you and your peers.

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What is Independent Living?

Independent living is a good fit if you are an active, self-sufficient adult who would be more socially fulfilled being around your peers. This style of senior living doesn’t encompass healthcare services or help to manage daily routines, personal hygiene, or medications the way assisted living does.

However, you still benefit from well-being checks, weekly housekeeping, and access to an emergency call system. Additionally, the campus is safe and secure for the well-being of its residents. 

In addition, there is a full schedule of programs with activities, events, and outings geared toward seniors and scheduled transportation to and from campus so you can go shopping or out to eat.

What is 55+ Living?

The term “55+” can be a bit misleading as this type of senior community is open to older adults of any age who are still ultimately independent and self-reliant. This is why you will sometimes hear them referred to as active adult communities.

According to Senior Housing News, “the choice to move into these communities is lifestyle-driven, not needs-driven,” as 55-plus communities offer convenience, socialization, and the safety of like-minded neighbors. In addition, they are often located near shopping, restaurants, theaters, parks, and other establishments, so you can continue your daily routine more easily and conveniently.

What differs from independent living is that 55-plus communities don’t incorporate any care component. For example, well-being checks are not included. However, you will still receive the social perks of being on an age-restricted campus with access to all the community areas, events, and activities provided for residents.

Senior Living: The Next Chapter

You may feel ready to transition to a senior community for numerous reasons, even if you’re still working, volunteering, or pursuing your favorite hobbies. Residential communities in Washington cater to active adults who are 55 and older and offer a low-maintenance, comfortable housing option that can support your active lifestyle while granting you peace of mind and the benefit of being around like-minded peers. 

Our Village Green Senior Living communities are situated near parks, shopping, restaurants, and other attractions, and you will also find a wealth of activities, events, and amenities on-site, giving you plenty of options for enjoying life into your retirement years.

Discover Village Green and explore our varying lifestyle options to find one that’s right for you or someone you love!


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