Independent Living for Seniors

What are your options?

What are your options?

Should you make the change?

As you or a loved one age and needs change, the current living situation might not be suitable anymore.

Maybe you’re looking for maintenance-free living or you desire new friends and a community that welcomes you with open arms! Whatever the reason, once you have decided to explore the many senior living options, you may find independent living to be the right choice!

Select Senior Communities has created this guide to teach you more about independent living, why more and more older adults across the U.S. are choosing it every year, what to expect, and more. Find a community near you now!

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What is Independent Living?

Independent living is a type of senior living community for active adults who want to—and can—live on their own.

You may think of it as a retirement community in which most residents are retired and typically over 55 years of age. Most may be living in an apartment or single-family homes, but are looking for communities where they can make connections and benefit from nearby senior-friendly conveniences.

In an independent living community, the yard work, home maintenance, and sometimes even laundry and housekeeping are taken care of. When the senior doesn’t have to deal with the day-to-day hassles of home ownership, they are left with free time to enjoy the golden retirement years.

Types of Independent Living Communities

Age-Restricted Communities

Age-restricted communities are made up of townhomes, single-family homes, or condos in a central neighborhood. It usually has a clubhouse that offers amenities, such as fitness centers, social activities, and other services.


These types of communities consist of apartment complexes with varying floor plans and an array of services for outings, dining, social opportunities, and transportation. Some may offer higher-end amenities than others.


This type of community consists of private homeowners working together to manage their homes and property, carpool, and more.


This type of long-term care community offers options for assisted living, independent living, memory care, and skilled nursing, which allows the senior resident to age in place.


These communities are comprised of one-bedroom or studio living quarters that have shared living spaces; also known as a retirement home.

Assisted Living Facilities vs. Independent Living Facilities

If you have never looked into senior housing options before this, you may be thinking that most senior communities are like nursing homes, designed only for people who require specialized nursing care. However, there are many differences between independent living and assisted living communities.

The most significant difference is the available levels of care offered. Many assisted living residents are incapable of living entirely on their own and may need help with activities of daily living, whereas independent living residents continue to live an active lifestyle without any assistance. People in assisted living need regular senior care and cannot mentally or physically care for themselves without a certain level of assistance.

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Who is Independent Living for?

Independent living communities are for active seniors who may be still able to live on their own, but want to take part in the benefits of living in a community. To find out if it is right for you or a loved one, ask the following questions:

  • Can the senior adult manage yard work, housework, and shopping on their own?
  • Can the senior adult manage medication, keep up with health appointments, and maintain an overall healthy lifestyle on their own?
  • Does the senior adult experience loneliness or isolation? Would they want to spend more time with other like-minded older adults? 
  • Is the senior adult interested in maintenance-free living and extra security?
  • Does the senior adult want to avoid in-home care as they age?
  • Does the senior adult want peace of mind as they age?

If you answered yes to any of these questions, you may consider independent senior living. If you are looking for all of the resort-style benefits of independent living, but need more personalized care, you might want to look into assisted living or a nursing home.

Features of Independent Living for Seniors

  • Social activities with other residents
  • Common areas providing an opportunity for socialization
  • Ability to cook in your very own kitchen, eat in a restaurant-style dining room with fellow residents, or enjoy nearby community restaurants.
  • Exercise and wellness programs
  • Housekeeping and laundering services
  • Transportation services
  • Walking trails and golf courses
  • Access to medical care services from caregivers, should the need arise
  • The peace of mind of 24-hour security

Paying for Independent Living

Independent living is a great option, but you’re probably wondering: what’s the catch?

Luckily, an independent living community doesn’t have to be cost-prohibitive. Just like any other neighborhood, apartment complex, or home, there are a wide range of options to meet just about any budget.

What you pay will depend upon the type of senior housing you’re looking for, which amenities you choose, and where the facility is located.

As you research the pricing of independent living, keep the following items at the top of your mind:
  • The down payment if you’re purchasing a single-family home in a community
  • Monthly rent or mortgage
  • Entrance fees
  • Monthly fees for maintenance, repairs, and upkeep

There are many different ways to pay for senior living, including: 

  • Paying privately out of pocket. 
  • Private health insurance, life insurance policies, long-term care insurance plans, 
  • Medicaid
  • Medicare
  • Veterans’ benefits

Another path to choose is receiving housing assistance from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), which allows low-income senior citizens become eligible for senior housing at relatively lower costs. 

How to Choose the Best Independent Living for Seniors

Now that you understand what independent living is all about, it’s time to tour the facilities and decide which one is best. These questions may be able to help you research independent living near you:

What is the average age of the residents?

Being considered a “senior” is a wide age range, so you’ll want to make sure that the other neighbors are similar in age. Sometimes, seniors-only communities provide the best place to meet new friends!

What kinds of amenities do the communities offer?

Amenities are very important to some seniors. For example, large clubhouses may be preferred if the senior wants a social place to gather, or maybe if fitness is important to the senior, then a nearby gym is important.

What kinds of social activities are offered?

Is the senior a social butterfly or more of an introvert? Make sure the calendar of activities are things that pique curiosity and foster a sense of community. 

How are the meals handled?

Determine if the senior would like to cook on their own or eat in a dining room with other residents. If choosing the latter, look at the menu and ask about any diet restrictions. 

Are pets allowed?

Find out if residents are allowed to bring furry friends along.

What are the safety protocols?

Security should be around 24 hours a day, but be sure to ask about nights, weekends, holidays, and emergency services. Not only this, you should also ask about safety measures taken for pandemic response (such as COVID-19).

What is covered by the monthly fees?

This is often a tricky situation, but try to find out if there are any surprise charges before moving in.


Independent living for seniors is a big industry with a lot of options.

Finding the right facility for you or a loved one can be overwhelming. Talk to the experts at Select Senior Communities to find out what to look for. Search for a community today! 

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