It’s common for many adults, whether fully or partially retired, to look forward to the next part of life when they have more free time to pursue interests, hobbies, and other passions. Only 20 years ago, those on the verge of their 60s were not necessarily considering senior living as a part of their future plans. Today, however, senior living communities are a viable part of daydreaming about life after 55 years old.
Thanks to the introduction of active senior living communities, people are beginning to realize that the right community can mean more friends, fewer responsibilities, and better health. So, what exactly is active senior living, and how does it differ from the “nursing homes” of decades ago? Here’s what you need to know so you can decide if active senior living is your best fit.
What is active senior living?
The term “active senior living” is used to describe any community where independent adults rent their own home or apartment that bundles a range of amenities, services, and resources that can positively contribute to overall wellness. Active senior living communities are all about enhancing opportunities—not telling residents what to do—which means you’ll always be able to decide what comes next, whether that is a meal, an event, or an opportunity.
The decisions begin with the type of home and floor plan. Many active senior living communities have a variety of home types available, from apartments to villas, each with a variety of floor plans that include modern appliances and high-end finishes. Though it’s similar to a homeowner association where residents don’t have to worry about lawn maintenance or snow removal, active senior living communities go well above and beyond the traditional offerings of an HOA.
Perhaps the biggest perk of living in an active senior living community is the opportunity to live among other active adults. This provides residents with the health and wellness benefits of a social connection with like-minded and diverse range of neighbors. Wellness becomes a bit more convenient when you create friendships with people who live nearby and are ready to cheer you on, meet up for a walk, or try a new group exercise class with you.
What amenities and resources do active senior living communities offer?
Residents in an active senior living community can expect to have maintenance-free living in addition to access to amenities, services, and resources that enhance life and make healthy decisions even easier to make.
Most active senior living communities offer maintenance-free living. Residents do not need to worry about maintaining their home or the grounds of the campus. Instead, the community takes care of tasks such as snow removal and landscaping. Many communities also offer housekeeping services that are included in the monthly fee to live there; residents can enjoy cleaning services regularly that are provided by vetted community team members at no additional cost.
Bundled Rates & Options
Residents at active senior communities benefit from the consolidation of bills into one monthly fee. Beyond the convenience this creates, one benefit that is often overlooked is the purchasing power of the community environment passing savings directly on to residents. Instead of paying an individual for services in a single-family home, active adult communities contract for steep bulk rate discounts across every service area. Plus, many include options for residents to increase or decrease services like dining on an as-needed basis.
Another popular amenity among active senior living residents is concierge services. With more and more senior living communities finding ways to incorporate hospitality-focused amenities, the concierge service perk allows residents to always have access to a friendly team who is ready to help.
Concierge services can assist residents with making dinner reservations at any of the community’s on-site restaurants, scheduling an appointment at the salon, getting more details about an upcoming trip, or even finding information and inspiration for where to take their visiting family members.
The concierge team also often works closely with the community’s transportation service, setting up a ride with a friendly driver when the resident doesn’t want to deal with driving themselves or finding parking.
Variety of Events and Entertainment
Events in the community are one more way active communities encourage friendships and new experiences. Events can range from live outdoor concerts and local history lectures to wine tastings and international trips and are based on the interests of the residents who live at the community. It’s easy to make a new friend when you share an experience together.
Finally, active senior living residents enjoy the opportunity to skip preparing their own meal and instead head to any of the on-site restaurants to enjoy a delicious chef-prepared meal with friends. Most communities have multiple dining options on campus, including quick grab-and-go bistros, as well as flexible dining plans so that residents always have a choice of what and where to eat next.
Is active senior living right for you?
Being a resident at an active senior living community could be the next best decision you make for your future. But, how can you know if you are making a wise decision or if you will fit in? Here are a few questions to ask yourself. A “yes” or “maybe” answer could indicate you would flourish in community life.
- Am I already spending an increasing amount of resources on services that could be bundled at a community?
- Do I feel lonely sometimes or wish I could expand my social circle?
- Would I be more likely to take a neighborhood stroll if my community had well-maintained trails and if I had a neighbor to join me and keep me accountable?
- Could I benefit from having a fitness center nearby?
- Would I be more likely to eat healthy if there was an on-site restaurant that served healthy dishes?
What about “independent living”?
Active senior living can look different from community to community. A common concern for independent living is if an independent living community will have as many luxury amenities on its campus as an active adult community. Residents quickly find that independent living communities give the perfect balance of independence and amenities to enjoy.
Independent living communities feature multiple floor plans to choose from, including apartment homes and villas. Residents pay a monthly fee that includes access to all amenities, flexible dining plans, and services. Most communities include luxury amenities such as swimming pools, spa and salon services, multiple dining venues, state-of-the-art fitness centers, and access to health and wellness resources such as on-site physical and occupational therapy.
Residents who live in senior living are all unique, bringing their own history and experiences to the community. However, most are ready to live an even more engaging and healthy life.
What if I need more support?
If you are living with chronic pain or a complex medical condition that could have you needing support now or in the future, you can still experience active senior living in a different type of community. There are other senior living options that can serve those with more complex needs.
Assisted living communities, for example, are vibrant and active, giving residents personalized support from around-the-clock caregivers. While it might seem that assisted living is less independent than other active senior living communities, it is important to note that the right amount of assistance can actually increase self-esteem, feelings of empowerment, and energy, leading to more independence.
Assisted living communities typically have amenities, services, and resources that are similar to independent living and can include an art workshop, theater, transportation services, and a range of events and entertainment held throughout the week.
When is it time for assisted living? Typically, residents who are struggling with activities of daily living, such as dressing or showering, will find assisted living gives them the right amount of help to feel their best during the day.
What comes next?
If you are researching active senior living and you are curious about what comes next, don’t wait to begin calling and touring communities. It’s not uncommon for seniors and their family to search a range options over a longer period of time, often testing services like dining, meeting residents and staff, participating in events. This gives them ample opportunity to learn about the different services and amenities offered by each community in their area. Many seniors even find peace-of-mind in joining a waiting list at the community of their choice for a reasonable, often fully refundable, deposit.
Senior living gives you the chance to take advantage of amenities and services designed to keep you feeling your best. The sooner you find a community you love, the sooner you can move in and begin to experience the lifestyle you’ve dreamed of.
Ready to learn more about our active senior living communities? Find a community near you.