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Active adult is the new norm in retirement living

Active adult communities (also called a variety of other names, such as adult lifestyle communities and others) are a blossoming trend in housing. These are ideal for those who have emptied the nest and are looking to downsize or reinvest the equity in their family home.  These are not retirement communities in any traditional sense, and communities have no true age restriction; people may move in in their late 40s, for example. Active adult might also be known as resort communities, 55 plus, bungalow retirement communities and many other names. Homes can be single-family dwellings, mobile or manufactured homes, cluster housing, condo style housing or special subdivisions. Occupants lease or purchase the residence and enjoy an independent lifestyle with their neighbors. These communities have features and activities that older adults find fulfilling and enjoyable. From indoor swimming pools and lush golf courses to onsite shopping and transportation, active adult communities suit the needs of healthy and active seniors.

Independent living facilities, on another hand, are housing units designed specifically for seniors, often with an age limit around 65. Residents of independent living facilities care for themselves and live independently in a secure environment of their peers. These residents usually do not require assistance with day-to-day activities, but may use services of a care provider as required.

The key difference between independent living and other housing options is the degree of overall assistance in daily living activities. While seniors in independent living homes take care of the majority of their own needs, they may be offered meals, laundry services, linen delivery and planned activities. However, if one requires round-the-clock help with eating, dressing, and using the toilet, or requires regular medical assistance, other housing options such as assisted living or nursing homes may be a better option. Active adult living is limited in the type of care options available to seniors and the focus of housing is on seniors who are, as implied by the name, very active.

Independent living offers a good deal of comfort, security and safety but medical care is limited. Meals, housekeeping, transportation, and planned social activities are offered to seniors. There are many types of independent living facilities, from apartment complexes to separate houses. Continuing care retirement facilities provide independent living as well as other types of senior housing with more services at the same facility.

With the aging of the baby boomer generation, both active adult and independent living options are getting equally popular. Many independent adults who do not need care opt for active adult living while seniors who may need some care services can choose from the wide range of homes that offer independent living.

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