When retirement communities first opened up they targeted a population that was active, self-reliant and capable of living independently. The definitions have become a little broader as the original residents have aged and have started needing more assistance. It is impossible for a community to maintain a truly independent status when people begin to require more and more assistance.
A retirement community can consist of studios apartments, cottages and townhouse, or even mid and high-rise apartment houses. Many of these communities offer communal activities, meal plans, security and other services. However, they do not include medical care. In many states, the owners are not required to have a licensed and therefore, are not subject to the rules and guidelines that apply to other types of housing communities. This means that any one can open an Independent Retirement Community and operate it any way they choose.
Independent Retirement Communities are on the other end of the spectrum from the Resort Communities. Living in a high-rise or similar settings are the independent types that want to stay in their own homes, although no longer in their old houses. They want to enjoy the easier upkeep and the additional bonus of more security without all of the rules and regulations of some of the buy-in communities. These apartments can be rented or purchased. Generally speaking, whatever the form of ownership, they involve a monthly fee (for maintenance or common charges) but you have a home that is all yours.
You might not think so, but conclaves like this foster a sense of community and people treat each other like neighbors. They keep an eye on one another and if an emergency does occur there is someone near by to you help out. Isolation need never be a problem, if you don’t want to be isolated. In addition to your neighbors, there are the people who work there, who will notice if you deviate from your usual routines and may phone to check up on you. In communities with a significant numbers of senior citizens (known technically as Naturally Occurring Retirement Communities, or NORC’s) the building might provide van services, meal plans, or a variety of other services.
All of these communities fulfill a need, but if you looking to move into a new apartment because you already need help with activities of daily living you might want to think more positively about places with a graduating care level of assistance included in the package. The Independent Retirement Community was conceived and designed for the active senior so be thinking of it as a planned adult community without the golf course.
Everything You Need to Know About Retirement Housing by Joan Cleveland
Moving Mom and Dad by Sarah Morse and Donna Quinn Roberts