Independent living communities are designed for seniors who need little assistance with the duties of daily life and who seek the conveniences and social aspects of community.

Also known as retirement communities, congregate living, or senior apartments, some of these facilities offer a lifestyle filled with recreational, educational, and social opportunities alongside fellow seniors; while others provide housing with only a minimal amount of amenities or services.

Both types of independent living communities allow seniors more time to relax, without the worries of home maintenance and yard work. However, residents still get to furnish and decorate their homes as they like, and they can choose exactly how they want to spend their time.

Some independent living communities offer recreational facilities including pools, exercise equipment, clubhouses, and reading lounges. Communities may also provide laundry facilities, linen service, meals, local transportation and planned social activities.

Maintenance is usually provided by the community.

Independent living communities usually don’t provide healthcare or help with medication, but many communities will allow residents to receive assistance from a home health aide or nurse who comes into their apartment. Most communities don’t provide help or assistance with getting dressed or grooming, so if day-to-day tasks are troublesome, independent living might not be the right fit.

Prices vary depending on location. Most independent living communities charge market rates, but there are subsidized senior communities catering to seniors with low incomes. Floor plans and boarding options also factor into the final price. For those looking to reduce monthly costs, semi-private and shared senior apartments are worthy of consideration.

For independent living communities that provide amenities and services, monthly rent may cover housekeeping, laundry, and transportation services. However, some communities offer these services on an a la carte basis.

Make sure to check with each independent living community to get information on individual costs and services.