Senior friends using a laptop and tablet.

55+ Communities vs. Independent Living: Which One is Right for You?

For homeowners approaching or in retirement, the joys of homeownership tend to fade with each passing year. Mowing the grass, raking the leaves, replacing the roof, and repairing the air conditioner can become pains in the neck, back and wallet. It’s enough to make you seriously consider a move to a retirement community. But with so many options, which one is right for you?

To answer that question, it helps to know what your priorities are. Do you simply want to relieve yourself of home maintenance and move to a 55+ community where you can spend more time living an independent lifestyle? Or are you looking further ahead and want a plan in place for future health care needs so you don’t have to worry about moving again if the need arises.

To help answer these questions, we’ve outlined the pros and cons of both 55+ communities and independent living.



Maintenance-free exteriors: Residents don’t have to worry about mowing the grass or raking the leaves. All exterior maintenance, including painting and roof repairs, are included when you live in a 55+ community.

Social connection: Active adults who move to a 55+ community generally have a lot in common and wonderful friendships can result. Some communities offer more social activities than others, such as fitness classes, book clubs, potlucks, daytrips  and dinners out on the town.

Amenities: These can vary greatly from one community to the next. Generally, most 55+ communities will have a clubhouse, gym and a pool. Others may offer tennis courts, walking trails, bocce courts, billiards room, library, salon, and a bistro or dining room.  

Security: A 55+ community will typically have on-site security patrols and some offer the physical security of a gated neighborhood, especially those with walkable streets and single-family homes.


No on-site health care: If you or your spouse needs a higher level of care, you could have to move again or pay for both the 55+ community and any needed care.

Taxes and utilities: You’re responsible for real estate taxes if you buy your home, in addition to insurance, garbage collection, inside maintenance, appliances, utilities, internet service and cable/satellite TV. HOA fees typically cover exterior maintenance.

Meals not included: 55+ communities don’t typically include meal plans, so grocery shopping, meal planning and cooking are up to you. However, most 55+ communities are located close to shopping centers and restaurants.



Maintenance-free lifestyle: All exterior and interior maintenance is included, as well as weekly housekeeping. If your faucet drips or your fridge goes on the fritz, one call to the front desk is all it takes to get it fixed.

Social connection: Opportunities to connect with other residents are built into daily life. From scheduled programs and activities to informal get-togethers with friends, opportunities to connect and share experiences are easy to find. It’s what makes independent living in a community like ours so engaging and supportive. 

Casual and fine dining options: You won’t have to cook as many meals as an independent living resident. Instead, you can enjoy restaurant-quality dining experiences and a variety of menu options featuring fresh, seasonal ingredients. You’ll also have access to more casual bistro-style fare and healthy grab-and-go options.

A life of freedom and choices: Free from the responsibilities of homeownership, you’ll have more time to do things you enjoy. You’ll also have more opportunities to pursue new interests — practicing yoga, singing in the choir, painting, serving on a resident committee, or enjoying cultural activities.

Access to care: Independent living is designed for older adults who are relatively healthy and active. But even the healthiest of seniors can suddenly be facing an unexpected health challenge. At a Life Plan Community such as Canterbury Court, independent living residents have a plan for future health care, including priority access to assisted living, skilled nursing and rehabilitation, if ever needed. It gives residents and their families added confidence and peace of mind about whatever the future may bring.


Upfront costs: While upfront costs at a rental community are nominal, independent living residents at a Life Plan Community pay a substantial one-time entrance fee. The higher upfront price tag takes future care into account. Depending on the type of contract offered at a Life Plan Community, you could save thousands of dollars in future health care costs. You also may be able to choose a contract option that refunds a portion of your entrance fee to your estate.

Questions? Get expert answers at Canterbury Court.

The more you know about your senior living options, the easier it’ll be to choose the community that’s right for you. To learn more or schedule a tour, get in touch. We’d love to get to know you better and tell you how you can reserve a brand-new independent living apartment home now under construction.