Why 55+ Communities May Not Be the Right Choice for Independent Living

Two senior women hold coffee cups while chatting on the front porch

Throughout life, you’ve chosen where you lived for specific reasons. You may have prioritized a neighborhood with excellent schools or a community just a short drive from your office. As a retiree, where you live still matters. In fact, it may matter more than ever.

The idea of a seniors-only community appeals to many retirees who want worry-free living and less of the commotion that comes with living near busy, young families. However, not all senior living communities are the same. In fact, two of the most common options for independent living, 55+ communities and continuing care retirement communities (CCRCs or lifecare communities), are actually quite different.

What is a 55+ Community?

Put simply, a 55+ community is an age-restricted neighborhood in which at least one of the home’s residents is at least 55 years old. The specific rules vary, but generally, it’s a community designed with the interests and needs of senior residents in mind.

One of the biggest advantages of a 55+ community is your neighbors, who are all in the same stage of life and offer great potential for filling the social void you may experience once you leave the workforce. Many of these communities also provide exterior maintenance, such as lawn care and home repairs, which appeals to seniors who are looking forward to less responsibility in retirement. These communities typically cater to active adults, providing neighborhood amenities such as golf courses, pools and clubhouses for socializing and entertaining.

Indeed, there are many reasons seniors are attracted to the idea of living in a 55+ community. However, it’s what they don’t offer that may have you thinking twice.

Why a CCRC May Be the Better Choice

For many seniors, planning for retirement means deciding where and how you want to live the rest of your life. A lifecare community, or CCRC, is designed to help you do exactly that. Living in a CCRC means you (and your loved ones) have peace of mind knowing you have a home and care for life.

A CRRC accounts for future health needs.

As a resident of a lifecare community, you can rest assured you’ll have priority access to additional levels of care  as your health changes over time. That means you’ll remain in familiar surroundings, close to your friends, while getting the support you need to age successfully, whether that’s in assisted living, memory care or skilled nursing.

Fees offer long-term benefits.

In a 55+ community, you can expect to pay hefty HOA fees for community services and upkeep, but if you leave the community, that investment is gone. In a CCRC, on the other hand, a portion of your fees may be refunded, whether to you or to your estate. For example, at Legacy Pointe at UCF, entrance fees are up to 90% refundable. This means in addition to enjoying all the services and amenities while you’re living in the community, you’re also protecting your estate for your heirs. In addition, a portion of your fees may qualify as prepaid long-term care costs, which may give you tax deductions.

Expanded services offer greater freedom.

In a CCRC, you can expect to pay a monthly fee for many of the same services and amenities as a 55+ community, but usually that monthly fee covers much, much more. For example, you can expect help with housekeeping (not just exterior maintenance) for true maintenance-free living, so your leisure time is yours to enjoy. Depending on your meal plan, you’ll spend less time on food prep and cleanup. In addition, monthly fees commonly include scheduled transportation, so maintaining a private vehicle is more a choice than a necessity.

Wellness is a major focus.

You may find some similarities in the resort-style amenities and social programming when comparing independent living options. However, in a CCRC, the emphasis on wellness is greater, and you can expect personalized support to help you achieve your wellness goals. At Legacy Pointe at UCF, physical therapists work closely with residents to monitor their agility, balance and mobility, and create programs that help them stay strong and active. Beyond physical wellness, intellectual, spiritual and social stimulation are all part of the rewarding culture.

Find the Right CCRC for You

Once you understand the advantages of living in a CCRC, you may wonder how to find the best fit for you. Conveniently located near the University of Central Florida (UCF) in Orlando, Legacy Pointe at UCF is a lifecare community that offers many unique benefits due to its affiliation with the university.

Residents enjoy rewarding lifelong education opportunities, along with access to concerts, plays and other live performances on campus. What’s more, UCF’s Rosen College of Hospitality Management influences every facet of hospitality, from fitness training to dining service.  

Contact us to learn more about this independent living community where you can begin enjoying a purposeful senior lifestyle right away, confident that your future is secure, as well.

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