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4 Types of Retirement Communities

Written by: Jody Adams
Last updated: March 25, 2024

Perhaps you’ve concluded that an elderly family member can no longer take care of themselves and needs to be placed in a retirement community. Deciding on a retirement facility is undoubtedly challenging, affecting your loved ones’ health and longevity, quality of life, and finances. However, with proper research and communication, you can choose one that brings peace of mind while maintaining your senior citizen’s independence and health. 

According to statistics, the senior housing occupancy rate in the US is around 82.2%, and many individuals consider it a viable option when the time is right. Keep reading as we explain what retirement communities entail and the various types of retirement communities you can choose from. 

What Is a Retirement Community?

A retirement community refers to a community created just for seniors which offers the following:

  • A secure housing choice
  • Amenities catering to seniors
  • Community and friendship
  • Conveniences such as restaurants or stores
  • Unit design features that make daily living easier
  • Age restrictions on who can live in the home 

Types of Retirement Communities

In this section, we’ll look at some categories of retirement communities:

  1. Assisted Living

If you don’t require much medical attention, an assisted living community might be the right choice for you. You can obtain some assistance with taking medications, bathing, or getting dressed and live in your own space within a one or two-bedroom unit. Housekeeping services and meals can be added to your plan for an additional fee. 

With assisted living, you don’t have to worry about feeling lonely because the staff is always available, hosting activities and get-togethers to keep residents connected and engaged. You can also avail transportation for shopping and medical appointments, enabling seniors to receive support while remaining independent. 

Additionally, it would be best to check your state’s licensing guidelines because each state has its own requirements. This type of retirement community is more expensive than independent living communities due to the extra level of care. 

  1. Memory Care Facilities

These facilities are an extension of an assisted living community or a nursing home, specifically looking after people suffering from dementia. They include security features and a large supervising staff to prevent residents from wandering outside and getting lost. If your elderly loved one is experiencing signs of memory loss, you can check out places like because their staff is trained in caring for people with such health problems. 

Memory care can be added as an extra service at assisted living facilities and is one of the most expensive types of care for older adults because of the high level of personalization and supervision. Still, the cost of this care depends on the facility’s location, your loved one’s medical needs, and the kind of care provided. 

  1. Nursing Homes

Older adults might need to be shifted to a nursing home once they can no longer care for themselves. These institutions offer 24/7 medical care for people with cognitive, functional, and medical impairments and those who are wheelchair-bound or bedridden. 

Planning for a nursing home stay ahead of time by considering your health insurance, long-term care insurance, pension, and retirement savings is ideal since they can take a considerable chunk out of your wallet. An excellent way to tackle these healthcare costs is by investing in permanent life insurance, which will cover most of your expenses. 

  1. Independent Home

Independent homes, also known as ‘over 55’ housing areas, include senior apartments or active older adult communities. Whether the facilities entail free-standing condos or apartments, this retirement community is for seniors who can navigate their daily living activities and don’t need additional medical care. 

Independent homes are great for boosting your social network, providing community game nights, amenities, and more perks. Since everyone here is in the same life stage, it’s easier to communicate and make friends, leading to decreased depression and better health for your elderly loved ones. 

They can enjoy arts and crafts, movie nights, and holiday gatherings while getting daily housekeeping, laundry services, and hot meals. As with an apartment or a house, you might have to put in a down payment or sign an agreement with terms and conditions. 


Retirement is no easy feat; most people feel overwhelmed and are unsure about what life holds next. How to access health care and where to live might be one of the biggest and hardest decisions you’ll have to make for a loved one. 

If you think it’s time to help an elder transition from living with you to moving into a retirement community, thoroughly go through this article and pick the type of healthcare facility that can effectively cater to their needs and problems.

Jody Adams
Jody Adams is an accomplished editor-in-chief with a deep understanding of social care and government benefits issues. With a background in journalism and a master's degree in Public Policy, Jody has spent her career shaping the narrative around social policies and their impact on society. She has worked with renowned publications, effectively bridging the gap between complex policy analysis and public understanding. Jody's editorial expertise ensures that vital information on social care and government benefits reaches a broad audience, empowering individuals to make informed decisions.
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