Header image: independent living retirement community


Many talk about retirement lifestyles and the benefits of an independent living retirement community, but deciding where to move can be difficult.

Is independent living the right choice? What is it actually like to live at the communities you’re considering? How does the lifestyle at a Life Plan community (also called a Continuing Care Retirement Community or CCRC) compare to other types of communities?

It’s easy to compare amenities, but how do you compare lifestyles?

Asking questions can help you make an educated decision. By understanding the differences and how each one impacts lifestyle, you’re able to choose the retirement you want, instead of allowing circumstances to decide for you.

Housing and care versus lifestyle

Like anything else, there’s a wide spectrum of differences from one retirement community to another. Making a choice isn’t limited to physical location of the community. Each independent living community offers a different lifestyle, care options and housing choices, so answering certain questions can help you get a clearer picture of the community.

  • Are you looking for month-to-month or entrance fee community?
  • Is the location right for you?
  • Do you like the dining options?
  • What is the culture like?
  • Does it offer on-campus continuum of choices?
  • What care options are available?
  • What are the costs?
  • How good is the quality of care?
  • Are the housing options the right level of luxury or practicality for your budget and expectations?
  • What happens if you’re no longer able to continue living independently?

What is the community really like?

Asking questions is a fantastic start. To take it a step further and get a deeper understanding of what it’s actually like to live at a particular community, it’s important to take a tour, perhaps even several times since you will glean different things from each visit, and continue asking questions each visit. Why not take time to speak with residents you encounter along the way, too, so you learn enough about each community to judge if its lifestyle is the right fit?  

After all, you’re not putting yourself out to pasture, sitting in a condo or apartment waiting for bingo or the cafeteria to open. You’re finding a new place to live that allows you to continue the vibrant, independent lifestyle you want to maintain among people you can connect with.

Make your research count, so you end up exactly where you want to be.

Learn more about how Arizona’s retirement lifestyle has evolved.

How is a Life Plan community different?

Whether to choose an independent living community or not isn’t your only decision—options exist within that category, too, and each one can have a drastic impact on the lifestyle of the community.

Times have changed and most retirement communities are a far cry from what they were in year’s past.

Life Plan communities in particular are focused on a lifestyle of health and wellness that allows residents to live independently as long as possible. Assisted living, skilled care and memory care are available on the campus of a Life Plan community–but just as importantly, the community lifestyle revolves around keeping you out of the care facilities, rather than in them.

Lovely amenities such as indoor walking tracks, vibrant book clubs and travel outings, yoga and wellbeing classes, social and intellectual activities, and other pursuits at many Life Plan communities are particularly appealing to more youthful older adults who pride themselves on remaining active.

Is it for you? The only way to tell is by touring a Life Plan community to see for yourself. It’s certainly an option worth exploring.

This type of community generally requires residents to obtain medical and financial approval for acceptance into the community, and includes an entrance  fee.  If you’re seeking an environment based on optimal living, a Life Plan community could be ideal.

Ready to learn more about your retirement lifestyle options? Register for a Life Care workshop today and bring your questions!

To speak to someone directly, please contact Jackie Lusson, our corporate director of sales, at 623-236-3767 or Jackie.Lusson@sunhealthsl.org.

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