Types of Retirement Living Options

If you are nearing retirement and beginning to plan, or already in retirement but evaluating your current situation, congratulations to you for being a planner. Just by deciding to plan, you’re already taking a valuable first step to living a fulfilling and enjoyable retirement. After all, these are supposed to be the best years of your life – you deserve an opportunity to make the most of your experience.

As you do your research, you will come across different retirement living options to choose from. We’d like to help make these options a little clearer for you. Follow along as we break down some things you need to know about the different types of retirement living options, including:

  • Aging in Place
  • Single Service Rental Retirement Communities
  • 55+ Active Adult Communities
  • Life Plan Communities (a.k.a. CCRCs)

Aging in Place

This sort of retirement lifestyle is one of the most common, simply because it requires little-to-no effort, as you remain living in your current home.

Some Advantages:

  • Familiarity: Any routines you’ve built or friendships with neighbors remain intact, and you don’t have to worry about moving somewhere else and meeting new people.
  • Avoid moving costs (both financially and emotionally): You get to keep the memories you’ve built in your current home while also foregoing any costs that might come with a move. This includes things like packing boxes, paying a moving crew, renting a truck, and any other arrangements you might have to make.

Some Disadvantages:

  • No skilled help if health issues arise: We all inevitably reach an age where having another set of hands around the house goes a long way. And while our kids may offer to help, it may not be a sustainable solution. Plus, paying for at-home skilled care can become expensive over time.
  • The maintenance of home ownership: Being a homeowner comes with an extensive list of chores: cleaning gutters, shoveling the driveway, lawn care, leaky ceilings, or flooding basements, to name a few. Hiring help can add up quickly, and handling yourself becomes more difficult as you age.
  • Feeling lonely/lack of a social life: As friends move away to be closer to their children, move to retirement communities, or sadly, pass away, your social life becomes less of a priority. Over time, many retirees find themselves feeling isolated, which has shown a significant correlation to the development of memory-loss related diseases.

Single Service Rental Retirement Communities

Commonly referred to as “free-standing” communities, this is one of the more popular rental retirement living options on the market. However, because these types of communities are broken down into subsets (independent living, assisted living, skilled nursing, etc.), each with their own positives and negatives, we’ll focus on the overall benefits and downsides:

The Main Advantage: This type of community generally runs under an “a la carte” payment structure. That is, you only pay for what you need. This means you avoid paying for an all-in-one package and, instead, only purchase the services that you deem necessary, often allowing for the opportunity to save a few dollars throughout the year, at least initially.

The Main Disadvantage: Rental communities are exactly as they sound – short-term solutions. Unfortunately for older retirees, that means should any health needs arise, you (or your family) will have no choice but to find a new community that provides the services you need. And, as mentioned earlier, in this setup, you’ll be stuck paying for everything out-of-pocket and at market rate.

Additionally, many of these communities have a long waiting list, often forcing families to find an interim solution.

55+ Active Adult Communities

Residents of these communities can enjoy a neighborhood atmosphere of active adults just like them. Each community comes with some rules around lifestyle choices and security, and in all cases, there is a minimum age requirement to live here.

The Advantages:

  • Hotel-style amenities: In the spirit of fun, most of these communities offer a wide variety of amenities to help you stay active, both physically and socially. This includes things like clubs, fitness/wellness classes, indoor and outdoor gathering areas, and much more.
  • No burdens of maintenance: Residents of active adult communities can often completely avoid the annoyances of home upkeep. Instead, a team of experts handle most interior and exterior issues that arise throughout the year.

The Disadvantages:

  • No higher levels of care available: As we age, we often find ourselves needing an increased amount of care to maintain our day-to-day lives. At your standard active adult community, this sort of care is not readily available and can sometimes require another inconvenient move to another home to receive the level of care required.
  • Rules and Regulations: Most 55+ communities have a lengthy list of rules that residents are required to follow, which can often restrict things like visiting times and lead to fines being imposed on the resident by the HOA within the community.

Life Plan Communities (also known as CCRCs)

Life Plan Communities, or Continuing Care Retirement Communities (CCRCs), offer retirees the full package, covering all stages of retirement living from independent living to skilled nursing care. From healthcare benefits to financial advantages, there’s a lot to like about this style of community:

Amenities and Services

Life Plan Communities are well-known for offering a diverse range of amenities and services that are included in your monthly fees. Here’s some of the more common ones you’ll find at most Life Plan Communities:

  • Home and outdoor maintenance
  • Multiple on-campus dining venues and rotating menu options
  • Outdoor shared areas
  • A modern and fully equipped fitness center
  • A heated swimming pool and spa
  • On-campus activities including clubs, committees, and educational opportunities
  • Transportation services

Health Benefits

The advantages of having a community that offers multiple levels of care as you age are invaluable. Here is a breakdown of what that looks like:

  • Independent Living: While many do not consider this a level of care, there are a wealth of health benefits associated with living at a CCRC when you don’t have health needs. Most CCRC’s offer a wide range of on- and off-campus activities, social opportunities, healthy dining options and more to keep you healthy and independent.
  • Assisted Living: With a focus on supporting and advocating for the autonomy of each resident, Assisted Living staff are also there to serve as an extension of the resident and their family members, especially if daily activities become challenging and assist with both non-medical and medical needs.
  • Skilled Nursing/Rehab: Residents recovering from an injury, surgery, or severe illness can trust in the care of a 24-hour skilled nursing and rehabilitation team. This usually includes a staff of on-campus RNs, LPNs, and other certified medical providers who are there to offer physical and speech-related therapies.
  • Memory Care: For residents who show signs of cognitive, or memory impairment related to dementia or Alzheimer’s, this segment of care deploys the latest in therapies and medical protocols and gives a sense of dignity to the resident and peace of mind to their family.

Financial Benefits

Most Life Plan Community residents typically end up saving money over time once all aspects of living are accounted for – even if they seem costly on paper at first. Here’s some financial advantages to consider:

  • Refundable Entrance Fee: Most Life Plan Communities offer some type of refundable entrance fee, so residents can rest assured that a substantial portion of their deposit will be returned to them or their estate.
  • Predictable Monthly Fees: Unlike living at home where a bad pipe or leaky roof can cause unexpected monthly expenses, maintenance and upkeep costs are included in your monthly fee, making them predictable and therefore more easily managed. These monthly fees include everything from rent to your dining plan, access to amenities, and more.
  • Tax Advantages: Most states offer tax deductions for living in Life Plan Communities, with many even allowing residents to deduct a portion of their fees. Speak to a tax advisor for more information on your specific situation.


If you’re already researching retirement options, look at The Ormsby, a Life Plan Community coming to Northern Kentucky. For more information, please contact us through our website, or by calling us at 1-859-331-1490.

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