Seniors sitting in front of fireplace talking

What Is Independent Senior Living?

This educational article was written by the team at Hawthorn Senior Living.

Is Independent Living the right choice for you?

As we age, the idea of maintaining our independence becomes more and more important. That’s where independent senior living comes in. If you’re considering this retirement lifestyle choice for yourself or a loved one, you’ve come to the right place. In this blog post, we’ll explore the benefits of senior living.

From social activities to dining choices and unique floor plans, independent living offers a world of possibilities. So, let’s dive in and discover if it’s the right choice for you.

Our homes are filled with memories of family, friends and good times. Homes reflect who we are. Homes reflect our stories and our journeys. And while changing your living space, cleaning out your closets, and starting a new chapter can sound frightening, the move to independent senior living can be the catalyst that helps you live vibrantly while protecting your health, happiness and future.

Statement of Fairness: Considering senior living options for yourself or a loved one? We’re here to help at every step. And even though we specialize in Independent and Assisted Living communities, our goal is for YOU to find your best path to gracious retirement living, and part of how we achieve that is by providing reliable information on all types of senior living, not just the ones we offer. When our offerings serve as useful illustrations to a specific topic, you can find that information in the attached sidebar.

What is Independent Senior Living?

If you’re an older adult who doesn’t need help with daily living routines – like dressing, hygiene and medication management – independent retirement facilities were built with you in mind. These communities are designed to give older adults a sense of belonging, a safe place to live, social opportunities, and programs that meet their physical and emotional needs.

Can you relate to any of these common retirement concerns?

Being alone.

As we age, it’s not uncommon to find ourselves spending more time alone. We simply don’t have as many social connections as we used to, and being alone can be difficult.

Staying mentally and physically active.

A healthy lifestyle can prevent or slow down change to maintain energy, mental clarity and physical resilience.

Home upkeep.

If your home care still includes mowing the lawn, shopping for groceries, washing the floors, doing laundry and tidying up, your to-do list never ends. Finding reliable and affordable help takes time, research and scheduling.


When someone rings your doorbell, what’s your first thought? If crime statistics have put you on alert, living alone can disrupt your sense of security, no matter how nice your neighborhood is or how long you’ve been living there.

Financial security.

Close up of woman putting money in a jar

Whether you’re a renter or a homeowner, rising housing costs and taxes can place a significant burden on your fixed-income household, according to a Bipartisan Policy Center study cited by the US Department of Housing.

If you’re nodding your head, you’re not alone. We talk to a lot of older adults who tell us the same things about the cost of living. The latest US census tells us that nearly a third of older adults live alone in America. That equates to about 14 million people who share your concerns.

We know the choices, research, and all the phone calls and visits can feel downright overwhelming, so let’s start with the facts about independent senior living.

What are the benefits of independent living?

Senior couple walking and smiling

Communities offer a long list of goodies. Adults looking for positive, healthy aging in independent living facilities enjoy:

  • Maintenance-free accommodations
  • Housekeeping
  • Transportation
  • Safety and security

Are there different kinds of senior independent housing?

Group of friends walking in the park

Depending on your lifestyle and budget and whether you require extra services, you can buy or rent a home, condominium, townhouse or apartment, along with extra storage space.

As you begin your research on your senior living options, you’ll find three kinds of housing.

55+ communities.

A 55+ community, also known as an active adult community, is a residential neighborhood in which you buy a home designed specifically for adults age 55 and older. These communities typically offer a range of amenities and services tailored to the interests of this age group, such as recreational facilities, fitness centers, golf courses, social clubs and organized activities. The goal is to create an environment for residents who are retired or nearing retirement age. Many 55+ communities also offer maintenance-free living options for residents who prefer to spend their time pursuing hobbies and interests rather than maintaining a large home and yard.

If you buy a home in a 55+ community, you’ll have far less maintenance to do, although you may find the homeowners association fees high, and your options can be limited.

Continuing care retirement communities.

Independent living in a Continuing Care Retirement Community (CCRC) offers seniors the opportunity to maintain their independence while also having access to a range of supportive services as they age.

CCRCs often have a tiered system of care that allows residents to move from independent living to assisted living or even skilled nursing care if needed without having to leave the community.

What is dining like in senior independent living?

What is there to do when you live in a retirement community?

Activity Coordinators put together a full schedule of things to do with lots of opportunities to socialize. Calendars fill up with arts, crafts, games, fitness classes, parties, holiday celebrations, outings, workshops, clubs and classes. The list goes on and on.

What services do senior living facilities offer?

Depending on where you live, light housekeeping and laundry services may be available as part of your monthly payments or for an extra fee. Washers and dryers are available in some residences.

Seniors can hop on the transportation bus to local events, appointments and shopping.