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StyleCraft Blog

What is the Difference Between Independent Living and an Active-Adult Community?

May 11, 2021

Maybe you’re realizing the benefits of living in a community with those traveling in the same lane of life as you. Or you’re helping a friend or family member make that decision. Either way, the first step is to explore the available types of senior living communities.

While the language itself may not suggest it, there is a big difference between defining what is an independent living facility and answering — how do 55 plus communities work? At StyleCraft Homes, we only build the latter: 55-plus communities for Active-Adults. These are part of our “Freestyle Lifestyle,” aptly named homes and communities where we handle to-dos including lawn care and design inviting amenities such as pools and clubhouses.

This article will take a closer look at our Freestyle communities, outlining their benefits while clearly showing how they’re different from other types of senior living facilities.


Senior housing, similar to types of senior living, is an umbrella term applicable to both the real estate market and the service industry. So, while the actual housing being referenced can range widely, the term is generally perceived to comprise communities and campuses offering services, facilities, and programs that are geared toward making life easier and more convenient as you age.


As we mentioned, what is independent living for seniors can come by many names. Let’s take a closer look at two of them.

First, let’s define an independent living facility and explain how it’s different from a 55-plus community. Of the various types of senior living, this format comprises housing units designed for seniors typically at least 65 years old. Residents manage day-to-day living largely independently, albeit sometimes with the assistance of a care provider.

That brings us to the StyleCraft Homes’ wheelhouse: Active-Adult communities. How do 55 plus communities work different from independent living facilities? Perhaps the best way to think of 55-plus living is to imagine a traditional neighborhood — only better in so many ways. Because all your neighbors are Active-Adults, you already have a lot in common when you meet at the fitness room, on the walking trails, at the pool, or for Happy Hour at the clubhouse. In terms of the homes, they can come in many different forms: townhomes, single-family homes or villas, and condo-style homes.


While independent living facilities and 55-plus communities are created from distinct molds, they do share a few key characteristics. For starters, they’re designed to build community, bringing residents together through shared amenities and simply their close proximity to one another. And one way they create more time for residents to gather together is by handling lawn care and exterior maintenance — checking off all those tedious to-dos that come with traditional home ownership.


The deeper you dig into the comparison, the more differences you’ll encounter between types of senior living facilities and communities. For example, 55+ communities don’t include care, wellness checks, or included meal plans. These are left up to our homeowners to manage as they see fit. That said, we do pick convenient locations for our Active-Adult communities so that residents are never far from restaurants, grocery stores, and medical facilities.

Also, while independent living facilities may have unique adaptations to accommodate a range of their residents’ challenges, StyleCraft takes a different approach with our Freestyle homes. With first-floor living, low-maintenance features, and other considerations, our homes are built to give homebuyers the option to age in place. This approach includes providing all of the design selections so that a homebuyer can make sure the house feels like their home.


Now that we’ve walked through the differences between 55-plus communities and independent living facilities, let’s answer the question — how do 55 plus communities work at StyleCraft? The answer is different depending on the community:

  • Townes at Notting Place: These inviting townhomes are located in North Chesterfield. With available 1- or 2-car garages and low-maintenance living — plus the ability to fence in your yard for pets — these townhomes are as much a value as they are versatile.
  • Villas at Iron Mill: Our Chester 55-plus community is highlighted by detached, first-floor living homes that combine the best of both worlds: new-construction and an established neighborhood.
  • Mosaic at West Creek: This idyllic, amenity-rich Goochland County community brings neighbors together with a pool, conservatory, pickle ball courts, walking trails, and so much more. The single-family homes provide up to 2,500 sq. ft. of living space complete with first-floor living and open spaces.

There are types of senior living for nearly every budget and lifestyle. By learning the pros and cons of each, you can make the best-informed decision whether you’re finding your future home or helping a loved one make the big decision.

If you’d like to learn more about the differences between Active-Adult communities and independent living facilities, the ElderCare Alliance is a great resource to start.