Senior couple getting served dinner at a retirement community

Although seniors can choose to continue living at home, they may face many challenges that come with aging, such as mobility and strength issues. Seniors retiring or looking to downsize their homes might not know the different options available to them. 

Or, if they are aware, it can be nerve-wracking and sometimes stressful trying to understand what the different types of senior living options offer. The right fit may depend on monthly costs, amenities, services, and care.

In this blog, we will introduce 2 types of living options: Independent living and senior apartments, and the difference between them. 

What Is Independent Living & Senior Apartments?

Independent living is like retirement homes for older people. It’s a catered lifestyle where seniors can maintain their independence and have some support if needed. 

Independent living is right for you if:

  • You want to remain independent but welcome some support.
  • You crave a community atmosphere with amenities, activities, and vibrant social life. 
  • You want a stress-free life with services offered. 

Senior apartments are where you live on your own and are a type of senior housing with an age requirement—of 55 to 62 years. It provides an easy transition for seniors moving from their family home looking for a lifestyle free of challenging physical work that a home usually demands. 

Senior apartments are right for you if:

  • It is your first step in senior living.
  • You are looking for a more manageable and affordable lifestyle.
  • You are looking for a community of like-minded peers. 

A senior woman blurred in the background holding a set of house keys

Independent Living Versus Senior Apartments

Independent living and senior apartments are similar in that residents are mainly healthy, can support themselves, and carry out many activities of daily living

Supportive Care

Senior apartments provide affordable housing for older adults with the perks of living close to other seniors. In senior apartments, residents maintain their independence and can live an active social life. 

Independent living is a community where seniors have the perfect balance between independence and added care. Independent living communities support aging in place should more services be needed. 

Independent living communities offer future care needs and medical services such as assisted living and memory care when and should the need arise. 


The cost of senior apartments is much lower than owning a house. Most senior apartments are affordable, but you also have the option of high-end luxury senior apartments. These will typically cost more. 

Independent living does cost more than affordable senior apartments. Additional monthly costs may include ample activities, services, prepared meals, and support services

Amenities & Services

Senior apartments and independent living offer comfortable floor plans, full bathrooms, kitchens, and features to address the many safety issues faced by seniors. They also require no maintenance. 

Amenities and services can vary by complex. There are some senior luxury apartments that offer amenities such as a pool, fitness center, sports courts, clubhouse, and organized activities. Regarding services, residents of senior apartments do their own driving, cooking, and housekeeping. 

Independent living provides a complete residence for seniors in a community atmosphere, with 24-hour supervision and care by staff. Many people needing help with their basic needs move into independent living. Not having to worry about cooking, home upkeep, and cleaning, seniors have more time to do what they love. 

Independent living has medical care for people who need intermediate care between independent living and assisted or memory care. 

Residents in independent living can also decide what activities, classes, and events to join. There usually isn’t a shortage of activities, such as fitness, learning, and volunteering.

Independent living offers the following amenities and services for residents:

  • Housekeeping services
  • Personal assistance or care for activities of daily living 
  • Restaurant-style dining
  • Transportation service
  • Skilled nursing on-site
  • Medication management
  • Fitness center
  • On-site salon service

Helping You Decide

Senior apartment living and environments allow you to take control and manage your own care. In independent living communities, you get the same opportunities and much more when you need that extra support. 

Knowing the difference between the two can help seniors decide which is best for them based on their individual needs and preferences, health status, social habits, and budget. If you or a loved one has questions about senior living, reach out to The Villages of Farragut today.