There are many reasons you may be considering a move to a retirement community. Perhaps you’ve recently lost a spouse and want to live in a community where you can build new friendships. Or, maybe, you no longer want to be responsible for the upkeep of a home. Whatever the reason, let’s compare two options available to you – an active lifestyle community versus an assisted living community.
Active Lifestyle Communities
Many older adults are able to live independently and want to continue living an active lifestyle. Although they could continue to live in the home they have lived in for many years, for any number of reasons many choose to live in a retirement community. For those who want to live an active lifestyle, Verena at the Reserve, an active lifestyle community, may be the answer.
An active lifestyle community gives you the opportunity to live an dynamic and independent lifestyle. The community provides many social programs and events where you’re able to develop deep and lasting friendships and also make connections with others who share your same interests. A calendar filled with lots of organized activities gives you the opportunity to fill your days with things you have always loved or have the chance to experience something new.
In an active lifestyle community, each resident resides in their own private accommodations, often an individual apartment. Various floorplans are generally available. Each apartment typically includes a small full-service kitchen, dining area and living space giving each resident the opportunity to privately entertain in their own apartment should they choose to do so; although, communal dining options are generally available. The apartment will also have one or more bedrooms and a private bathroom. Multiple common areas are available throughout the community where residents have the opportunity to share the company of others who live in the community.
Additionally, you’re given the option to relinquish chores such as meals, housekeeping and laundry, freeing up your time to enjoy your retirement to the fullest. Because active lifestyle communities are designed with the active older adult in mind, the amenities and services offered make that type of lifestyle readily available to each resident. Because this option is designed for those who can still live independently, the amenities and features offered are comparable to that one would find in a small home, townhouse or apartment.
Verena at the Reserve, an active lifestyle community located in Williamsburg, offers all this and more. Our member programs are tailored around your hobbies and interests giving you the chance to take part in the activities you already love or to try something new. Life at Verena is infused with our wellness philosophy – the key to maintaining a healthy, active and full lifestyle, now and for many years to come.
Assisted Living Communities
Some older adults are physically or cognitively unable to live independently. They may be developing or living with a chronic health condition like diabetes or heart disease. Or, they may be facing the cognitive decline often associated with dementia. For these reasons and many others, an assisted living community may be the best option.
In an assisted living community, residents typically live in an apartment just like those found in an active lifestyle community; however, all apartments may not contain kitchens since communal dining is provided. Staff is available 24/7 to provide any additional care and assistance that may be required. Residents receive assistance with activities of daily living (ADLs) which may include assistance with dressing and grooming, toileting and personal hygiene assistance, housekeeping and laundry and transportation to doctor’s appointments. Although assistance is available, each resident is encouraged to remain as independent as possible.
Assisted living communities typically staff one or more full-time medical personnel such as an RN (registered nurse) or LVN (licensed vocational nurse). A doctor may also be on staff. Much of the daily care is provided by certified nursing assistants (CNAs) who are trained to meet the needs of older adults. All personnel are trained to provide emergency medical care should the need arise.
Some assisted living communities may have specialized memory care units, often in a wing dedicated specifically to that purpose. In these units, personnel are trained to provide the care needed for those dealing with more advanced cognitive issues. These units generally provide advanced security including extra surveillance equipment and secured entrances and exits to prevent wandering. Apartments in memory care units generally do not include kitchens due to safety concerns.
Comparing Amenities and Services
Amenities and services are the features that make retirement enjoyable. On-site amenities, such as a theater, fitness and wellness centers, elegant dining, lounge areas and fitness paths, enable you to fill your days with activities that are pleasant and convenient. Services, such as housekeeping, laundry and chef-prepared meals, gives you more time to enjoy the activities you’ve always dreamed of doing during retirement.
One of the goals of an active lifestyle community is to help you maintain your health – physically, mentally and spiritually – so that you may continue to live a full and exciting life. Services such as chef-prepared meals, laundry and housekeeping are offered, often at an additional cost, minimizing your daily responsibilities. Scheduled programs and events, both on-site and off, provide a variety of entertainment options. Physical activity is encouraged with features such as walking trails, exercise classes and fitness equipment available for your use. Active lifestyle communities do not typically have full-time staff dedicated to providing hands-on personal assistance or medical care.
Assisted living communities, on the other hand, are geared to help residents who need some level of assistance; therefore, they do provide hands-on personal assistance and some medical care. Staff trained in the needs of older adults are available 24/7 to assist with activities of daily living (ADLs) and personal care. Although assisted living communities do provide some level of medical care such as medication management, blood pressure monitoring and diabetes care, they do not provide intensive medical or skilled nursing care. A full calendar of activities and events is planned but will include activities geared to someone who is less active.
Active Lifestyle Community vs. Assisted Living Community
Trying to find the best living option may seem overwhelming, but having the right information at your fingertips can make it much easier. If you are making your first move into a senior living community, you generally want to know the differences between an active lifestyle community and an assisted living community. An active lifestyle community is the least restrictive of the two options since assisted living provides more support and assistive services.
Sometimes the easiest way to compare two options is to do so item by item. The chart below is a quick method to compare these two living options.
Active Lifestyle Community
Assisted Living Communities
|Living Spaces||Accommodations may be a small home, cottage, townhome, condo or apartment.||Accommodations generally consist of an apartment-style living space which may be private or semi-private|
|Caregiving and Personal Assistance Services||Specialized or one-on-one care may be purchased separately, often through a third party separate from the community.||Assistance with ADLs (activities of daily living) is provided 24/7. Specialized care, one-on-one care or home health services will need to be arranged through a third party at an additional cost.|
|Medication Management||May or may not be provided.||Is provided at no additional cost.|
|Medical Personnel||May or may not be provided.||The community usually has full-time medical personnel on staff or on-call at all times.|
|Meals and Meal Services||May be available, often at an additional cost. Multiple dining options may be available. Individual apartments contain kitchens for private meal preparations.||Three meals are served in a communal dining area. Apartments may have kitchens for private meal preparations.|
|Housekeeping and Laundry Services||May be provided, often at an additional cost.||These services are generally provided at no additional cost.|
|Social Activities, Outings and Events||Planned, both on- and off-site.||A full calendar of events is planned on a daily basis focused on keeping the residents busy throughout the day.|
|Health and Exercise Programs||Health and exercise facilities, events and services are provided and planned. More strenuous activities are offered since the community is for those seeking an active lifestyle.||Part of the events and services that are planned. Less strenuous activities are offered.|
|Transportation Services||May be available.||Transportation to and from doctor’s appointments and other errands is generally provided.|
|Payment Sources||Private pay or federal funding for those that qualify.||Mostly private pay or federal funding for those that qualify. Some communities accept Medicaid.|
|Price Range||Average price range is $1,500 to $3,500 per month.||Average price range is $2,500 to $4,000 per month.|
|Other Names (by which a community may be known)||Independent living communities, retirement communities, senior apartments, congregate care and 55+ communities||Assisted care communities and personal care homes|
Enjoy an Active Lifestyle at Verena at the Reserve
Verena at the Reserve, located in historic Williamsburg, offers you or your family member the active and fulfilling lifestyle you’ve been looking for. We provide all the comforts of home – all within a short drive to shopping, fine dining, historic sites and a multitude of outdoor activities.
We are a unique retirement community in Williamsburg in that we give you the financial freedom to enjoy the retirement you choose. No large upfront fee is required, and you choose which amenities and services you want to pay for – never having to pay for those you don’t want.
Our wellness programs enable you to maintain physical, mental and spiritual health. From our fitness classes and wellness programs to our on-site entertainment and social functions, there’s always an activity, event or program to enjoy at Verena at the Reserve. We are also a pet-friendly community; therefore, your four-legged companion is invited to come share your life and your lifestyle.
Our Member Programs and our amenities and services provide the sophisticated and active lifestyle that makes retirement living all you have dreamed it could be. View our floor plans and contact us at Verena at the Reserve if you have questions or would like to schedule a visit to see our beautiful community.