Retirement communities are self-contained housing communities designed and designated for seniors. These communities offer meal programs and typically have a focus on social and recreational activities.

Retirement communities differ greatly in terms of services and amenities offered. Continuing Care Retirement Communities (CCRCs) provide different levels of care, such as long-term care and/or assisted living on the same campus if these levels of care are needed. These facilities may require an entrance or endowment fee. Some CCRCs also offer Life Care programs that eliminate the financial liability for the cost of long-term care.

Independent retirement communities offer campus-like settings with many of the same services and amenities provided by CCRCs under a monthly rental agreement and without an endowment fee.

Room and board facilities may provide efficiency-style apartment units with meals, emergency response and common space available to residents. Usually no kitchen is available in the individual units.