Retirement Communities & Independent Living Facilities

Retirement communities and independent living facilities, which serve partially or fully retired residents, are not considered health care facilities.  Their residents can generally care for themselves and do not require regular nursing or routine medical assistance. These facilities typically offer community activities, meals, and transportation.

As nonmedical establishments, independent living and retirement communities operate under fewer regulations than skilled nursing and assisted living facilities. The shared communal spaces and activities these facilities offer to their residents can increase the risk of contracting COVID-19.

Independent living and retirement communities must follow the safe start phase of the county they are in. If they include a higher level of care unit such as assisted living, skilled nursing or memory care, they must also follow the Safe Start for LTC. For example, a facility housing both assisted living and independent living must meet the requirements of assisted living. 

Independent living and retirement communities can reduce the risk of serious illness to the older population they serve by:

  • Closing some or all of the communal spaces
  • Screening visitors or restricting visitation
  • Restricting the number of participants in group activities
  • Serving meals or conducting activities in shifts

The CDC provides guidance to these facilities at:

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