Active Living Communities generally include attractive residences and supportive amenities that appeal to younger oldsters, i.e. those who are still very active and have only minimally been impacted by the deficits commonly associated with advanced old age.
The primary advantage of Active Living Communities over other age-restricted senior living options, e.g. Continuing Care Retirement Communities, aka Life Plan Communities, and Senior Indpendent Living Communities, is the availability of ownership. Many are bungalow style homes which participate in a home owners associations, while more urban manifestations are standard ownership apartments.
While Senior Independent Living communities typically include some kind of meal program in their offerings, that is not the case for Active Living Communities. There is often a clubhouse with a dining facility but it operates more like an occasional restaurant than as a regular dining food service program.
Moreover, Active Living Communities do not include care services or monitoring in their offerings. As the residents age in place, care needs tend to accelerate and that can draw assisted living, medical offices, and other care providers into the vicinity of the community, but each service, particularly monitoring services, needs to be individually arranged.
Typically, the attaction of Active Living is the appeal of retirement as a time of vitality filled with happy activities such as golf, tennis, and friends. That's fine for as long as it lasts. It's particularly true for the early years after a community opens, but as the residents age, they lose vitality and begin to need assistance and other services. That acts as a drain on community life. With time the Active Living Community may devolve into a Naturally Occurring Retirement Community NORC), though the services associated with NORCs may be less available in the exurban and rural locations of many such communities.