When it comes to retirement options, 55+ community living is a fast-growing segment that is appealing to active adults — people who are more interested in playing tennis and golf in retirement than knitting or birdwatching. But what is a 55+ community like, in real life, and why do people choose an over 55 community, rather than either staying in their existing homes or moving into assisted living spaces? While all communities are slightly different, here’s a general idea of what you can expect from 55+ community living:
- The People
Obviously, the people in a 55 and up community are aged 55 and older. But it’s more than just that; the people who move into these communities are typically looking for social opportunities with people of similar ages. That means you’ll have a built-in social circle close to home, but won’t need to worry about late-night parties, crying babies or all the other things that come along with living in a more traditional neighborhood. (Keep in mind that if you want to have frequent visitors younger than 55 — your children or grandchildren — it’s a good idea to check the community rules on overnight guests before moving in.)
- The Services
Over 55 communities offer more independence than even assisted living facilities, since you’ll typically have your own single-family home. But they do also offer some upgraded services that can make your life easier. Your monthly fees (similar to a condo fee or a homeowners’ association fee) will cover most outside maintenance, and you will probably be able to choose how much you’d like to do in terms of upkeep on your house. If you enjoy doing your own gardening, for example, you’ll have the space to do that. But you won’t need to worry about onerous tasks like tree trimming. If you’re hoping to age in place, it’s a good idea to choose a community that offers a range of services so you can shift tasks over to support staff gradually as you no longer want to handle them.
- The Activities
Over 55 community activities are a major draw for most residents. Golf is typically popular, but you might also have access to racquetball, squash or tennis courts; swimming pools and hot tubs; and fitness centers. Most communities also have a number of organized clubs (book clubs, etc.) and regular social events such as movie nights and dances. You’ll never be bored, and you’ll never have to go far from home to find something to do.
What insights do you have into 55+ community living? Join the discussion in the comments below.