Whether you are seeking an independent lifestyle, downsizing for low maintenance or simply seeking a community of people with similar interests and a sunny place to live, moving to a 55 and over community makes sense. In fact, these are just a few of the factors inspiring an increasing number of seniors to seek out senior communities. These communities are planned especially for people 55 and over and they are anything but cookie-cutter. Today’s choices are more varied than ever, whether your interests concern neighborhood type, housing style, amenities, overall price, or available services.
Requirements for 55 Communities
Fifty five plus communities, sometime identified senior living communities, are communities that are “age restricted.” This means that (in most states), at least one homeowner or apartment dweller must be at least 55 years old. Other members may of course be younger, but these communities want to ensure that their dwellers are primarily 55 and over, so at a minimum all residents must be at least 18.
An additional feature to note is that these senior communities offer no medical and no personal living assistance. This is sometimes why they are identified as “independent living communities” (though this is a little imprecise). It is the case, however, that most are located near medical facilities and other amenities for shopping, places of worship, and will even feature van service or shuttle bus service to these nearby areas or even larger metropolitan areas.
Types of Fifty Five and Over Communities
While each community is different, most active seniors choose to relocate to two major types: active adult communities and independent living communities. Active adult communities are retirement communities that emphasize recreation and leisure; they have a resort feel. On them one will often find facilities for golf, tennis and swimming exercise, as well as ample opportunity and organization for socialization. Residents are given the opportunity to take classes, join clubs, gather in the recreation center—or any of the many common areas—for celebrations, games and movies.
The other type of 55 plus community is the independent living type. In this case the focus is less on creating a resort feel and more on maintaining a secure, maintenance-free and convenient environment for residents. Often these communities have security gates which require an electronic access card, or are guarded 27/4 by a security team.
Because a great deal of maintenance is required in each case, whichever type of community one chooses, one will find that a monthly fee is required for up-keep of the common grounds, recreation areas, security, garbage collection, and possible cable TV or Internet access. This does enable residents to live free of care about almost all yard work and home maintenance, to pursue the things they really like doing.
One of the key advantages of these communities is that they are planned with this sort of maintenance free ideal in mind. Most builders, as a result, make use of some of the most energy efficient construction—which keeps bills low—and employ a “universal design.” This means that they design all structures that will have no-step entry ways, wide hallways and door-frames, especially made non-slip floors and bathtubs, and easily accessible electrical outlets and light switches.
Finally, whether a development is new or existing, you will be able to find a whole range of housing styles and floor plans so that you can meet both your needs and your wants. Retirement communities themselves come in innumerable shapes and sizes to fit almost any budget, from pre-fabricated and modular units to luxury item-by-item build custom homes. Even the neighborhoods vary in size from under a dozen homes to 55 and over communities the effectively function as their own towns.
Another way to approach 55 and over communities is to rent an apartment in a retirement community. This offers almost exactly the same benefits of owning a home within such a community, but without the need to actually buy a new house in one. Depending on the apartment, one will often find that senior apartments offer additional services such as laundry, housekeeping, and meals in a common dining room–though this comes with an extra charge in most cases. In almost any senior apartment, one will find a range of facilities including: a library, media rooms, exercise rooms, a common pool, and meeting rooms. Activities also vary, but usually contain a broad focus from socializing to continuing education.
Finally, like independent living style communities, senior apartments will often feature high levels of attention paid to fostering a worry-free style of living with security. This way, one can avoid both the burdens of grounds-keep and those of home maintenance.
Finding 55 Plus Communities
Since relocating is always a big step, especially if one is looking to buy a new home, research is indispensable. A first step is to begin with online research, and on this page we are devoted to providing information free of charge and we absolutely will not try to direct you to specific real estate agents/companies. Most of the information on the internet that covers 55 plus retirement communities is really aimed at selling new homes to seniors. While this is an important item to consider, we suggest researching first, then looking at real-estate agents who will of course tell you that a Florida community is better than one in South Carolina (or what have you).
We ask that you feel free to look through our growing database of information, which provides just advice about specific areas and retirement living communities, so that when you want to look as specific places to buy, you can do so.
For an honest and personal account of what searching for a 55 and over community is like, here’s a video that gives you a great idea: