One of the most important things to think of as the kids start to leave the nest and retirement sneaks closer is where to live. Is it better to stay in the same home, downsize to a smaller home in the same familiar neighborhood, or move to a retirement community? If you are leaning toward the retirement community, you have many options to choose from, including, active adult communities, leisure communities, age-targeted communities, continuing care retirement communities, etc.
The active adult community, in particular, is one that has gained popularity among empty nesters, baby boomers and retirees in the last few years. One major reason why this type of community has grown in popularity is that retirement is not mandatory in order to live there. These days, people work longer and remain active well into their later years, raising a lot of appeal for this type of community. Also known as age-restricted communities, these housing areas typically limit 80 percent of the residents to individuals who are over a set age. The minimum age for at least one of the residents living in a home within the community can be as low as 50 years, but is typically 55 or 60 years old. Active adult communities typically have a lot of amenities and activities to help residents stay independent and active. They also give you the chance to get away from the noise, hustle and bustle that come with living in neighborhoods filled with families and lots of children. If you want a low-maintenance lifestyle that provides you with some peace and quiet, as well as the opportunity to be around other people who are in a similar phase of life as you are, then this type of community might just be the perfect choice for you. Read on to find out more benefits that come with living in an active adult community.
Flexible and accessible housing
Moving to an active adult community doesn’t necessarily mean sharing a wall with a neighbor. About 85 percent of the housing in active adult communities are single-family homes, while the remaining 15 percent are a combination of condos and apartments. There are many different floor plan layouts to choose from. These homes offer the same sense of privacy and separation you would have in any other neighborhood, but are often designed to accommodate residents of older age. Due to the recent popularity of the active adult community, most homes are newer and built with better materials and appliances that were unavailable when older homes were built. These homes often have wide doors and hallways, main-floor master bedrooms and accessible bathrooms, and other features that that make independent living safer and more comfortable for elderly residents.
Low maintenance living
If you are tired of home maintenance and worrying about fixing things inside and outside your home, then an active adult community is the place to be. People who choose to live in these communities are often downsizing and want to spend little or no time on things like lawn mowing and snow shoveling. Most active adult communities have homeowner’s associations or other maintenance services that take care of maintenance issues so you don’t have to. Some communities even offer additional support services, such as housekeeping and grocery shopping for residents that might need a little more assistance around the house.
Amenities and activities
From swimming pools to club houses and fitness centers, most active adult communities offer a variety of amenities for residents. Some communities are designed to mirror resort style living and include health and wellness programs, tennis courts, indoor/outdoor pools, golf courses and other activities. Others are designed to cater to specific lifestyles and interests. If you like being outdoors, for example, you can find an active adult community with amenities and activities designed to engage residents with the outdoors, such as nature walks, hiking and camping. No matter what you are interested in, you are likely to find one or more of these communities that fit your lifestyle.
Sense of community
One of the biggest benefits of living in an active adult community is the sense of community that comes with living amongst people who are in a similar phase of life as you and have similar interests. Some niche communities are built specifically around causes that its residents are particularly passionate about. If, for example, you’re a big advocate for education, you can find communities located near schools that offer activities that involve teaching, tutoring or mentoring. Active adult communities are very beneficial for improving well-being and quality of life because they help residents develop a renewed sense of purpose and self-worth, and increase engagement with others both inside and outside the community.
Safety and convenience
Active adult communities are generally safe, as many of them have gated entrances, with only approved residents and guests able to access the community. There is often additional security staff on patrol to ensure that the streets are safe for residents and to watch for any emergencies or suspicious activity that might occur. Active adult communities are also often built in convenient areas close to grocery stores, restaurants and hospitals, which are typically a short walk or drive from the community. For residents who prefer not to drive, some active adult communities are built in close proximity to public transportation stations or offer shuttle services and other transportation alternatives for residents.
Which one is right for you?
Each active adult community is different, so how do you know which one is right for you? A good place to start would be to visit several communities to see if they offer amenities and activities that fit your lifestyle and interests. Think about what appeals to you in terms of privacy, community and neighbors. Would you rather be in a neighborhood with a laid back atmosphere, or would you prefer one that’s more active? Keep this in mind while you explore and interact with people in these communities. Also keep your budget in mind. Ask about homeowner’s association fees or any other fees that might come with living in an active adult community.
No matter where you choose to live, make sure to pick a community that not only fits the life you lead today, but also has features that can accommodate any lifestyle changes you might make in the coming years. Active adult communities offer that one-stop shop where you can enjoy new experiences, new scenery and new activities while being surrounded by people who share the same interests as you.
Would you consider living in an active adult community? What features are you looking for in a community?