55+ Retirement Communities
Downsizing… Socialization…Low maintenance… Independent lifestyle… These factors motivate growing numbers of seniors to choose 55+ retirement communities. Residents of these real estate developments share a motivation for relocating and downsizing, but 55+ communities are anything but standardized. When it comes to neighborhoods, types of housing, prices, amenities and services, today’s seniors select from a wide variety of 55+ communities.
Requirements for 55+ Retirement Communities
Most 55+ communities are age-restricted, meaning that at least one homeowner, or, for apartment dwellers, one member of each household is age 55 or over. Other members of the household may be younger, but all residents must be at least 18. Residents must also be independent. 55+ communities do not offer medical or personal care assistance. However, most are located near medical facilities, shopping, places of worship and large metropolitan areas, and many offer shuttle bus or van service.
Different 55+ Retirement Communities
Many seniors choose to relocate to one of two kinds of retirement communities. Active adult communities emphasize leisure and recreation with a resort type atmosphere. These communities usually have on-site facilities for socializing, such as, golf, tennis, swimming and exercise. Residents can join clubs, take classes and gather in the clubhouse for games, movies and other group activities.
Other 55+ communities stress independent living and focus on secure, convenient, maintenance-free environments for residents. Security might include electronic card access, guarded gates or a 24-hour security team. Both kinds of communities usually charge a monthly fee for services and amenities, such as the maintenance of common areas and recreation facilities, security, satellite or cable TV, Internet connection, garbage collection, snow removal, etc.
Another aspect of independence for the senior residents, is freedom from yard work and home maintenance. With this independence in mind, today’s builders often use energy efficient construction and universal design, a term which refers to no-step entryways, wider doorways and hallways, non-slip floors and bathtubs, and accessible light switches and electrical outlets. Both new and existing developments offer a wide range of floor plans, layouts and housing styles.
Retirement communities come in many shapes and sizes for a variety of budgets, from modular or pre-fabricated construction to luxury, custom-built homes. Neighborhood size varies as well; some 55+ communities resemble towns or villages while others are more like small cities.
Senior Apartments and Mixed Dwelling Neighborhoods
Senior apartments are another option that offers residents many of the benefits of retirement communities without the obligation to purchase their homes. Senior apartments offer additional services (sometimes for an extra cost), such as meals in a common dining room (usually one meal per day), housekeeping and laundry. Facilities vary but might include a pool, exercise room, library, and meeting rooms. As with retirement communities, senior apartments provide convenient and secure settings where residents can keep busy without the burden of home maintenance. Some 55+ communities mix single-family, owner-occupied dwellings with apartments. These mixed-dwelling neighborhoods enable residents to relocate within the same community if their needs change without having to start over or change their routines too much.