As you explore senior living options, you may run across the term active adult communities. What are they and how do they differ from other types of senior living communities?
Active Adult Communities Defined
These are communities that offer relatively maintenance-free independent living residences to those age 55 and over. There are two types of active adult communities:
- Age-restricted – According to the Fair Housing Act, at least 80% of residences must have at least one person over the age of 55.
- Age-targeted – These communities are marketed to the 55+ age bracket, but aren’t limited to those over age 55.
Residences in these 55 and over communities can be owned or rented single-family houses or patio homes, townhouses, apartments, condos or even mobile homes. These communities are often near shopping, restaurants and local attractions.
The Benefits of Active Senior Communities
Retirement communities for active adults make it easy to enjoy life each day.
- Less maintenance. If you’re tired of lawn care, painting and exterior upkeep, low- or
no-maintenance living may be appealing. There’s no more mowing, snow blowing or calling a plumber for you.
- Rightsized living space. Many people find they use only a few rooms in their houses on a regular basis. Having a residence with a smaller footprint means there’s less to worry about.
- Surrounded by your peers. In an active adult community, your neighbors are your peers, so you’re at similar stages in life with similar interests. Children and grandchildren are welcome to visit, but for the most part, neighborhoods are relatively quiet and retirement-friendly.
- Convenient amenities. You’ll typically have easy access to amenities like fitness centers and swimming pools. Many communities have, or are near, golf courses, tennis courts and walking trails. You’ll also find opportunities for socializing through events, clubs and volunteer groups.
As you weigh your options, it’s just as important to pay attention to what active senior communities don’t offer.
- Limited services and amenities. Availability of housekeeping, laundry and transportation varies. Residents may be responsible for their own meals.
- Care services not included. There are no on-site care facilities in 55 and over communities. You may arrange for in-home care services, if you need them. Some communities may have agreements with home care service providers, but you have to pay for those services.
Tips for Choosing an Active Adult Community
- Prioritize the location. Do you want to stay close to the neighborhood you already know, or are you up for an adventure in a whole new city? Do you want to be near the kids and grandkids? Are you ready for a change of scenery or climate? Once you know what area you want to live in, you can start searching for active adult communities there.
- Be honest about your lifestyle needs. If you’ve never played golf, do you need to pay to live in a community on a golf course? Do you need a large floor plan or would a smaller plan be better?
- Look at the community’s financials. Ask for the most recent audit or annual report so you can determine how fiscally sound the organization is.
- Find out what the rules are. Ask to see the bylaws or any rules that might impact your lifestyle. If it concerns you, find out if amenities such as the pool are open to those under age 18.
- Evaluate your transportation needs. If driving is or may become an issue for you, make sure you’ll have easy access to transportation alternatives.
- Know your budget. Ask what’s included in the monthly fees, and if there are any add-on costs. The more amenities there are, the higher the fees may be.
- Visit several communities in your area.Compare residences and amenities, but also compare programs, classes and the general culture. Do you feel like you’ll fit in, feel at home and have plenty to do?
If active adult community living sounds like something you want to look into, you can start searching here to see if there’s one near you.
Where You Live Matters is powered by the American Seniors Housing Association (ASHA), a respected voice in the senior housing industry. ASHA primarily focuses on legislative and regulatory advocacy, research, and educational opportunities and networking for senior living executives, so they can better understand the needs of older adults across the country.