Retirement Communities offer a maintenance-free living situation with great amenities, and they also offer and a strong sense of community among peers. Generally, communities are age 55+, and can range in structure from mobile home parks to apartment/condominium complexes or to houses of all sizes.
Some Retirement Communities center around a particular theme or passion. For example, you may find a Retirement Community for golf enthusiasts where the homes surround a golf course, or you may find an atmosphere where seniors are singing, playing instruments, or actually acting in a play.
Best Suited For
Retirement Communities are best suited for older couples or individuals who are relatively healthy and independent, who are looking to downsize, and who enjoy community living. These people ideally do not need assistance with Activities of Daily Living (ADLs) but if they do, they may be able to access assistance through a private agency.
To rent: Most average $1,000 - $3,000 per month. To own: Typically start around $200,000+ (less for 55+ mobile home parks).
In many cases, rent or community fees include access to scheduled activities, to maintained common areas (such as walking paths), and to pools and tennis courts. Although not standard, some may offer transportation or housekeeping services for small additional fees.
Great amenities such as onsite pools, golf courses, gyms, and social activities.
Downsizing living space to simplify housework.
Building and grounds maintenance are included.
Age-restricted communities ensure a quiet and calm environment - no noisy, late-night neighbors!
Can be expensive and smaller when compared to a regular apartment or house.
No assistance given with ADLs or housekeeping; residents may have to pay for a home care agency for personal care or medical help as their health declines, or they may have to move into an Assisted Living environment in another community if home care is no longer financially or medically viable.
Insider Tips: What to Look For
Retirement Communities range from humble to luxurious. It is easy to become attached to a place or to discard a place based purely on aesthetics. You can avoid this trap by making a list of the amenities that are important to you and align those with your budget before you visit. Take the list with you and be sure to ask questions about each item on it. This will help you be realistic about what you can afford and will help you identify the most important criteria that will make you comfortable, happy, and socially engaged.
Do not be shy about what you add to your list. If you love to decorate your home with Christmas lights in November, make sure you ask if there is a policy on holiday decorations. If the community advertises that dogs are welcome, do not assume that your dog is welcome; make sure you ask if there are any restrictions on breed or size of dog.