For most people, their idea of retirement means tossing out their winter wardrobe and heading down to a luxurious 55+ community with a southern or southwestern climate. It could also mean spending afternoons on the golf course or just lounging by the pool soaking in a warm sunny day. The whole point is that we all want to retire in a comfortable, entertaining, and enjoyable environment.
This is where all the 55+ retirement communities across the states come in; they each exist to offer seniors that desirable atmosphere to enjoy their golden years, free from work. The ever-growing baby boomer population has given a rise in these senior residential communities, which does not make it any easier to choose one.
Understanding how 55 and over retirement communities near you work and whether or not they are right for you is the starting point.
Finding Ideal 55 Plus Communities Near Me
Every older adult at some point gets online and may look for something along the lines of "55+ communities near me." Several considerations factor into the decision process when looking for senior living near you, and a few of the following aspects can help you find the right 55 plus community in your area:
- The Neighbors
While the actual community grounds and the facilities they have on-site matter the most to seniors, it is equally crucial to find out what you can about the neighbors. Whether there are shopping malls nearby or a vacant parcel of land makes a difference.
The last thing seniors want is to find out that they chose a community next to land meant to construct a large commercial structure, where there will be constant noise and construction debris for 1 to 3 years. The proximity to shopping malls, recreational centers, religious facilities, and educational institutions are also essential to look for when searching for a 55 and over community near you.
- The Developer
Every housing complex and senior living community has a developer behind it and you want to research their track record. You do not want to move to a senior living community that has structural issues with apartments or always seems to have some maintenance required.
- Your Preferred State
A majority of older adults want to spend their golden years in warmer states. Some do not even mind living in 55+ communities in different states and moving around as they please. However, location matters in terms of the amenities and facilities you can expect to find within the retiree communities. It has a lot to do with state regulations and taxes might also affect seniors who move from their home state to a new one.
- Maintenance Requirements
Almost all adults in retirement want no maintenance. The one monthly cost residents pay in 55+ communities covers all charges including accommodation, meals and the upkeep of the grounds. However, one thing to understand is that most of 55 and older communities require their occupants to pay a certain amount upfront towards the maintenance reserve fund. Checking with the community management can give a clearer picture of the budget available for repairs and maintenance. You do not want to have paid for something and when the time comes to have difficulty getting timely repairs.
- Rules and Regulations
It is natural that 55+ communities for older adults run with a set of rules and regulations in place. Most of them are for the benefit of their residents, but a few might seem too restrictive for some seniors. For instance, some might prohibit the display of particular flags. Some might also have parking restrictions, limitations on the use of commonly shared amenities, and visitation rules. It does help to ask for a copy of the particular community's HOA bylaws to figure out if the rules work for you.
- The Cost
In the end, your budget determines the senior housing community that you choose. Most seniors in the 55+ age group are often on fixed incomes and generally do not earn that much. While the government offers some assistance by providing reduced-cost senior housing, not every older adult qualifies for the help.
It helps to look for the most suitable retiree village that meets your needs but at the same time to stay sensible about what you can afford. It is worth noting that some of these adult housing communities for 55+ retirees and older adults offer homes for sale. It offers much more comfort and security while still abiding by HOA bylaws. Renting senior living apartments within 55+ communities is the most popular option amongst seniors downsizing from a more massive home. There are also furnished options, but most communities allow seniors to bring in their personal belongings.
What Qualifies as A 55+ Retirement Community?
Typically, adult/senior housing complexes provide residential accommodation for older citizens. However, not all of them are 55 plus retirement communities. These senior living villages are categorized as age-restricted because they impose an age limit to qualify for residency.
Also referred to as age-qualified communities, these senior villages are also typically found near suburbs because they are situated on large spaces. Worth noting is that under the Fair Housing Act, senior settlements that qualify as 55 and over residential complexes must have 80% of their residents being 55 and over, and at least one of their residents being 55 years of age.
Moreover, a spouse younger than 55 can take up residence in 55 plus communities with their significant other. However, anyone below the age of 19 cannot take up permanent residency within 55 and older communities.
Some 55+ communities are age-targeted and have stricter age rules and only offer residence to seniors who are 62 years, 65 years or older. That means you will not find any younger people living around these senior villages unless they are visiting.
The Fair Housing Act describes these communities as housing residents who are at least 62 years and older.
What Types of 55+ communities Can I Find Near Me?
55+ retirement communities near you may often also be referred to as senior housing complexes or adult residential communities. They typically house older citizens who can still care for themselves and live as independently as possible. Home caregivers can still provide assistance to residents within over 55 housing communities who need the help.
Beyond that, these residential senior communities are also structured in different ways and have various designs to suit the individual needs of seniors.
- Gated 55+ Communities
The gated 55 and over communities take over acres of private land in most cases and might include townhouses, condominiums, or apartment complexes. However, worth noting is that most senior communities place emphasis on security and having their residents secured behind gated walls is often the first step. Privacy is of equal importance in over 55 communities, restricting access from unauthorized people.
- Non-gated 55 Plus Communities
Some over 55 retirement villages have an open-plan model without any walled gates. That does not mean that security is lax in such 55+ living communities. The design just fosters a more sociable atmosphere, allowing residents to move around freely. Also, some of them are just smaller-sized communities and it would be impractical to have them enclosed behind gated walls.
- Luxury 55+ communities
The luxurious 55 or older communities focus on providing a lifestyle for the seniors who desire the finest things in life in their golden years. They tend to have the most luxurious of amenities, and it also costs higher to stay at one of these 55+ luxury communities. The higher cost is often justified because it ensures that only targeted, affluent seniors take up residency at these retiree villages.
- Pet-friendly 55+ communities
Many 55+ housing complexes also accommodate furry friends. It is also possible to find those that offer complimentary pet care services. However, many 55 plus homes often have restrictions about the type and number of animals their residents can keep.
- Single Senior Communities
55+ communities targeting single or unmarried seniors also do exist. They provide a place for those who might not have immediate families to meet other people in similar situations. The comfort of companionship has proven to provide numerous benefits for the older adults.
- Above 55 Active Senior Communities
As the name states, these adult complexes target those who want to lead an active lifestyle. The primary goal of these senior living communities is to make sure that their residents enjoy an active lifestyle through recreation and sports. Some of them even have golfing, swimming, biking, and hiking facilities on site.
- Over 55 Faith-Based Retiree Complexes
More than often, religious people want to age in a community of people who share the same beliefs. Many religious 55+ communities exist across the states, catering to varying denominations, including Jewish, Christian, Catholic, Protestant, Lutheran, Episcopal, Buddhist, Muslim, Baptist, Jehovah’s Witness, Methodist, Mennonite, Adventist and others. These communities provide older adults the most comforting place, knowing that they have a community of people to share their viewpoints with.
- 55+ Retiree Communities for Veterans
Most senior living communities strive to create an environment where their occupants feel a sense of belonging. They achieve this by choosing a specific niche or group of older adults and offering residence to seniors who have a lot in common. Some 55+ housing complexes for adults specifically house veterans, giving them the comfort of sharing their experiences with people who can relate to their life experiences.
- 55 Plus Senior RV Retirement Parks
For some older adults, the idea of retirement means staying at RV Parks with the freedom to travel around as they please. There are quite a few 55+ RV retirement parks that cater to this group of seniors. They allow older adults to live within these communities for as long as they please.
- University Retirement Villages
Several institutions of higher learning have affiliated retirement living communities. They also offer opportunities for their present students to volunteer at these 55+ retiree villages while at the same time providing a roof over the heads of their retired alumni.
- Resort Retirement Communities
Resort-style 55+ retirement villages are also a favorite amongst seniors, especially those who love golf. Most of these communities are typically not open to the public, making them as exclusive as it gets. The golf-based resorts are also often located near prestigious golf courses and include many luxurious amenities found in upscale senior living communities.
Why Should I Look for 55+ Retirement Villages Near Me?
These active living retirement villages feature amenities and facilities that have the older adult in mind. Just one visit to any of 55-plus communities gives a clear understanding of why most retirees want to spend the rest of their lives in these environments.
Some seniors appreciate the physical security measures 55 and older communities have in place, including gated and walled boundaries as well as on-site patrols and security. A majority of 55 plus communities also offer well-lit walkways, elevators, grab bars within bathrooms and emergency call systems.
They say that "one should not live alone," and the hard reality of living a lonely life becomes more apparent as we age. While seniors are at the stage of living their best life, for others life goes on as usual and it may seem like no one has time for them. There is also comfort in living somewhere close to peers who can socialize and enjoy shared experiences.
- Combined Costs
The cost factor also comes into play when looking for 55+ communities because the monthly payments cater for most, if not all, expenses. That includes taxes, housekeeping, home maintenance, insurance, utilities, and other costs. It takes away the hassle of having to juggle bills around or worry about late or overdue fees.
- The Retiree Lifestyle
Seniors living in 55 and over communities spend their days engaging in fun-filled activities. These activities include planned entertainment events like dances, bingo nights, and movie nights and participating in sporting events. Most senior living communities indulge the hobbies and interests of seniors through clubs as well as by having educational classes provided by guest lecturers from reputable learning institutions.
Amenities in 55+ communities include clubhouses, on-site spas, swimming pools, communal dining facilities, transportation services, hosting of regular entertainment events and much more. This attract most older adults.
Some 55 plus communities also double as Continuing Care Retirement Communities (CCRCs). Beside having independent living accommodations, the CCRCs also have complexes dedicated to caring for older adults as their need for assistance increases. Skilled nursing is also often available in such facilities and it allows residents to transition to a care-based living without having to leave the community.
What Amenities Will I Find in 55 and Over Communities Near Me?
55+ adult living complexes differ vastly from one to another, but most have a few general amenities in common. Typically, most 55 plus communities have an on-site clubhouse, communal dining facilities, indoor/outdoor swimming pool, spas, exercise facilities and craft or hobby clubs.
Some active-based adult living villages also have tennis courts, golf courses, entertainment rooms, walking trails, libraries, billiards and lakes for fishing.
Some of these age-restricted senior living complexes also have assisted living facilities within their grounds. It enables seniors who develop the need for more help with time to stay within the same community.
Some 55 and older communities are sprawling mini-communities and may be similar to a small town. Such retiree villages often have single-family homes and walkable streets. Being in such a community feels like living in a home much like the one most seniors have had to give up or sell when they moved to the retirement community.
55+ Communities vs Assisted Living Communities
When most people think about seniors moving to retirement homes, they often envision a hospital-like environment. That comes from the decades of relying on nursing centers as the only solution to give older adults the help they need as they age. However, in the past years, the outlook on aging has changed and seniors now live lives that everyone pictures living in their golden years.
Assisted senior living communities near you generally function as a senior living lifestyle between nursing homes and independent living communities. Age-restricted retirement communities are in essence independent housing complexes because they typically house adults who can care for themselves. On the other hand, assisted living communities have most of the same facilities found in independent living communities and they also provide needs-based care for their residents.
While the only assistance adults receive at 55+ retirement communities end at housekeeping and home maintenance, assisted housing communities go beyond that. They provide their residents with help performing daily activities such as bathing, grooming, dressing, the intake of medicine, and also moving around. It is true that 55 and over communities allow aided care for their residents, but this is often not included as part of the monthly cost and seniors have to make arrangements for the care on their own.
Assisted living communities accommodate seniors who are mostly mobile but a majority also take in those with physical and mental disabilities. Such senior living facilities also emphasize on providing memory care and rehabilitative care to their occupants. However, worth noting is that while assisted senior living communities might provide some form of health care services they do not have the capacity to provide the same level of care like nursing communities. Morever, when your loved one has been diagnosed with Alzheimer's or another form of dementia, it is better to find dedicated Alzheimer's care communities near you.
55+ communities have full-time staff working to deliver security, housekeeping, maintenance, transportation and entertainment-based services. Assisted living communities have a similar staff profile including professional health care staff either on a full-time or part-time basis.
Last but not least, the two types of senior communities differ when it comes to cost. Given that assisted living communities offer almost all the same amenities and services that 55 plus communities do, they typically cost more. Most assisted 55+ communities give seniors an a la carte type of option, allowing them to choose and only pay for services they require.
We all just want a place that we can call home at all stages of life. For seniors, it does not get any better than enjoying those golden years engaging in activities that they enjoy and living in a friendly, secure and welcoming 55+ community. It is also never too early to start looking around for the perfect 55+ retirement community or even to move to one, as long as you meet the qualifications. With the guidelines discussed above, there is no reason why you cannot find the best possible senior living retirement communities near you that meet your needs.