A 55+ retirement community, sometimes referred to as an age-restricted community, active adult community or retirement community, is a residential neighborhood designed for active older adults who can take care of themselves and manage their own affairs. They are often chosen by older adults looking to downsize. In fact, 51% of retirees who downsized in their last move cite freedom from the financial and maintenance burdens of a larger home as the top reasons to downsize.
The communities are generally gated, and the homes are typically located on smaller lots requiring less yard maintenance. Most require all residents to be 55+ years of age (no adult children or grandchildren under the age of 55 allowed as a resident in the home); however, the requirement is often waived when a spouse does not yet meet the age requirement.
A mix of housing types may be found within a 55+ retirement community, including single family homes, townhomes, apartments, condos and mobile homes.
Benefits and amenities often include:
- With a focus on an active lifestyle, some communities may have well-equipped clubhouses, athletic courts (tennis, basketball and volleyball), golf courses, swimming pool or other amenities
- Calm and peaceful environment
- Most offer a range of recreational, social and educational activities
- Surrounded by similarly-aged people
- Homes are built with the older adult in mind meaning they are usually handicap and wheelchair accessible
- Many have a secure entrance with gates
Other amenities and activities can vary greatly between communities, but may include:
- Walking trails
- Community center and parks
- Lifelong learning classes
- Fitness classes
- Activity- and hobby-based clubs
- Billiard rooms
To determine if an activity or amenity is available in the community you are considering, check their website or speak with a community representative directly.
The cost associated with living in a 55+ community varies considerably depending upon whether you are buying to own or renting/leasing, location, housing type and amenities. On average, one can expect to pay between $1,250 to $4,000 per month. This monthly cost would include housing and maintenance fees, plus community amenities and activities. It typically doesn’t cover meals, healthcare or transportation expenses. Also, some communities may have income criteria that must be met to qualify for residence in the community.