55 and Over Communities
Seniors who choose 55 and over communities enjoy a rich, secure and senior-oriented lifestyle while still enjoying the independence and freedom of a typical neighborhood.
Most 55 and over communities provide maintenance and landscaping services, freeing residents from the worry of broken fixtures or tedious lawn care. This can provide peace of mind to seniors and their families alike.
When to Consider a 55 and Over Community
It is worth considering a move to a 55 and over community when a retiree feels the desire to join a more senior-oriented community. Many younger retirees don’t require skilled nursing or assisted living care and prefer the conveniences of independent living.
Many 55 and over communities provide most of the necessary labor associated with home-ownership, negating the time residents spend on chores and maximizing the time they spend pursuing leisure activities.
What You’ll Find in 55 and Over Communities
Most homes in 55 and over communities are relatively new, and are therefore built to safer specifications and offer more conveniences than a traditional single-story home. Modern energy-saving features, such as better insulation and efficient heaters, can mean lower bills. Better safety measures, including fewer stairs and non-slip bathtubs, give residents more confidence in their home.
Communities for those over 55 typically offer many activities for their residents, including holiday events, weekly gatherings and convenient access to popular recreation places such as golf courses, walking paths, gyms and pools. Shuttles or nearby public transportation is also a common feature, enabling residents to get around easily without the need for cars.
Restrictions on Living in 55 and Over Communities
While the age requirement in these communities is obviously 55 and older, some communities may be focused on older residents and may have certain restrictions. Many communities only require the majority of their homeowners to be 55 and over, while others may allow residents to be as young as 18, provided there is a member of the family who is 55 or older living in the household.
Beyond age restrictions, there are often no other particular requirements for eligibility. Amenities, recreational facilities and availability of healthcare vary from one community to another, so choosing which community to join is dependent on a potential resident’s overall health and desired activity level.
Pros and Cons of 55 and Over Communities
Due to the large number of 55 and over communities, there is rarely a particular disadvantage that exists in them all. The most important part of choosing a community is taking the time to find one that fits. Getting to know the residents and learning what sort of services and amenities are available at each given community is key to finding a good match.
Many communities have certain guidelines to be followed, such as how a property is maintained regarding paint or outdoor decorations. These guidelines may be subject to a board of appointed residents who vote on and alter as they see fit. Services may come with fees and certain recreational activities may not be available all year.
The Cost of 55 and Over Communities
One of the many advantages of 55 and over communities is the sheer variety of styles and sizes of communities to be found, from budget-friendly condos and luxury homes to open neighborhoods and gated communities. The majority of the initial cost of living in a 55 and over community comes from buying, renting or leasing a property within the development.
Housing prices are often comparable to local real estate values, and can range from as little as $15,000 for a small ranch-style house to as much as $499,000 and up for a large luxury home depending on the geographic location.
Similar to condominium communities, 55 and over communities often have resident fees charged on a monthly or annual basis. These typically pay for maintenance, landscaping and basic services such as waste management. Some recreational activities may be subject to membership fees and should be outlined when applying to a particular community.
Find 55 and Over Communities
Retirement can be an exciting time for seniors who no longer wish to live in a private home. With a little homework, it is easy to find the right 55 and over community. Browse our nationwide directory to find retirement communities today!
Written by senior housing staff writer.