55 Plus Communities: Not Your Grandma's Retirement Home

America’s senior population is growing larger. Now that the “baby boomers” are reaching retirement age, the country is seeing increased demand for services and healthcare provisions specific to that demographic.

The development of 55 plus communities allow seniors to have both of these needs met, while at the same time permitting residents to retain their independence by living in homes of their own.

Who Lives at 55 Plus Communities?

As their name implies, residents of 55 plus communities must be over the age of 55. They are in reasonably good health and do not need intensive medical attention or supervision and can handle basic activities of daily living on their own such as cooking, bathing and personal hygiene.

Many retirees make the decision to move into a 55 plus community to release themselves from the hassle of home maintenance, to enjoy amenities otherwise unavailable to them in a single-family home and to make new friends in a community of like-minded individuals.

What Services Are Available at 55 Plus Communities?

Some 55 plus communities provide laundry and kitchen services, as well as 24-hour staff and/or concierge to attend to any other needs. Many communities offer amenities such as:

  • Swimming pools
  • Dance classes
  • Fitness programs
  • Art studios
  • Religious activities
  • Organized card, board and video games
  • Billiards
  • Putting greens/golf courses

If a community does not offer such opportunities on site, they may supply transportation to off-site locations for these activities.

What Are the Costs of 55 Plus Communities?

The cost of residing at a 55 plus community can vary widely, primarily based on the services that a senior resident chooses to receive and on the kind of residence in which a senior chooses to live.

Other factors that may affect the cost of 55 Plus Communities include the for-profit or not-for-profit status of the facility, the inclusion or exclusion of meals in the price of the residence, and the area of the country in which the residence is located, among others.

In addition to a one-time initial buy-in fee for purchasing a residential unit, 55 plus communities typically charge between $2,000 and $5,000 a month for maintenance, upkeep and services, although some facilities may cost less.

Some facilities may accept Medicaid or long-term care insurance policies, however, most residents pay for the cost of living at 55 plus communities out of their personal savings or retirement income.

What are the Pros and Cons of Living in 55 Plus Communities?

Residents of 55 plus communities have many of the perks of living at home while enjoying the opportunity to take advantage of services and amenities that they might not otherwise have. Such facilities assist seniors in maintaining active lifestyles and help them remain engaged with other people and normal life activities.

However, some seniors might feel uprooted from their own homes. They might not enjoy being surrounded by people their own age. Some residents might miss their friends at home and may find it difficult to make friends in a facility at which residents have already formed peer groups. For those who are used to living in their own homes, apartment-style facilities may prove uncomfortable.

Find 55 Plus Communities

Retirement can be an exciting time for seniors who no longer wish to live in a single-family home. With a little homework, it is easy to find 55 plus communities. Browse our nationwide directory to find retirement communities today!

Written by senior housing staff writer.

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