Senior retirement communities, also known as independent living communities or 55-plus communities, are age-restricted residential housing developments designed specifically for and marketed to the elderly.
Residents of senior retirement communities are generally active and in good health, seeking to downsize from a larger, single-family home and desiring the company of their peers. Although the term "senior retirement community" is sometimes used to include nursing homes and other supportive care, this is unusual. In most cases, there is no specific extra medical care on site.
Age Requirements for Senior Retirement Communities
Senior retirement communities have varying age restrictions, with the most lax requiring at least one member of the household to be at 55 or older. Other communities have age limits of 60 or 62, and in some cases, may expect all residents to have reached that age.
The majority of residents who live in senior retirement communities move in during their sixties and stay until health problems necessitate intensive personal and/or medical care. At that point, many seniors choose to move into an assisted living community or nursing home.
Senior Retirement Community Amenities
Often, senior retirement communities offer specific amenities designed for active and healthy older adults. Some of these communities are built around golf courses. Most have some form of clubhouse and recreation center where various activities and events might take place as well as facilities like swimming pools or tennis courses.
Such communities may also organize, or give the opportunity to organize, other activities and excursions. However, they generally do not provide professional help with mobility or medical care, with the exception of certain developments known as Continuing Care Retirement Communities (CCRCs).
Continuing care retirement communities offer assisted living, memory care and skilled nursing on the same site as their retirement homes, either in the same accommodations or in different buildings nearby. CCRCs are designed to facilitate aging in place, no matter what the care needs, once a senior has become a resident of that community.
Cost of Living in a Senior Retirement Community
Senior retirement communities often require that residents purchase their own personal residence at the community through a substantial, up-front “buy-in” fee. Buy-in fees generally mirror typical real estate fees for a specific area and can be as much as several hundred thousand dollars. A community may also charge monthly fees to cover the costs of food, services and other amenities.
In addition, most communities have a Community Association that charges fees to cover such things as the landscaping of common areas. These are like condo association or neighborhood fees, but may well be higher due to the extra facilities these communities often offer to residents.
Find Senior Retirement Communities
Senior retirement communities are an excellent option for active retirees age 55 and older who no longer want the burden of owning and maintaining a single-family home. Let us help you in your search for the right retirement living community. Our nationwide directory lists local senior retirement communities in your area. Find Retirement Communities in your area!
Written by senior housing staff writer.