The Many Faces of 55+ Communities

Group of Senior Retirement Friends Happiness Concept

This group of 55+ homebuyers enjoy their community’s amenities. Many 55+ communities provide social activities and ways to stay active and entertained, while other provide medical services and assistance with daily activities.

Gone are the days when 55+ communities mean tranquility and quiet — today’s retirement communities have resort-style amenities such as hike and bike trails, in addition to assisted living to ensure residents are safe and can live independently.

No matter your interests and pace, there’s a 55+ community that fits your preferences. Below are the many types of retirement and active adult communities available to 55+ homebuyers.

Age-Restricted Communities

These types of communities have age restrictions, which means that at least 80 percent of residents must be at least a certain age. There are some caveats to this: say you’re 50 and your spouse is 58. If the minimum age is 55, you can likely move into the community since your spouse meets the age requirement.

Age-restricted neighborhoods can have single-family homes, condos, townhomes, manufactured homes or a mixture of these types of homes. The nice thing about age-restricted communities that are located within a larger master-planned community is that residents “can live in a gated age-restricted community within a larger community with diverse age groups close by,” says Linda Mamet, vice president of Corporate Marketing at TRI Pointe Group.

An age-targeted community is like an age-restricted community, except there’s no minimum age and advertising and other materials are aimed at a certain age segment.

Modern age-restricted retirement communities focus on providing retirees with an exciting and social lifestyle. Designed to promote physical and social activities, amenity packages frequently include community sports centers and community-wide tournaments, golf courses, excursions and nature trails. Another feature that is attractive to active adults is maintenance-free living like yard maintenance.

Retirement Communities

Residents don’t have to be retired to live in a retirement community; in fact, many are 10 or more years away from retirement. However, these types of communities typically focus on the 55+ buyer, but do not always have an age restriction.

“Retirement and planning for retirement affects what kind of home they are shopping for,” Mamet says. “Those who are 55+ continue working well into retirement, so they are choosing to live in areas where they can live in communities without the kids and they can focus on the things they want.”

These types of communities are attractive to active adults and empty nesters who want many of the fantastic amenities found in regular communities, such as parks and sport or fitness centers, and who still want to be active throughout their retirement. These communities have single-family homes, condos, townhomes or combination of all types of housing.

Even though the type of community they want to retire in does not limit these 55+ home shoppers, they do have specific needs for the kinds of homes they want to buy. Homes that attract 55+ buyers maximize their free time and help provide them with a low-maintenance life. This freedom means that homebuyers can live a lock and leave lifestyle.

“There’s a high interest in the lock and leave lifestyle, in the MPCs (master-planned communities), there’s a lot of thought about how to help them control the home via smartphone,” says Mamet. “There’s a community in Maryland that has a lock and leave package that offers a connected home and home automation tech.”

Independent Living Community

An independent living community is like a retirement community, but typically offers apartment living. These communities often have a common area for residents to socialize and offer amenities such as housekeeping and meal services and more. Community events are meant to help residents socialize and stay active. These communities don’t typically provide health care services, but often provide transportation to medical appointments.

Assisted Living Community

Assisted living communities provide a way for older adults to live independently, but also provide services for those who require assistance with daily activities such as bathing and cleaning. Typically, residents live in their own home and have in-home medical assistance. Like independent living communities, these communities often provide transportation to doctor’s appointments. These communities typically have medical professionals on call who provide services 24-hours a day.

Continuing Care Community

Often connected to an independent living community, these communities allow for those who need assistance to move from different tiers of living. Generally, residents don’t require round-the-clock medical care, but still need assistance with daily activities. Also referred to as aging in place communities, residents can live in single-family homes, condos, townhomes, apartments or more. These homes are built to be forever homes, where residents can live without having to make changes to their homes, such as widening hallways or doorways. Services such as meal prep, transportation to medical appointments and in-home medical care are often a highlight of these communities.

55+ Manufactured Home Communities

Manufactured homes are an affordable option for 55+ home shoppers who want a low-maintenance life, a home that they love to live in and an invigorating community. Manufactured home retirement communities have all the amenities that active adults want and cost less than other 55+ communities.

For retirees looking to make their fixed income go further, manufactured homes offer them the chance to invest in a community with the amenities and lifestyle they love and in fantastic locations. Social activities help create a community among residents.

Boomers look forward to their next adventure with a low-maintenance lifestyle that leaves plenty of time for enjoying interesting friends and exciting activities. The current generation of retirees has a lust for life and the money to get exactly what they want, no matter the type of retirement community they decide to live.

Now that you are ready to find your new home, visit NewHomeSource to search for the largest collection of 55+ new-home communities.

                                         Infographic with info detailing the differences between retirement communities, age-restricted community, Independent Living Community, Assisted Living Community, Continuing Care Community
After graduating in 2016 from The University of Texas with a degree in English, Sanda Brown became a SEO Associate for (...more)

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