What is an Active Adult Community? Do Residents Like Them?

Active adult communities have become an increasingly popular living choice for older adults since the first of these communities opened in Sun City, AZ, in January 1960. Today there are over 2,000 active adult communities across the U.S., according to 55places.com. The active adult community market is sizable, valued at over $525 billion, and projected to grow at a compound annual growth rate of 4.3 percent until 2027, as stated by grandviewresearch.com.

What is an Active Adult Community?

There are two segments/definitions of active adult communities. One is an age-restricted community, where generally speaking, at least 80 percent of the residential properties must be occupied by at least one person over the age of 55. (Laws governing this may vary by state.) The second is called an age-targeted community where the properties are marketed to the 55+ age group. Still, residents are not limited to that age group.

Residential options for older adults include a spectrum of choices, and active adult communities are “high” on that spectrum because of the freedom that it offers to active adult residents. Other choices include assisted living for adults who need nursing care and an array of living assistance and independent living options. These are for those who don’t need nursing assistance but desire other living assistance like laundry and meal plans and skilled nursing, where round-the-clock nursing care is required. Independent living and assisted living are frequently co-located.

An active adult community fits in-between traditional residential neighborhood living and the more restrictive or assistive living options mentioned.

An adult community offers the freedom for some older adults who may want to have a “lock and leave” residence, allowing them to travel, when they want to. That can be perfect for a retiree, but retirement is not a requirement to live in one of these communities and having the same food over from refrigerators.

Why Are Active Adult Communities So Attractive?

These are communities built with the needs in mind of an active 55+ adult. They are made for adults that desire an active lifestyle and want to use their freedom, time, and energy to enjoy life. Typically, they are for adults that want to downsize and live a more maintenance-free lifestyle and begin a new chapter of their lives. Communities can include single-family homes, patio homes, condominiums, townhomes, and manufactured homes. Depending on the community, options can be to purchase or rent a residence.

The reasons these communities are so popular include:

  1. Downsizing can be done on the residents’ terms while also achieving desirable community benefits.
  2. Residents get a strong sense of community because community members are at similar ages and stages of life. They tend to know their neighbors well and are involved in many community activities. Friendships built there can last a long time and provide many pleasant memories over the years.
  3. Residents can become involved in many different types of activities offered in their community to mingle, learn, and enjoy each other freely. Activities can include picnics and barbeques around quartz fireplace, pickleball, table tennis, cooking classes, field trips, and movie nights. They can also have card games, bingo, game nights, service projects, writing and art classes, and special interest programs.
  4. A more stress-free, maintenance-free living style is a significant benefit. Depending on the community and residence style, residents may benefit from having someone else shovel snow off the sidewalks and driveway, mow the lawn and trim the edges, fertilize the lawn, treat the weeds, and spread mulch. Property maintenance services in the community can include changing light bulbs that are hard to reach, making repairs to appliances, and doing exterior maintenance. Check with the community for details.
  5. Depending on the community, multiple floor plans may be offered. They may have smaller homes that are perfect for single living, two (and more) bedroom homes with one or two-car garages, ample storage space, and some that may offer covered porches.
  6. Smartly planned active adult communities are built with convenient access in mind, including access to shopping, grocery stores, medical facilities, restaurants, theaters and entertainment, community resources, and churches. Of course, location is always crucial as individuals consider how to be close to family, friends, and familiar surroundings.
  7. Safety and security are always important considerations for the protection of all residents and visitors. Depending on the specific community, security may include in-community security staff and well-lighted sidewalks, streets, common walkways, and parking lots. Common areas will also be well lit.
  8. Other attractive amenities could include access to walking paths, fitness facilities and other fitness opportunities, dog parks, and community gardens.
  9. Typically, for additional costs, community residents can pay extra for services like meal preparation, errands, pet care, and other personal services.

Tips for Choosing the Right Active Adult Community

First, focus on picking the correct location. You may want to live close to people you know and places you typically frequent. Or you may want to try a new adventure in a new area or a new city.

Second, consider all your lifestyle and living needs. How many amenities do you need? A golf course or swimming pool, outdoor adventures, what else?

Third, consider the style and size of the residence that you need. How many bedrooms, how many garage bays do you need, and how much storage space will suit your needs?

Fourth, consider your transportation needs. How easy will it be to get where you need to go?

Fifth, visit several potential communities in the area of your choice and evaluate each of them carefully.

Sixth, look at the references, credentials, and financials of the communities you consider.

Seventh, know your budget and make sure you carefully assess all the costs of living in the community of your choice.

Closing Thoughts

Living in an active adult community can be an excellent choice for someone who wants to live life actively in their more mature years. Be sure to carefully assess your goals for a new place to live and consider all the requirements and options to meet your needs.

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