As we grow older, it becomes increasingly more important for us to engage in physical, social, mental and recreational activities. This is especially true for those of us who are over the age of 55, or, what we as a society start to call a senior citizen. Recent research studies have shown that when we are surrounded by like-minded neighbors, that there is a marked increase in personal satisfaction and this can promote a more fulfilling retirement.

Older couple riding bicycles at a 55 and over residential community

Also Known As Active Adult Communities


Communities that primarily cater to those who are aging will often times only consider applicants who are 55 or older. Most facilities will require that applicants must also be in reasonably good health without the requirement for supervised medical attention, and who can live without assistance. Essentially, residents should be able to cook for themselves and attend to personal hygiene without the need of an aid. Most communities do not offer medical staff such as nurses; however, residents can hire in-home aids to assist them, if they are needed. As these services will differ from facility to facility, it is important to know what is expected.


What Are The Housing Options That Are Available?


55 plus communities will vary slightly, some with freestanding homes, while others will offer apartment-style dwellings. Typically, 55 plus communities will offer amenities that are designed to enhance day to day living. Some of these will include laundry and kitchen services with 24-hour staff. You may also encounter recreational features such as organized gaming events, fitness studios, dance classes, billiards, swimming pools or religious activities, to name only a few. If you encounter a community which does not have features or amenities that appeal to you, transportation may be available to off-site facilities.

Are There Financial Benefits?


Another appeal is that a large number of communities have the expenses such as taxes, utilities, insurance and more, all in a single fee. Care of the property is provided for you without a need for you to mow the lawn or even do so much as replacing a gutter. You will often find clubhouses for engaging in activities such as arts and crafts, educational workshops, holiday gatherings and more. A select few 55 plus communities will offer onsite services ranging from spa and beauty treatments, hair styling and barber salons as well as basic housekeeping and daily meal services.

Two adult women swimming in a pool at a 55 and over community

An Important Step – Do Your Research


It is highly recommended that if you are considering a 55 plus community to move to, that you do some investigating. Find out what your neighbors are like by speaking to a few. Perhaps you might share the same interest. There may be specific community rules that you will be expected to adhere to. Some communities only require that a set number of residents fall into the 55 and older category. This would open up opportunities for younger families to be your neighbors. This might be fine for some and not for others. A lot of the communities for example, do not permit the displaying of any type of flags, including the American flag. You may not be allowed to alter the color of paint for your front door or other factors that could hinder your enjoyment. So be sure to ask as many questions as you can to ensure that you’ve found the right community for you.

Some residents may be able to use Medicaid or other long-term care insurance to pay for living at a 55 plus community. However, the majority of residents are known to pay for the cost of living out of their retirement or personal savings. Some other factors to be aware of that will affect the cost of living in a 55 plus community relate to the for-profit and not-for-profit status of the facility. The location of the facility will also have an impact on the price, and also if there are meals included in the price of residency. You will typically have a one-time buy-in fee when you purchase a residential unit to live in. From there, 55 and older communities will usually charge $2,000 to $5,000 USD per month. Some communities will be far less, so it is advised to thoroughly investigate all of your options.