55 and Older Communities: Are They for You?55 and better communities are on the rise as Baby Boomers and Generation X enters their retirement age. And with changing cultural nuances, studies show that seniors today are much more independent and savvier than previous generations. According to a survey conducted by AARP, over 76 percent of adults 50+ said it was very important for them to have high-speed internet.

It’s no wonder that active adult communities in sun-soaked destinations like Florida, Arizona, Nevada, California, and Texas are rising in popularity as they provide seniors with the perfect opportunity to live out their golden years without slowing down. From fitness classes to dining experiences designed for longevity and well-being - these vibrant residents have embraced a permanent vacation ambiance with an array of activities and amenities tailored just for them!

What is an active adult community?

The Fair Housing Act, enacted in 1968 under the Civil Rights Act, was designed to stop discrimination within the real estate market. This includes buying and selling homes or property, refinancing loans, and signing leases for rent. In 1995, the Housing for Older Persons Act (HOPA) was created and provided an exemption for age-related restrictions for homeowners interested in living within restricted communities.
To be recognized as a legal 55+ housing, communities must meet three qualifications:
  1. Adhere to the 80/20 rule (80% of homes having at least one occupant aged 55 or more),
  2. Establish and enforce policies that demonstrate their intention to provide residence for individuals over age 55.
  3. Comply with HUD's verification rules.
Taking legal requirements aside, active adult communities are designed to facilitate a comfortable and convenient retirement lifestyle while allowing seniors to stay active. Structures within these 55+ neighborhoods typically consist of single-family homes, patio dwellings, condos, or townhomes - all owned by those who reside there. An additional appeal for retirees is their close proximity to shopping centers, restaurants, parks, and other attractions, making it easy for residents to enjoy a high quality of life regardless of age.

Is investing in a 55+ community worth it?

For those looking to live an engaging lifestyle and connect with other adults their age, 55 and older communities provide a unique option. With wellness-centric activities as the focus for many of these vibrant environments, independent seniors can find themselves living in a community tailored just right for them. Whether it's joining fitness classes or participating in club events, active adult residence is increasing across the United States.

What are the pros and cons of living in a 55+ community?

When deciding between senior living options, it is essential to weigh the potential benefits and drawbacks of each choice. While everyone has their preferences in mind when making such a decision, here are highlights that every person exploring active adult communities should consider…

  1. Low maintenance exteriors: After years of home upkeep, an active adult community offers a refreshing change. You can enjoy the freedom to downsize your living space without foregoing exterior aesthetics. Many communities provide impeccable curb appeal with their low-maintenance exteriors!
  2. Community living: Active adult communities offer the perfect opportunity to forge meaningful connections with people from diverse backgrounds, all of whom have weathered life's ups and downs. With a shared focus on enjoying retirement in comfort and ease, these vibrant neighborhoods provide an ideal environment for forging lifelong.
  3. Quiet environment: A 55+ age requirement provides a peaceful atmosphere in active adult communities, creating an ideal environment for adults to enjoy the company of their family and friends without any additional noise or disruption.
  4. Amenities: Active adult communities offer a unique opportunity for participants to stay fit and connected with others, thanks to exciting amenities like pools and fitness centers. Plus, many of these communities host social events and clubs focusing on shared interests or causes that you can volunteer with - all perfect ways to keep active and engaged in your golden years!
  1. Lack of age diversity: With a majority of residents in active adult communities over the age of 55, there can be an absence of diversity that may dissuade potential inhabitants from settling in.
  2. Limited real estate investment: Active adult communities can be great investments for those looking to plan ahead, but if you view your active adult community residence as a real estate investment, it is essential to consider that family members who are under 55 will not be permitted to use the property without a senior present. For part-time residents who reside away during the winter months or other extended periods, this should be taken into consideration before making any long-term decisions.
  3. No care services included: 55 and older adult communities do not provide assisted living or healthcare services as part of your monthly HOA fee, and there are no on-site healthcare facilities. It is an option to arrange for in-home care if needed, and some active adult communities may even have contractual arrangements in place with third-party homecare service providers. Still, ultimately, these communities would fall under the same category as “aging at home.”

Can someone younger than 55 live in a 55+ community?

The simple answer is yes, "but" 55 and older communities often have special exemptions that allow for flexibility in the age of a homeowner's spouse, partner, or roommate. Generally speaking, one occupant must be 55 and above. At the same time, their cohabitant must meet the minimum requirement at 40 years old, and children living with the resident would need to reach legal adulthood status before these restrictions come into play.

It's also not unusual for 55+ communities to have restrictions for children who visit. For example, a homeowner's 10-year-old grandchild can stay for overnight visits, but there may be rules for how long/how many nights an underage child can stay.

It is important to note that assisted living, independent living, and active adult or 55+ communities differ. The former provides housing and care for individuals, often seniors, who need assistance with daily activities such as mobility, medication, and household chores. Therefore, it is always recommended that proper thought and research are conducted before deciding if a 55 and older community is the right choice for you and your family.
Monday February 13, 2023