What Is an Active Adult Retirement Community?
The classification “active adult” is comprised of people aged 55 and up who are nearing retirement or have already begun early retirement. According to Waterman Village Retirement Community, an active adult Florida retirement community, an active adult retirement community is a housing development targeted at the 55+ market and is a perfect choice for older people who wish to live in a moderately controlled environment without having to give up an active lifestyle.
Active Adults Are a New Niche in the Real Estate Market
In an article published on Forbes, the population of baby boomers (those aged 55 to 73) is estimated at 78 million. The National Association of Home Builders reports that, of the above-mentioned number, only 5% seek to settle in active adult retirement communities. That percentage, however small as it may seem, is enough to sustain a niche in the real estate market.
By age 55, parents will have usually emptied the nest, with their children starting their own families or going to college at the very least. This scenario makes it a practical decision to move to a smaller home that is both cheaper and easier to maintain. The ideal community would have to strike a balance between being peacefully laid back and having big city amenities such as boutiques, a gym, restaurants, a park, and an entertainment center.
What Characterizes an Active Adult Retirement Community?
My LifeSite, an online lifestyle magazine, characterizes an active adult retirement community as not being much different from regular housing developments such as villages and subdivisions, only that it is age-restricted (usually 55 years and over) and has features that complement a “nearing retirement” lifestyle. The primary difference between an active adult retirement community and regular housing is that exterior maintenance is the responsibility of the community administration, as paid for by the homeowner through their association dues. This way, homeowners get to enjoy having their own home without being bothered with chores such as mowing the lawn and cleaning the yard—chores that don’t make for a happy retirement.
An active adult retirement community is significantly different from senior living communities, as there are no caregivers to assist residents, no communal dining hall for daily meals and no healthcare facilities. It also offers a variety of building types such as condominiums, townhomes, single-family detached homes and multi-family patio homes.
Benefits of Living in an Active Adult Retirement Community
In the senior section of lifestyle website Love to Know is an article that lists down the benefits of living in an active adult retirement community:
- Low-Maintenance Home: As mentioned above, residents pay monthly homeowners association dues, which covers maintenance of several parts (usually exterior) of the building. Homeowners usually only need to worry about the interior upkeep of the house.
- Accessible Facilities: As the community is designed for the 55-and-up market, facilities and amenities are rather accessible, with ramps, minimal staircases and the like.
- Entertainment Amenities: Active adult retirement communities usually replicate the design of a city in a small-scale setting, giving an easy access to entertainment amenities such as a cinema, a sports and fitness center, boutiques, a spa and a community pool.
- On-site Services: Services such as mani-pedi, transportation, laundry and dry cleaning are made available to residents.
- Fixed Monthly Living Expenses: Although often a more costly living option, the fixed monthly living expenses rid homeowners of unexpected housekeeping-related expenditures. Some communities also offer different monthly packages to better suit the residents’ budget.
- Same-Age Neighbors: Living with same-age neighbors offers a variety of social and psychological benefits. Aside from the almost-childless peace and quiet that it provides, living with same-age neighbors—or, in other words, not having to keep up with the younger generation—is good for the psychological development of retirees.
- Resort Atmosphere: The resort atmosphere that most active adult retirement communities provide gives off a vibe of being on a relaxing vacation on a daily basis.
Before You Move to an Active Adult Retirement Community
If you’ve been thinking about moving to an active adult retirement community, here are some tips to help you make a decision:
- Determine Your Budget: Budget plays a big role in landing your dream retirement home. Before making the purchase, decide on your retirement home budget and determine if it’s enough to buy you the features, amenities and facilities that you want or need.
- Schedule Visits: Your retirement home must be located in a community that you’ll be happy to live in. One visit is not enough; it is recommended that you schedule a visit on both a weekday and a weekend so you get to see the atmosphere on most days and on days when families visit.
- Assess Your Health Situation: If you have a health condition that requires constant monitoring or the assistance of a healthcare provider, it is important to evaluate whether you are better suited to live in an active adult retirement community or in a continuing care retirement community.