Active adult communities are becoming increasingly popular. If you are 55 years old or older you may have heard the term active adult communities or age qualified communities, but what are they? Why are they so popular? How do I select the right community for me?
What is an Active Adult Community?
There are three types of Active Adult Communities, Residential, Continuing Care Retirement Communities (CCRCs), and Rental Retirement Communities.
Residential Communities – The communities can be comprised of single family homes, villas, townhouses, or condominium units. Each unit / home is owned by at least one person that is 55 years of age or older. Legitimate Adult Active Communities, obtain a special exemption from Fair Housing that allows a community to be “age qualified” in order to reside in the community.
These communities will offer amenities such as swimming pools, tennis courts, fitness rooms etc., social activities such as a card room, arts and crafts, aerobics etc., and in some cases low or no exterior maintenance such as no yard maintenance or painting the exterior, etc. These communities are designed to engage social interaction and activities within the community. Outside the gates, most communities are strategically located near popular shopping, entertainment, and medical facilities so you can also enjoy life outside the community. It is important to note that Residential Communities are not required nor do they typically offer medical services. Residential Communities are for the active adults who can sustain independent living. If you are looking for housing and need more assistance or continuing care, then a CCRC or a Rental Retirement Community may be your better fit.
Continuing Care Retirement Communities (CCRCs) and Rental Retirement Communities. – These types of communities will offer a lot of the amenities and services as a Residential Community; however additional services such as meal preparation and medical services are also provided. In addition, you typically do not have any ownership of the unit in a CCRC or a Rental Requirement community.
Why are Active Adult Communities So Popular?
During our work and family lives we have routines and relationships that have been a part of our lives for decades that help shape who we are. As children go out in the world and build their own lives and we start winding down our careers, it’s a big change for many people. You will no longer see your work colleagues on a daily basis, the kids have their own pursuits and while they will always be part of your life, they are building their careers and family life. Active adult communities offer so many activities within the community you will forge new friendships with other residents.
Convenience – Many communities offer so many activities that you can fill a whole day of activities and never leave the community. Low or no exterior maintenance is a big draw. Most of these communities take care of lawn maintenance, landscaping, pressure cleaning the roof, and painting the exterior. Every community is different so if you are looking to buy in one of these communities, make sure you know what is included.
Healthy Living – It is has been pounded into our heads that diet and exercise are vital to our overall health. Social interaction and mental stimulation have also been added to the list. According to some articles from leading medical organizations, being socially active and challenging the mind are key components along with diet and exercise, for optimal health, longevity, and independent living.
According to the National Institute of Aging, connecting with other people through social activities and community programs can keep your brain active and help you feel less isolated and more engaged with the world around you. Participating in social activities may lower the risk of some health problems and improve well-being.
Selecting the Adult Community for You
There are a number of factors in selecting the community that is best for you. Here are the top factors to consider:
Type of Home – Active adult communities are available as single family homes, condominiums, villas, and townhouses.
Activities of the community – Just about every community will have card rooms, arts and crafts, and clubs for the residents. Some communities go all out and offer lots of activities. Other activities you will find are a fitness room, social workout classes like pilates and yoga, billiards, pickle ball, tennis, golf, swimming, performing arts theatre, etc. Determine what activities are a must for your community.
Cost – There are two things you need to consider here; 1) the price of the property and 2) the amount of the association dues. The price to purchase a unit / home in an active adult community varies widely. You can find units as low as $100,000 to over $1,000,000. Typically condominium units and villas will be in the $100,000 – $250,000 range. Single family homes will typically start in the mid $200s.
The homeowners association dues are expenses paid by every home / unit owner of the community. These fees can also vary widely. On the low end expect association dues to be around $300.00 per month. Dues can be as high as $1,0000 per month; however the majority are between $400 and $600 per month. The dues vary so widely because of the services offered. Dues usually cover liability insurance for the community, property management, security, the clubhouse, pool, landscaping, cable, etc. Generally speaking the number or more elaborate services offered by the community, the higher the association dues. It is important to note what services / items are included in the association fee to get a true comparison between communities.
Preparing for the future – There is no easy way to say this. We all get older and some of us may require the use of a walker, a wheel chair, or handles installed in the bathroom in order to maintain independent living. Fortunately, most developers of active adult communities have taken this into consideration when designing the homes. Most homes are single level homes. Condominiums will typically have elevators or lifts for owners of units on higher floors. If you are considering a unit on the second or higher floor just confirm there is a lift or elevator present. Most of the hallways and doorways are wider to accommodate a wheel chair or a walker and bathrooms typically have larger reinforced block to support the installation of balance handles.
Location – Amenities outside the community are just as important as the community itself. Scout the area for restaurants, shopping, entertainment, medical providers, public transportation, and airports to ensure the location is offering you everything you want in a community both inside and out.
There are numerous active adult communities in our area. Contact us to learn more about the different communities and help you find the best one for you.