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Last updated: October 26, 2021 • Lifestyle

Pros and Cons of Retirement Communities

Retirement communities are designed to offer those that live there all the necessities for a comfortable living. They are also known as 55+ communities, senior living communities, or active adult communities and require that at least one of the individuals in any household be over the age of 55. While the state of Florida is acknowledged as a haven for active adults, retirement communities can be found throughout the country with amenities that vary based on the interest of those seeking to relocate to these communities.

Unlike assisted living communities, retirement communities are designed to be a new start for seniors that still live an active lifestyle and can easily take care of themselves. While providing for any needs active adults have, they also ensure a wide range of activities that create a friendly environment for those above the age of 55, regardless of their marital status or interests and passions. What is important to note is that, just like any other type of community, these communities come with a list of pros and cons as well and it’s based on these details that you should decide whether relocating to a retirement community is the best thing for you.

As there are many options to choose from, especially if you’re looking for top retirement communities in the Sunshine State, it’s good to know that residences in these communities vary. You can find a home that’s just enough for you or purchase a multi-family home where your whole family can enjoy their life. Depending on the area and the active adult community that you chose, residences can come in any form. There are single-family homes, condos, townhomes, and others to choose from, and make sure to check their amenity lists as well. Finding the retirement community that works best for you is of the utmost importance.

Pros of Retirement Communities

If you’ve ever wondered what exactly is the appeal of these communities, now’s your chance. From safety to the age restrictions and why they are good, we’ll make sure to cover the most common reasons for which seniors love living in these retirement communities.

Amenities

Smiling elderly woman playing tenis recreationally

Similar to gated communities and co-ops, retirement communities have HOA fees, and these fees will help maintain an active lifestyle for you and everyone else living there. The communal amenities you can find in any retirement community give all the residents the possibility to socialize with people close to their age that share their own passions, interests, and activities. These amenities range from sport to theater, reading clubs, fitness centers, and as much golf as you can enjoy. Most retirement communities that focus on the active lifestyle of their residents are organized in such a way that any recreational activities offered are located in close proximity to the residential areas for easy access to anything from shops and restaurants, to health centers and fishing areas. 

Make sure the retirement community you are planning to relocate to for early retirement has well-attended amenities and activities. That will increase your chances to meet new people and you are less likely to feel isolated in a community that works to include you within the community. The Villages, Florida is a great example of such a community where staying in or getting bored can only occur if you actively choose to do so.

Living Amongst Peers

Becoming a resident of a retirement community also means that you become a part of an active friendly social scene with people close to your age. Making friends is that much easier because of it and the wide variety of activities makes it easy to meet new people with whom you share common interests. While in your old neighborhood you might have to deal with new families moving across the street from you and their slightly obnoxious children, here you’ll enjoy quality time with people that share the same respect for silence and enjoy similar activities with you. You might share similar life experiences that will help you connect with them on another level than with your previous neighbors.

Safety & Security

Road gated community south Florida

Most retirement communities in the US are very much like gated communities, in the sense that they are gated. In addition to this, many of them are found in secluded areas that have very low crime rates making them a dream destination for anyone that values their safety and security. These gates make sure that the only people allowed within the community have a good reason to be there and some even have security staff on site that ensures the ultimate protection of their residents. 

These retirement communities can give you the stress-free life you’ve been dreaming of. However, it is important to check how safe the area or city surrounding the retirement community of your choice is. Because, whenever you leave the community, you will be back in the real world where safety is a main concern and dangers can turn up on any corner.

Low Maintenance

Another thing that will be ensured by your HOA fees is your home’s maintenance and repairs as well as anything related to your lawn. For active seniors, having less to care for is a benefit so downsizing will be good for you. Less hassle around the house means more time to spend doing what you love. The community will make sure your home looks good on the outside, while you take care of the inside of your home in between any activity that caught your attention from the start.

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Cons of Retirement Communities

For every pro mentioned already, we have a con to balance things out. These are all explained to you so you are fully aware of what it means to live in a retirement community. Having the bigger picture and seeing both sides of the coin will ensure that you make an informed decision and this will lower the chances of you regretting this decision once it is done.

Higher Cost of Living

Compassionate elderly woman supporting upset elderly man

With all those amenities being maintained and updated for the ever-changing interests of those in the community, the cost of living can grow through HOA fees. Having all of this taken care of isn’t particularly cheap but knowing that your home and community is secure, maintained, insured, and clean does increase the appeal of these retirement communities especially for seniors who no longer want to bother with such things. Find a real estate agent in the area which interests you to figure out what your financial obligations would be if you relocate to a retirement community.

Lack of Age Diversity

While the lack of diversity does limit or completely eliminate the chances of you having to deal with late-night parties that would keep you up all night, or rowdy college students that don’t have a curfew, at times you might miss having youngsters running around. Of course, you can have your family visiting, but generally, the demographic of retirement communities isn’t on the younger side.

You also have to really know yourself because while you might think that living in an age-restricted community will be good for you, it might not. It all depends on your lifestyle and the worst possible thing is to move to a retirement community and figure out that it doesn’t work for you. Maybe you start missing the noise of small children running up and down the street, or it might strike you that everyone around you is either greying or grey. It might be a better idea to rent for a year, see if it fits your lifestyle, and then decide because the last con is something that you want to avoid at all costs.

Rules & Regulations

Folders labeled Regulations and Guidelines

The second thing you have to worry about when it comes to HOAs is the regulations and restrictions they impose. These rules and regulations of retirement communities don’t cover one sheet of paper, but multiple pages. Aside from covering what you are allowed to display in front of your home, they also cover the way in which amenities are to be used, whether you’re allowed a fenced-in yard and many other guidelines. However, calling them guidelines doesn’t quite cut it as if you violate any of these rules, you can get fined.

Harder to Sell

Selling a home in a retirement community is not the easiest thing to do. The fact of the matter is that the market shrinks to those individuals over the age of 55 and this is the first limitation as people over the age of 55 don’t generally look for purchasing homes. Another option would be to pass the home down to your family, but unless one of the individuals in the household isn’t 55 or older, they won’t be able to live in it. They might also have other reasons for not wanting to move there and they might also find it hard to sell because of the age restriction. However, if you contact real estate agents, they have a few tips for selling to retirees that they can help you with.

Conclusion

Deciding to move to a retirement community isn’t an easy decision but we hope the information presented above will help you make an informed decision and not a rushed one. Yes, retirement communities can be a great escape and even the long-awaited vacation you’ve been waiting for after a lifetime of doing things for other people. You earned it and you should find the retirement community that fits best with your lifestyle. However, it doesn’t work for everyone and while trying it out and testing the waters at first, is a great idea, you should not feel bad if it doesn’t work for you. One piece of advice would be to look at retirement communities that aren’t on the other side of the country from your family because, while you might not want to have them by your side at all times, you will miss them and it’s better to have them nearby when that happens.

Retirement communities are designed for the active lifestyle of seniors that want to be able to enjoy as much of the fruits of their labor as possible. Let us know in the comments section below if you’ve been thinking of where you want to spend your retirement and if you’ve made plans. We could also help with information on the various options you can find across the country. Like & Share this article with friends and family and see if you can find the best option for you together.

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