Senior Retirement Communities

Retirement communities are a popular option when searching for senior citizen housing solutions that offer seniors a space where they can feel comfortable with their own community.

Senior retirement communities come in many variations, from high-rise apartment buildings to sprawling retirement villages and everything in between.

The best retirement communities understand that residents usually want a mixture of independence along with having access to assistance when needed. Active retirement communities cater to healthy senior citizens who wish to maintain a physically and socially active lifestyle as long as possible. Continue reading to find out more about retirement communities and how to find a good one in your area.

Who should consider a senior retirement community?

Retirement communities are good choices for single and married senior citizens who wish to escape the responsibilities of homeownership and join a community of similar-aged residents. Age-restricted retirement communities provide many social interaction opportunities and are good choices for older adults who are mostly healthy and who would better benefit from an independent living facility.

Seniors considering active retirement communities should be able to complete the tasks of daily living with almost no assistance, including bathing, cooking, dressing and housekeeping. Couples who live together in retirement communities should be able to provide for one another any assistance required on a daily basis, as most do not offer on-site healthcare assistance.

Benefits of Senior Retirement Communities

The benefits of living in senior retirement communities are similar to the benefits of other independent living arrangements for senior citizens. The housing choices in retirement communities include apartments, condos, cottages, townhomes, mobile homes or other small single-family homes. However, even freestanding houses are usually constructed close together and the entire retirement village is connected with sidewalks and paths that lead to communal areas. Many residents of senior retirement communities love how these housing complexes create a small neighborhood of like-minded citizens.

Related Article: Assisted Living Facilities

Additional benefits of living in senior retirement communities include the following:

  • Little or no yard work or home maintenance required, even on cottages or single-family homes
  • Daily opportunities to connect with other seniors
  • On-site restaurants, outdoor dining, barbers and beauty salons
  • On-site exercise options, such as swimming pools, tennis courts and yoga studios
  • Libraries and comfortable reading areas
  • Transportation services and sometimes, laundry service
  • 24-hour security, including security guards, locking gates and cameras
  • Scheduled recreation opportunities and field trips
  • The ability to decorate your unit as you please
  • In some retirement villages, you may keep a pet or two
  • Snowbirds or others who travel frequently have more freedom to come and go due to included home maintenance services

Although most senior retirement communities have age limits for residents, some will offer a degree of flexibility. Over 55 retirement communities are the most popular age level, but some require residents to be age 62 or older. Other retirement villages will allow residents as young as age 50 to move in if they meet other application requirements. This can be helpful to couples with more than a few years’ age difference between them, or for older senior residents who wish to have a child age 50 or more move in with them.

Drawbacks of Living in a Senior Retirement Community

Although social interaction and a sense of community are main draws to senior retirement communities, some residents may find that they miss the privacy they had before. Other disadvantages to living in senior retirement communities include:

  • The expense. Active retirement communities usually come with a high cost to access their amenities and fees must be paid out of pocket.
  • Limits on the kinds and sizes of pets you may have.
  • A louder living environment, as you live close to your neighbors.
  • Pressure from your new friends and neighbors to engage in social activities that may not appeal to you.
  • Limits on the ages of visitors and the length of time that children or grandchildren can visit you.
  • If your health begins to fail, you may have to move to a place where you can receive greater care or supervision.

How to Locate the Best Retirement Communities

Seeking out the best retirement communities is similar to other house hunting you may have done through the years. To find a safe and comfortable senior retirement community, you must spend some time researching options online, asking friends and relatives for recommendations and visiting different retirement villages to see if they feel like a good fit for you.

If you can, visit the retirement communities at different times of day to observe the meals that are served, the way the residents interact and what degree of independence each community offers. Be sure to notice the facility’s level of cleanliness and whether the grounds are well-kept. Make sure that all amenities mentioned online or in retirement communities brochures are currently available.

It is also wise to look for safety features in senior retirement communities, both in communal areas and inside housing units. Active retirement communities should provide safe walkways with even, non-skid surfaces, handrails, grab bars in bathrooms and showers, and 24-hour security services. The individual homes in retirement communities should be well-lit and include a plan for emergencies that may arise.

Always check the Better Business Bureau for complaints filed against over 55 retirement communities and their management teams. There are many websites that exclusively offer reviews of retirement communities and other senior housing options, and getting feedback from actual residents can be one of your most vital resources for making a housing decision.

When choosing from two or more retirement communities, remember to take into account how close they are located to your loved ones. You may prefer the amenities at one of the retirement communities, but choose another because it will be easier for your friends and family to visit you regularly.

Admission Requirements for Senior Retirement Communities

The best retirement communities may have a waiting list for admission, so it is wise to shop for a community well before the need for one arises. The retirement community application process can be complicated, and usually requires a good bit of financial information. All senior retirement communities will require proof of age and income. As with any important legal document, it is wise to have an attorney review lease agreements for retirement communities and explain any portions that you do not fully understand. Check the retirement villages residents’ rights, lease termination policies and how it handles evictions.

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