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Retirement Communities

Traditional & Continuing Care for Active Living Over 55

retirement community selfie

Retirement planning is an exciting journey filled with endless possibilities. As you envision your golden years, it's natural to think about the kind of lifestyle you want to lead. Whether it's embarking on new adventures, pursuing hobbies, or simply enjoying some well-deserved relaxation, retirement opens up a world of opportunities. When it comes to future living options, retirement communities are a popular choice for many seniors. These communities offer a range of amenities and services tailored to meet the unique needs and desires of retirees. But with so many options available, it's essential to take the time to explore and compare before making a commitment. After all, finding the perfect retirement community is a big decision that requires careful consideration.

If you're over 55, here's everything you need to know about retirement communities.

What is a Retirement Community?

group of senior adult friends over 55 in a retirement community

Retirement communities have become a popular choice among active and independent senior adults over 55. These vibrant neighborhoods offer a range of economic housing options, including single-family homes, condos, and duplexes. Designed with the needs of retirees in mind, these communities provide an ideal solution for those who no longer wish to deal with the hassle of regular home maintenance.

One of the many advantages of traditional retirement communities is the sense of community and camaraderie they foster. Age restrictions ensure a peaceful and like-minded atmosphere, creating an environment where residents can connect with others who are at a similar stage in life. Whether it's joining social clubs, participating in group activities, or simply enjoying the company of neighbors, these communities offer ample opportunities for social engagement.

Living in a traditional retirement community also means having access to a variety of amenities. Homeowners' association fees typically cover services like lawn care and snow removal, freeing residents from the burdensome tasks of home upkeep. Additionally, many communities boast amenities such as swimming pools, fitness centers, walking trails, and community centers, providing endless opportunities to stay active and pursue hobbies.

What is a Continuing Care Retirement Community?

staff member and senior adult in a continuing care retirement community

Continuing care retirement communities (CCRCs), also known as life plan communities, are a popular long-term care option for older adults. These communities offer independent living combined with access to various levels of care on a single campus.

In a CCRC, residents can enjoy an active and social lifestyle while having access to accommodations commonly found in assisted living or nursing home care. This may include the presence of nurses, dietary aides, or personal care assistants to provide necessary assistance and support.

CCRCs are designed to allow seniors to age in place, meaning they can continue living in the same community even as their care needs change over time. This provides peace of mind and eliminates the need for multiple moves as health conditions evolve.

These communities often offer a range of amenities and services to their residents over 55, such as fitness centers, dining options, social activities, and transportation. They provide a supportive environment where residents can maintain their independence while receiving the care and assistance they need.

What is an Active Adult Retirement Community?

swimming seniors

An active adult community, also known as a 55+ community, offers a vibrant and engaging living experience for senior adults who desire to maintain an independent lifestyle. These retirement communities are designed to cater to the needs and preferences of active seniors, offering a range of amenities, activities, entertainment, and social opportunities.

In an active adult community, residents can enjoy a wide array of facilities that promote an active and healthy lifestyle. From fitness centers equipped with state-of-the-art exercise equipment to swimming pools, walking trails, and golf courses, there are endless opportunities for residents to stay physically active and fit. Engaging in regular exercise not only benefits physical health but also contributes to mental well-being and overall quality of life.

Community centers provide spaces for gathering, socializing, and participating in various clubs, interest groups, and recreational activities. Whether it's joining a book club, attending art classes, or participating in group outings, residents have plenty of opportunities to meet like-minded people and build lasting friendships.

Entertainment options are aplenty in active adult communities. From theater performances and live music events to movie nights and game rooms, there's always something to keep residents entertained and engaged. Many communities also organize special events and parties, creating a lively and festive atmosphere for residents to enjoy.

Living in an active adult community offers the opportunity to embrace a carefree lifestyle, as maintenance and certain household chores are taken care of by the community staff. This allows residents to spend more time pursuing hobbies, traveling, or simply relaxing and enjoying their newfound freedom.

What Amenities and Services Do Retirement Communities Provide?

happy seniors exercising together

Retirement communities offer a variety of services and amenities to support the well-being and convenience of their residents. Whether you're considering a traditional retirement community or a CCRC, you'll find a range of offerings designed to meet your needs and preferences. When exploring potential homes, remember to inquire about which services and amenities are included in the base fee and which may incur additional costs.

Common Services in Most Retirement Communities

  • Lawn Care - Say goodbye to the hassle of mowing your own lawn. Retirement communities often provide professional lawn care services to ensure that the outdoor spaces are well-maintained and aesthetically pleasing.
  • Snow Removal - Winter weather shouldn't be a burden. Many retirement communities take care of snow removal, ensuring safe and accessible walkways and driveways during snowy conditions.
  • Transportation - Getting around becomes effortless with transportation services provided within the community. Whether it's a scheduled shuttle service or chauffeured rides, you'll have the freedom to explore nearby attractions, visit friends, or attend appointments without worrying about driving.
  • Garbage and Other Sanitation Services - Retirement communities handle waste management, making sure that garbage collection and other sanitation services are taken care of promptly and efficiently.
  • Housekeeping - Enjoy the luxury of having a clean and tidy living space without lifting a finger. Housekeeping services are often available to help you maintain a comfortable and organized home.
  • Gated Security - Safety and security are paramount in retirement communities. Gated entrances and security personnel provide peace of mind, creating a secure environment for residents.

Additional Services in CCRCs

CCRCs take retirement living a step further by offering a comprehensive range of services designed to cater to changing health needs. These services may include:

  • Emergency Call Systems - CCRCs typically provide emergency call systems in residences, allowing residents to summon assistance quickly in case of a medical emergency or other urgent situations.
  • Health Assessment/Monitoring - Regular health assessments and monitoring may be available in CCRCs. This ensures that residents' healthcare needs are proactively managed, promoting overall well-being.
  • Personal Care Assistants - For individuals requiring additional support with daily activities such as bathing, dressing, or medication management, personal care assistants are often available within CCRCs.

Common Amenities in Most Retirement Communities

  • Health & Fitness Center - Staying active and maintaining physical fitness is made easy with on-site health and fitness centers. These facilities offer exercise equipment, group fitness classes, and wellness programs tailored to seniors' needs.
  • Swimming Pool - Dive into relaxation and exercise with swimming pools conveniently located within retirement communities. Whether you prefer a leisurely swim or water aerobics, the pool provides a refreshing and enjoyable experience.
  • Clubhouse - The clubhouse serves as a central gathering place for socializing, events, and activities. It's a hub of community interaction, where residents can connect with friends and neighbors.
  • Communal Dining Rooms - Retirement communities often feature communal dining rooms where residents can enjoy delicious and nutritious meals prepared by professional chefs. This allows for the convenience of shared meals and the opportunity to build friendships through dining together.
  • Outdoor Recreation - Many retirement communities offer outdoor recreation areas, such as golf courses, walking trails, and gardens. These spaces provide opportunities for leisure activities, relaxation, and enjoying nature.
  • Community Events and Excursions - Retirement communities foster a sense of community by organizing various events, such as holiday celebrations, live entertainment, educational seminars, and group excursions to nearby attractions. These activities ensure that there's always something engaging and enriching happening within the community.

How Much Do Retirement Communities Cost?

cost calculator

When it comes to retirement communities, the cost of living typically aligns with market values in the area. While each community may have its own unique pricing structure, there are a few common expenses to consider.

One of the typical expenses in retirement communities is the homeowner association fee. This fee covers the maintenance and upkeep of the community's shared spaces and amenities. It ensures that residents can enjoy a well-maintained environment and access to various facilities.

In addition to the homeowner association fee, CCRCs often require an entry fee. This fee is designed to secure your place in the community and ensure access to the different levels of care available. It's important to review the contract carefully, as some entry fees may be partially refundable under certain conditions.

Now, let's talk numbers. On average, the monthly cost of living in a retirement community falls between $3,000 and $5,000. However, it's important to note that prices can vary significantly based on factors such as location, amenities offered, and the type of housing available.

To get a better grasp of the pricing structure and specific costs associated with retirement communities in your desired location, you should contact the communities directly. They can provide detailed information about their fees, services, and any additional expenses that may apply.

How Can I Find Retirement Communities Near Me?

woman with magnifying glass over eye

Looking for retirement communities near you? Here are five ways to find the perfect community for your retirement:

  1.'s Retirement Communities Directory: Visit and utilize their retirement communities directory. This comprehensive directory allows you to search for retirement communities based on location, amenities, and level of care. It's a great resource to narrow down your options and find communities in your desired area.
  2. Local Senior Centers and Organizations: Reach out to local senior centers and organizations. They often have information about retirement communities in the area and can provide recommendations based on your preferences. These centers and organizations may also host events or seminars focused on retirement living, allowing you to gather more information and connect with others in your community.
  3. Online Reviews and Ratings: Explore online reviews and ratings platforms specific to retirement communities. Read firsthand accounts from current and past residents to gain valuable insights into the quality of care, amenities, and overall satisfaction.
  4. Attend Retirement Living Expos: Check for upcoming retirement living expos or fairs in your area. These events bring together multiple retirement communities under one roof, allowing you to gather information, ask questions, and compare different options. It's an excellent opportunity to speak directly with representatives from various communities and get a feel for what they offer.
  5. Ask for Recommendations: Don't underestimate the power of personal recommendations! Talk to friends, family members, or colleagues who may have already gone through the process of finding a retirement community. They can share their experiences, suggest communities they found to be exceptional, and provide valuable insights that you might not find elsewhere.

Remember, finding the right retirement community is a personal decision, and it's essential to consider factors such as location, amenities, level of care, and budget. By using these five methods, you'll be well on your way to discovering retirement communities near you that align with your needs and preferences.

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