Is an Age-Restricted Community Right for You?

If you’ve been wondering what seniors your age do when they get to this stage of life, you’re in luck: There are a lot of options out there! If you’re an active senior who enjoys your independence, there’s no shortage of senior communities for you to join. Many baby boomers across the United States who are seeking socialization, connection, opportunities, and fun are choosing new homes in age-restricted retirement communities.

But that’s not the only option for older adults. Keep reading to learn about all your senior housing options, for now and for later.

What is an Age-Restricted Community?

An age-restricted community is exactly what it sounds like: a housing community that is restricted to certain persons depending on their age. These communities are often a gated, country club–style neighborhood made up of single-family homes or townhomes designed specifically for older adult living.

Age-restricted communities are actually a specific category of senior living designated by the U.S. Department of Housing & Urban Development (HUD) in the Fair Housing Act; this act says that at least one person in the home must be 55 years of age or older in at least 80% of the homes. Additionally, anyone under 19 is restricted from being a permanent resident. (The Housing for Older Persons Act (HOPA) allows the age restriction, rather than just age-targeting which, by law, must accept all ages).

One big draw of age-restricted communities—besides the minimum age requirement—is that maintenance and upkeep are often taken care of for the residents. Most communities pay fees to a homeowners association (HOA), which arranges all maintenance and repair services.

This makes these active adult communities ideal for seniors with adult children who are looking to be surrounded by fellow active seniors.

Age-restricted communities aren’t just a way to engage with others your own age. These neighborhoods often have many shared amenities, making it even easier to meet new people and catch up with old friends. It’s common to find fitness centers, swimming pools, walking trails, golf courses, and other recreational areas in age-restricted communities.

Note that these 55-plus communities do not offer medical care or other health-related services.

These active senior living communities are an excellent option if you do not foresee yourself going through any health issues as you age.

Comparing Age-Restricted Communities to Other Options

On the other hand, if you are anticipating medical issues or you just want to plan for any possibilities, there are other senior living options available to you.

Age-restricted communities rely on the real estate business and all that comes with it—realtors, home builders, and home buyer headaches. Many older Americans who would rather avoid those stressors choose an independent living community or a continuing care facility.

Independent living communities are similar to age-restricted communities in that they target a certain age group—typically 55-plus. These age-qualified rental properties have a central dining room that provides meals, in addition to maintenance and housekeeping services. There is typically a wide array of activities and amenities for the residents. These facilities typically do not provide licensed skilled nursing care or personal care assistance.

Many older adults choose independent living over age-restricted communities because they get the connection and independence that come with the latter, but with resort-style living that you get when your cooking and cleaning are handled for you. Why waste some of the best years of your life on maintenance, when you could be out on the links or shopping with friends?

If you’re planning for the future or you’re a bit older than 55, you may want to research a continuing care facility. These communities are designed to help seniors age in place—that means that residents can transition through various levels of care, from independent living to assisted living to memory care, all without having to move to different facilities.

In a continuing care community, you can stay with the friends you make living in the senior apartments. As you age and require more assistance with personal care, you can move to another building on campus, such as the assisted living facilities. Assisted living facilities support residents in personal care, including eating, moving, bathing, dressing, toileting, and more.

Should you experience an Alzheimer’s or dementia diagnosis, these facilities are set up for memory care needs. You will be cared for 24 hours a day in a comfortable place that you already know, providing you and your family with comfort and peace of mind.

Pros and Cons of Age-Restricted Communities

Overwhelmed by choice? Check out this list of pros and cons of living in an age-restricted community.

Pro: Lawn maintenance, outdoor upkeep, and home repairs are taken care of for you.
Con: You have to pay for these services likely via your HOA fee; additionally, inside maintenance and cleaning is up to you.

Pro: You have the freedom to enjoy these perks without changing your lifestyle too much.
Con: You need to spend time grocery shopping and preparing all of your meals.

Pro: You are able to spend the years of your life when you aren’t working as you wish.
Con: There are no healthcare services on-site if you have an emergency.

Pro: You get to make friends with like-minded retirees all just blocks from your home.
Con: There is very little diversity in age.

Pro: You’ll have an excellent option for socialization and fun in your active senior years.
Con: There isn’t an aging-in-place option as your care needs change.

To learn more about your options, call team. Our expert representatives can explain each of your options to you, listen to your needs, and help you come to a decision that you’ll be happy with for years and years to come.