Pros and Cons of Living in a 55+ Active Adult Community

Couple walking

As retirement approaches, many individuals and couples start considering their living options often deciding to downsize. One popular choice is a 55+ active adult community, designed specifically for those aged 55 or older who desire an active and engaging lifestyle. While these communities offer numerous benefits, it's important to weigh the pros and cons before you decide to buy a home in an age-restricted community. In this blog post, we'll explore the advantages and disadvantages of living in a 55+ active adult community, helping you determine if it's the right choice for your retirement years. First thing you need to consider is if you or your partner is age-qualified as usually living in an active adult neighborhood requires that one member of the household has reached the age of 55 not quite a senior yet! Also because 55 may be nowhere near when many people will become a retiree a lot of community residents are still working either full time or part time. These types of communities are, as the name implies designed for active adults. However most of the communities aren't full of sports and outdoors fanatics! Shoveling snow may have been the most recent exertion of many homebuyers in this age group. As in any major life decision you'll want to get all the facts before you weigh the advantages and disadvantages of living in an age restricted neighborhood.

Pros of Living in a 55+ Active Adult Community:

  1. Vibrant Social Life: One of the primary advantages of these communities is the built-in social network. You'll have the opportunity to meet and connect with like-minded individuals who share similar interests and life experiences. Activities, events, clubs, and classes are often organized to foster a sense of community and provide ample opportunities for social interaction. You'll find in most residents that of all the things they love about living in 55 + neighborhoods is the social aspect. Many residents ( not all ) form strong bonds with the folks who live nearby. In fact the design of most of these communities also includes and encourages social interactions, for example, rear loading garages with front facing porches, sidewalks that wind through the neighborhood on the way to the fitness center or dog park etc.

  2. Active Lifestyle: 55+ communities are specifically designed to promote an active and healthy lifestyle. They typically offer a range of amenities such as fitness centers, swimming pools, walking trails, golf courses, and more. Engaging in regular physical activity can contribute to improved overall well-being and help you maintain an active and independent lifestyle. Many of these communities also cater to the not so strenuous activities such as gardening, crafting, reading, dancing, yoga and more.Couple resting after bike ride

    These communities are designed with the specific goal of promoting a healthy and vibrant lifestyle for the age group 55 and older. With a wide array of amenities and activities, residents have endless opportunities to stay physically active and socially connected. Some of these communities are built with  fitness centers equipped with state-of-the-art equipment to swimming pools for water aerobics and laps, there are ample options to maintain and improve physical fitness. Walking trails and biking paths meander through the community, encouraging outdoor activities and providing scenic areas for leisurely strolls. In addition to the physical activities, these communities often have a clubhouse that offer an abundance of social events, clubs, and classes tailored to various interests and hobbies. Whether it's joining a book club, attending cooking classes, participating in art workshops, or engaging in group outings, residents can always find something to keep their minds sharp and their social calendars full. The active lifestyle of a 55+ active adult community ensures that residents can embrace retirement with energy, enthusiasm, and a strong sense of camaraderie.

  3. Maintenance-Free Living:  Many active adult communities provide maintenance services, including lawn care, landscaping, and exterior home maintenance usually included in the monthly hoa fees.  This relieves residents of the burden of time-consuming upkeep tasks, allowing them to focus on enjoying their retirement and pursuing their interests. One drawback to this might be for anyone who enjoys gardening and plants however many communities have a dedicated vegetable garden as part of the communal amenities.

  4. Sense of Security: Security is often a priority in 55+ retirement communities. Gated entrances, security personnel, and surveillance systems are commonly in place, providing residents who live in these communities with peace of mind. The tight-knit community environment also contributes to a sense of security, as neighbors tend to look out for each other.

  5. Accessible Amenities: These communities are designed to cater to the needs and preferences of older adults. Amenities are often conveniently located and designed with accessibility in mind. This can include single-story homes, grab bars in bathrooms, wider doorways, and other features that promote mobility and safety. Some communities feature townhomes and condos.  Many 55 plus homes have zero entry showers, no steps between levels, prominent lighting, open living areas. You may also find, depending on the location and size of the community regular transport shuttles to the local supermarkets, shopping malls and drug stores. Some places will organise day trips to local and further a field points of interest.   

Cons of Active Adult Communities.

  1. Age Restriction: The age restriction you must be at least 55 years old, can be a downside for those who have close relationships with younger family members or desire a more diverse community. If you have adult children or grandchildren who you want to live close to, or if you prefer a community with residents of various age groups, a 55+ community may not be the best fit. The lack of age diversity could be one of the cons of active adult communities for some. 

  2. Lack of Children and Families: Because of the age restriction, you may find a limited presence of children and families in these communities. If you enjoy the energy and diversity that comes with a mix of age groups, you may feel a sense of isolation or miss the opportunity to interact with younger generations.Extended familyIn most cases the rules state that one resident must be over the age of 55 to purchase a home but there are of course times when younger family members and guests are allowed stay. In fact you'll find floor plans that are designed for main floor living for the primary residents but with a second story seperate living unit. A place where family members and or grandkids would be happy to spend some time. 

  3. Potential for Higher Costs: Living in a 55+ active adult community often comes with a price tag. The amenities and services provided can result in higher homeowner association fees or monthly dues. Additionally, the cost of purchasing a home in these communities may be higher than in other areas due to the demand and exclusivity. The cost of living needs to be considered before moving to a 55 plus neighborhood as hoa dues are typically higher because of what the communities include. With newer communities the homes tend to start off at a lower price point but depending on popularity could increase as the development continues and all the amenities are completed. With older neighborhoods you should be aware of any large improvements planned  that could have assessments applied to the residents. 

  4. Limited Privacy: In a close-knit community, privacy can be a concern for some residents. Common areas, shared facilities, and community events may limit personal space and solitude. If you value your privacy and prefer more seclusion, this aspect should be carefully considered. Active adult communities are built with an emphasis on smaller lots with less or zero maintenance and more community activities. If you're not the type of person to make friends with other residents remember this lifestyle isn't for everyone. To enjoy living in a home in a 55 plus community you're going to find others with similar interests. Independent living can be found in traditional neighborhoods so depending on where your retirement destinations take you the right community could be completely different.

  5. Potential for Changing Needs: While these communities cater to an active and independent lifestyle, it's important to consider the potential for changing needs as you age. Health issues, mobility limitations, or the need for specialized care may arise, and these communities may not always be equipped to provide the level of support of perhaps an assisted living or senior living community. Depending on the stage of life you find yourself, if you require certain  healthcare services it may be that a home in an active adult community is not for you. Continuing care retirement communities or a retirement home that offers care services or assisted living services are other types of communities to choose.

If you're thinking of moving to a 55+ active adult community right here in the Clayton/Greater Raleigh area we would love to help. Call text or email David to see how he can be of service.

This post was written by David O'Doherty, a licensed real estate agent since 2007 helping buyers and sellers in Clayton, NC and the Greater Triangle Area of North Carolina. He is committed to providing his clients with exceptional service and personalized attention throughout every step of the real estate process. If you're looking to buy or sell a property in Clayton, NC, or the surrounding areas or have any questions about the local real estate market, don't hesitate to contact David O'Doherty today. Call or Text (919) 601-2268 or email [email protected]

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