There are several considerations to consider when choosing an active retirement community. These include on-site amenities and location.
Whether you want to soak up the sunshine in a beachfront setting or go cosmopolitan, you’ll find that active retirement communities can fit your lifestyle needs. Before buying, tour several and make a list of your priorities.
When you move into an active retirement community, your neighbors are typically in a similar phase of life and may have the same interests. These communities are usually quiet and kid-free, as the residents have already raised their families and are now focusing on enjoying their retirement years in an environment that is cared for and maintained by others who share your lifestyle.
Before you decide on an active retirement community:
- Make a list of your preferences for amenities and lifestyle.
- Visit the communities on your list and take a tour.
- Allow yourself plenty of time to visit each one, and go back to your favorite communities more than once to get a feel for how they operate on different days.
It is also essential to look at the community fees. Many include meal plans, housekeeping services, home maintenance, utilities, and fitness programs in the monthly payment. But be sure to ask what is not included in the fee so you are comparing apples to apples.
Many active retirement communities, like Cambridge Village, offer various amenities and activities designed with their target market in mind. These amenities include golf courses, swimming pools, exercise facilities, and tennis courts. They also can consist of classes, social events, and other organized activities that help residents stay active and make new friends.
As you tour communities, prioritize the amenities that are most important to you. For example, if you enjoy dining out and attending cultural events, look for those attractions. Or, if you want to get out in nature, consider looking for parks, walking trails, and picnic areas.
You should also consider the size and type of homes available in the community you are viewing. Some 55+ communities offer single-family houses, while others have apartments, condos, or townhomes. Some offer low- or no-maintenance living, a big draw for those tired of mowing, snow-blowing, and raking. Consider the purchase price and monthly fees if you’re on a tight budget.
The lifestyle you seek in retirement is critical in choosing the best active retirement community. Determine what you want to relinquish control over — things like trash pickup, landscaping, and home maintenance – and the most critical activities.
Consider whether you are interested in age-restricted or age-targeted communities, as both have pros and cons. For example, age-restricted communities typically have amenities designed for older adults and are often quieter and safer than age-targeted retirement communities.
Pay close attention to the monthly fee structure when comparing community options. Ask what the fees include: meal plans, housekeeping services, home maintenance, utilities, and fitness classes. You also may want to check staff retention rates, as turnover is a good indicator of a community’s culture. Lastly, be sure to visit your potential communities several times. They may feel completely different on a Saturday afternoon than on a Wednesday morning.
Many active retirement communities have homeowners’ associations that regulate various aspects of the community, including maintenance standards, noise, and landscaping. If you are considering a community with an HOA, it’s essential to understand how the association operates and how much the dues will be. You should also consider how long the association has been in place and if it’s ever had problems.
Another factor to consider is whether the homeowner’s association will add any new amenities in the future and what those costs may be. Talking to current residents is one way to get a feel for these add-ons and how the association has handled past increases.
Take time to visit your top picks. Visit them on several different days to see what the environment is like at those times of the day. Also, check the proximity of nearby grocery stores, banks, local medical facilities, and hospitals. Finally, make sure to take a look at the floorplans that are available and ask about aging-in-place features.