Thursday, March 7, 2013

Advantages and Disadvantages of Over 55 Retirement Communities

My husband and I moved to Laguna Woods Village, a popular over 55 retirement community in California, eight years ago and never regretted the decision.  We enjoy the lifestyle, the activities, and the other people we have met since we moved here.  We feel safe, and expect to live in this community, or a similar one, until we are ready for the nursing home!

However, not all of our friends have made the same decision.  In fact, when I mention to them how much we enjoy living in our community, they are often adamant that they would never consider moving to a retirement community.  On several occasions I have asked them to tell me why they feel so strongly about not moving into an age restricted community, since there are several of them in the area.  You will see their reasons further on in this article.

If you are trying to decide whether an over-55 retirement community for active adults would be the right lifestyle for you, here are some of the reasons people decide that they either want to live in one, or do not want to live in one.

The Advantages of Retirement Communities

Access to a wide variety of affordable activities is the number one advantage mentioned by people who like to live in retirement communities.  Depending on where you live, you may have easy access to golf, tennis, swimming, art studios, woodworking shops, garden plots, live theater, clubs and social activities.

Security is the second most common reason many people give for wanting to live in an age-restricted community.  The majority of retirement communities are gated and many also have private security that is a visible presence in the neighborhood.  In addition, with so many residents home during the day, someone is almost certain to be aware if thieves try to break into a home.

Other reasons given for living in a retirement community include:

They are usually near medical facilities;
Most residents are quiet, without loud teens or social events in the neighborhood;
There are opportunities to meet other people in your age group;
The housing is typically designed to provide easy access for the elderly and handicapped.

The Disadvantages of Retirement Communities

The number one reason people have given me for not wanting to live in a retirement community is that they are happy living in their current home or neighborhood where they have lived for a number of years.  If you have close ties to your neighbors and your community, you may see no reason to move to a new community where you would have to form new relationships.

Another reason people have mentioned is the fact that they have adult children or grandchildren who are living with them, and they know these family members would not be welcome in an age-restricted retirement community.  

Even when they do not have young people living with them, some people like living in a community where there are mixed ages.  They enjoy seeing children in their neighborhood, as well as young couples who are just starting out.

Another group of people, especially those in their 50's and early 60's, have expressed the opinion that they believe the residents of retirement communities are "old" and they do not want to live with all those old people.  Often these people view themselves as too young to live with other people in their 60's, 70's or older.

A final reason I have heard is that the Homeowners Association fees in many retirement communities are a little high.  All that easy access to golf, luxurious clubhouses and "free" amenities does not come cheap.  If people do not play golf, or they do not think they will use the other services, they sometimes feel that paying a large association fee is not worth it.

Where Should You Live After Retirement?

There is no answer that is right for everyone.  Whatever you decide is perfectly valid.  If you are happy where you currently live, or if you live in a household with an extended family, you may not want to move to a retirement community.  

On the other hand, if you want to try some new experiences and live somewhere with enhanced security, then an over-55 community may be the right choice for you.

Look over the reasons that others have used to make their decision, and you will know which choice is right for you.

If you are looking for more ideas about where to retire, use the tabs or pull down menu at the top of this page to find links to hundreds of additional articles.

If  you do decide you want to live in a retirement community, here are a few articles that may interest you:

Over 55 Retirement Communities by Del Webb
Over 55 Retirement Communities by Four Seasons
Sun City Texas is a Premier Retirement Destination
Tellico Village Retirement Community
Laguna Woods Village Active Adult Community

You are reading from the blog:  http://www.baby-boomer-retirement.com

Phone of clubhouse in Laguna Woods Village taken by author.

9 comments:

  1. Thanks for letting us see both sides of the advantages and disadvantages of 55 retirement communities. I've been considering our options for a relative. Now I think I know what to so.

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    1. We live in one now, and do not like it. It is like a mono-culture, and most people do not venture out.. We plan on moving.

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    2. It depends on the one where you live how diverse it is. Ours has a lot of diversity, with many Asians who have moved here. However, sometimes people choose a community because there is so little diversity. I'm not judging; that is just what they want.

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  2. it is really nice to read your post. Like both the advantages and disadvantages of retirement communities mentioned here. Look to me informative one.

    Thanks for sharing.
    LasVentanasLV | Age Restricted Living Las Vegas

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  3. I think you put into words very nicely the advantages and disadvantages of moving into a retirement community. If I had lived in one house for a long time and knew my neighbors well, I think I could be hesitant to move to a retirement community. However, I think I would love the security and all the different activities! I would also like being around more people in my stage of life. http://schlegelvillages.com/guelph1/

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  4. Here's a great resource that breaks down the different types of housing out there in a simplified manner: https://www.seniorly.com/education Click on the "Senior Housing" link for the breakdown.

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  5. My dad is about to retire. It's a little weird for me to think of him being at that point in his life. I wonder if he would like to go to a retirement community so he can golf as much as he wants. I know that they would like to live in a place with less stairs since their knees aren't the best anymore. Housing like that generally only has the one floor. http://www.heritagecommons.com

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  6. I'm finding it hard to justify the yearly cost of the fees. What do you think??

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    1. The fees can be high in some communities. Whether it is worth it depends on whether or not you use the facilities. Since my husband plays a lot of golf, the dues we pay are totally worth it. For other people, it might not be worth it, especially if they are not very active.

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