Showing posts with label age restricted retirement communities. Show all posts
Showing posts with label age restricted retirement communities. Show all posts

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Choosing a Continuing Care Retirement Community

One retirement option that is appealing to more and more retirees as they age is the concept of moving into a Continuing Care Retirement Community.   These are a great choice for people who wish to move only once after they retire and stay in the same place for the rest of their life, without the stress of worrying about ever having to move again.

There are approximately 1,900 CCRC's in the United States.  The most popular states for them are Pennsylvania, Ohio, California, Illinois, Florida, Texas, Kansas, Indiana, Iowa and North Carolina.

Cost of Moving to a CCRC

Although they appeal to a large number of retirees, moving to a Continuing Care Retirement Community is not cheap.  Most of them require the residents to make a large upfront deposit that ranges from about $80,000 to $750,000 ... with a average of about $250,000.  In some cases, a portion of the deposit may be refunded to your heirs when you die, depending on how long you lived in the community.  While this may seem like an impossible amount of money for the average person, the majority of residents used the equity they received when they sold their home ... since they had no intention of moving back into a single family residence, again.

In addition, you will be expected to pay a monthly fee that covers your housing, meals and other amenities.  This can range from $1000 to $2700.  Again, while this may seem like a lot of money for some people, remember that it covers your rent, utilities, meals and transportation for the rest of your life.  This expense is affordable for many people who are planning to live off of their Social Security and/or pensions.  Therefore, while expensive, these communities are not as unaffordable as many people may first believe, although some people may need to supplement their Social Security or pensions with money from their retirement savings or other sources.

Types of CCRC's

Your community may be all-inclusive, taking care of nearly all your needs for the rest of your life; or they may be partially inclusive, where certain things are included and others are covered by private insurance; or they may be set up with a fee-for-service structure, where you only pay for what you use.

Continuing Care Retirement Communities vary in how they charge you for medical expenses and nursing care.  Some CCRC's include health-care costs.  In other cases, residents can use their private insurance, Medicare, and long-term care insurance to cover their medical needs and skilled nursing care. It is important to discuss this with management in advance, so you have a clear idea of how this will be handled.

Before you move in, expect the CCRC to evaluate your ability to cover your future anticipated expenses.

What to Expect in a CCRC

These communities are appealing residential communities, not old-fashioned nursing homes.  Residents live in private apartments or cottages.  Depending on the community a resident chooses, they may either have one meal a day or all of their meals served to them restaurant style.

Like other over-55 communities, the typical CCRC will have clubs, activities, entertainment, transportation, classes, swimming pools, shops, hair salons, and fitness facilities.  In addition, many of them have access to caregivers or skilled nursing care, often provided by outside contractors for an additional fee, for those who need it.  These residences also have modern amenities like cable television and Wi-Fi.

While the average age to move into a CCRC is about 80, some people do decide to move in while they are in their 60's and 70's, especially if they have have a chronic condition that makes it more difficult for them to prepare their own meals, drive their own cars, etc.  It is an ideal living situation for many senior citizens who are single, have had a heart attack or stroke, who are losing their eyesight, developing Parkinson's Disease, or have similar infirmities.  Younger adults are frequently delighted that they made this decision when they realize that they are still young enough to fully enjoy the amenities.  Older residents often say they wish they had moved in years before.

How to Find a Continuing Care Retirement Community

One way to search for a CCRC in the area where you want to live is to go to  This is the website of the Commission on Accreditation of Rehabilitation Facilities ... which evaluates and accredits both rehab facilities and retirement communities.

On the website, go to Home - Find a Provider.  Click on Advanced Search. Then enter the State and under Program scroll down until you find Continuing Care Retirement Communities.  When I entered this information for my home state of California, I found 24 CCRCs in my state that were accredited by CARF.  By clicking on the ones in the towns that interested me, I was able to learn more specific information about them.

Once you have a list of CCRCs that interest you, I highly recommend that you look at their individual websites and then go out and pay them a personal visit ... possibly more than once.

In addition to the CARF website, you may also find information on the CCRCs in your state by going on the website for the Department of Social Services in your state.  Their site should explain state regulations for these communities and answer some of your questions.  For example, in California, I learned a lot at, including finding a list of both non-profit and for-profit providers.  The state list was much longer and more comprehensive than the list on the website for, which indicated to me that there are many CCRCs that are not affiliated with CARF.

Moving into a Continuing Care Retirement Community is an appealing choice for many people and one that should be explored by anyone who wants the security of knowing that they have a permanent home for the rest of their life, regardless of changes in their health.

Resources: (from the California Department of Social Services)

"Understanding CCRCs," Where to Retire Magazine, January/February 2014. (website for the Commission on Accreditation of Rehabilitation Facilities)

If you are looking for more retirement information, use the tabs at the top of this page to find links to articles about where to retire in the United States and abroad, financial planning, medical issues, family relationships and more.

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Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Myths About Over 55 Retirement Communities

Having living in an age restricted over-55 retirement community for more than nine years, I have noticed that there are a lot of myths about these communities.  As a result, I thought this would be a good time to clarify a few things and dispel some of these myths.

What You Should Know about Active Adult Communities

1.  Many people believe that in order to move into an over-55 community both members of a couple must be at least 55 years old.  However, only the husband or wife needs to be age 55 or older.  Their spouse can be any age.  It is also possible for a resident who is over the age of 55 to have a roommate who is at least age 40, or they can have an adult of any age as their live-in caregiver.  There are also special exemptions for residents who have a dependent adult child who is mentally or physically handicapped, although you may have to provide evidence of the adult child's disability.  Contact the retirement community that interests you to see if they have any specific requirements or limitations, such as whether live-in caregivers can use the amenities.

2.  Often younger people of retirement age believe that everyone in an age restricted community is extremely old.  The truth of this may depend on how old the community is.  For example, the community where I live was founded in the 1960's.  Therefore, there are a number of residents who have lived here for 30 years or longer. Consequently, the median age is 76, although it has been falling in recent years because of the influx of younger retirees. There are thousands of residents who are much younger than the median age.  In fact, the Baby Boomers club is the most popular and fastest growing club in our community.  If you are looking at a new age-restricted community, the median age may even be under age 70.

3.  Sometimes people are hesitant to move to one of these communities because they have the impression that everyone is either a shut-in or that they spend their days sitting on the front porch in rocking chairs.  While there are definitely some shut-ins in any retirement community, the vast majority of people are very physically and mentally active.  In our community, we have a group of synchronized swimmers, horseback riding classes, tennis courts, two busy golf courses and a wide variety of exercise programs including line dancing, circuit training, yoga, water aerobics, and much more.  There is a large group of bridge players and over 200 clubs. There are also regularly scheduled dances throughout the community. 

4.  Another misconception is that your children and grandchildren will not be able to stay overnight in your home with you.  In truth, guests under the age of 18 can legally stay up to 60 days a year.  In fact, when one of our daughters moved to Southern California from another state, she and her two young children stayed with us for about six weeks until she found a job and an apartment of her own.

5.  Baby Boomers who still have active careers may feel uncomfortable about whether they should move into any place labeled a retirement community while they are still working.  However, about a quarter of the people who live in our community have jobs.  Some of them work full-time, like my husband, and others work part-time, as I did until I recently retired.  Not only do many people work outside the community, but our retirement community also offers jobs to hundreds of residents.  These residents hold a wide variety of jobs including positions as gate guards, bus drivers and office clerks.  Many retirees find that working part-time for the homeowner's association is a great way to supplement their retirement income.  In fact, homeowner's associations in retirement communities may be one of the easiest places for retirees to be able to find part-time jobs.

6.  Another mistaken impression some new residents have is that these communities are so safe that the residents do not need to practice good personal security.  As a result, it is not uncommon for people to leave their homes unlocked while they go for a walk, leave their cars unlocked when they visit friends, or leave their purses sitting in plain view on the front seat of their cars.  (I have frequently observed all of these behaviors.) Good personal security is as important in a retirement community as anywhere else.  While these communities usually do have a low crime rate, crime does exist.  It isn't wise to tempt outside visitors and workers in the community by practicing lax security.

I hope this has dispelled some of the myths that you may have had about living in a retirement community!  If you have other questions, please leave them in the comment section and I will modify this article to answer the readers' inquiries.

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Public domain photo of a golf course is courtesy of

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

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Phone of clubhouse in Laguna Woods Village taken by author.