Active Adult Communities: 6 things to consider

Are you retired? Close to retirement? Have you worked hard all your life, raised a family, ready to finally relax? Or, perhaps you’re at the apex of your career.

Either way, if you’re in your 50s, 60s, or 70s, an active adult community could be for you.

So what’s an active adult community anyway? It’s a development that offers relatively maintenance-free living for people 55 and older. “Age-restricted” communities typically require that 80 percent of homeowners be at least 55. “Age-targeted” communities, on the other hand, simply market to the 55+ crowd.

However, an active adult community isn’t just a run-of-the-mill development; it’s a lifestyle, with “active” being the key word.

These are not assisted-living facilities or nursing homes. And by no means are children (especially grandchildren!) barred from these developments. Rather, they simply are communities of people in the same stage of life who enjoy the ease and leisure of resort-style living.

Here are 6 things to consider when checking out an active adult community.

1. What are the amenities? (And who can use them?)
An average 55+ community has a pool, gym, golf course, and an activities center (more on that next). Some have libraries, tennis courts, and even spas. Again, your grandkids (and friends) are probably welcome to enjoy the amenities with you when they’re visiting. But make sure to inquire about the hours of operations and guest policies. Many communities are gated and require access cards or keys to enter these pseudo-public places.

Harmony's 55+ community

The Lakes Recreation Center rendering . This 6,200 square foot facility includes multipurpose rooms, a fitness center, and a pool will be exclusive to the 55+ residents only.

2. What can you “do” there? 

An activities center is the heart and soul of an active adult community. It’s typically centrally located so residents can walk or bike there. Here you’ll find a variety of meetings, clubs, and workshops, from arts and crafts to genealogy research to dominoes. There are also movie nights, afternoon tea socials, and holiday cookouts.

Find out if there’s an activities director or if events are planned by a committee of residents. That way you can communicate your interests to those in charge of planning the fun. Some activities centers also allow residents to rent rooms for private events, too.

Community activities are a great way to explore interests you’ve never had time for in the past, make new friends or hone a lifelong hobby in a friendly, relaxed environment.

3. Fresh air 

Kids aren’t the only ones who enjoy (and benefit from) being outdoors. Walking, hiking, and biking trails are common in active adult communities. Parks, too! More and more now include multi-generational features, such as low-impact exercise equipment and fishing piers that make playing accessible to people of all ages. 

Sidewalks are also another prominent feature and allow residents to keep their cars in the garage and walk or bike virtually everywhere. Get outdoors and under the sunlight for at least a few minutes every day. The light alone provides the body with much-needed vitamin D. Don’t forget to wear sunscreen!

4. Convenience 

Nearby dining and shopping options are something to consider when choosing where to live, no matter what your age. Some 55+ communities are located in metropolitan areas, with a lot to choose from. Many more, particularly those in Florida, are tucked away in the suburbs. They’re outside of the hustle and bustle but have restaurants, grocery and convenience stores within the development. Whether it’s the city or country vibe you’re after, active adult communities are built with convenience in mind.

5. Fire-rescue, police, hospitals

Many developments for older adults are self-contained mini-towns with plenty of places to eat, shop, play, relax, and socialize. But it’s equally as important to be close to help in case of an emergency.

Ask where the nearest hospital, fire station, and police station are located. Again, active adult communities do not provide medical care for residents or help with day-to-day living. But it’s nice to know where you can get assistance when needed.

Many communities have private security guards and are gated, providing an added layer of safety. Neighborhood watch programs are also common. Being prepared for an emergency is the best way to find peace of mind.

6. Homes

Today’s active adult communities offer well-designed construction options for nearly every budget.

Most are deed-restricted developments governed by homeowners associations, which include monthly fees to maintain landscaping and infrastructure in the community, This helps the property maintain its value.

Some 55+ communities provide upkeep on individual homeowners’ pools and lawns as part of the monthly homeowners fees. Find out what HOA fees cover and what they don’t.

The beauty of getting older is knowing what you want and how to get it. If you’re 55 or older and want to live in a place that’s both peaceful and full of life, then an active adult community should be a consideration.

Harmony, FL is now in the process of building The Lakes, a 55+ community in the eastern section of town. This high-end development will include all the amenities of Harmony plus more, exclusively for residents of The Lakes. Find out more about this exciting, new project at the Information Center in Town Square. Call 407-891-8358 for more information. 

Harmony home tour

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