What Is a 55+ Community? Everything You Need to Know

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Are you considering making a move to Florida to live in one of the many active adult communities throughout the state? You may like the idea of living in an environment with people close in age to you, where you would have access to convenient amenities and features. However, before you make such a big decision, it helps to learn more about these communities, including the pros and cons of living in them. In this guide, you will discover what it truly means to live in a 55+ community and how some of these adult living communities differ from one another.

What Is a 55+ Community? (Age-Restricted)

In Florida, a 55+ community is an age-restricted housing community for aging adults looking for a comfortable and convenient living space. Roughly 80% of units throughout the community are occupied by someone at least 55 years old, if not older. Younger people may occupy the remaining 20%, but that isn’t always the case. While someone younger than 55 can live in one of these communities, most residents are aging adults who’ve chosen the community for various reasons, such as affordability, access to convenient amenities, and an added level of safety and security.

Search Homes for Sale in 55+ Communities in Florida HERE

Types of 55 and Over Communities in Florida

Not all 55+ communities offer the same amenities and experiences as others. These are a few different types of aging adult communities available to the public throughout Florida. Keep in mind that these are all independent living communities, and are not assisted-living facilities. 

Retirement Communities

While aging adults who still work can live in a retirement community, these communities are best suited for those who’ve retired and no longer have to worry about getting up and leaving for work each day. Most retirement communities throughout Florida will offer different recreational activities to keep the aging adults active and busy, especially now that they have more time on their hands because they’re no longer working. In these communities, the adults can take care of themselves and are in relatively good shape.

Luxury Aging Adult Communities

Luxury aging communities are available for those who want a more elegant and sophisticated option. It will undoubtedly cost more to live in one of these communities. However, the luxury adult living communities tend to have much to offer, including spacious golf courses, on-site restaurants, swimming pools, fitness centers, walking trails, and pre-planned activities to keep the adults entertained. In addition, these luxury communities may provide freshly prepared meals to residents throughout the day so that the residents won’t have to worry about cooking anything if they don’t want to.

clubhouse pool at Wellen Park Renaissance development in Venice Florida

Budget-Friendly Adult Communities

Contrary to what some believe, you don’t have to be wealthy to take advantage of the opportunity to live in a 55+ community. Many budget-friendly options are available for those wanting a safe and comfortable space to live while surrounded by people within the same age group. Although the budget-friendly options may not offer as many amenities as the luxury living spaces, they still provide a certain level of convenience, with residents having access to a clean and spacious environment with the basics.

The Features and Benefits of Living in a 55+ Community

There is a lot to love about living in a 55+ community. However, these are only some of the many benefits residents can enjoy when joining one of these adult living communities:

  • Experience fun opportunities to socialize with people within the same age group
  • Become a member of a welcoming and supportive community of people who care for one another and take pride in living in a clean, safe environment
  • Choose from different floor plans based on your needs and the number of people who will live with you in the home
  • You don’t necessarily need to be retired to enjoy living in these supportive adult communities
  • Have access to convenient amenities that will keep you active and entertained throughout the years
  • Feel safer because of the added security provided within these communities

And, if you choose one of the luxury adult living communities, you can enjoy all the additional benefits of luxury living. Luxury or not, many of the 55+ communities will provide amenities for residents, such as fitness centers, swimming pools, and safe hiking trails for outdoor exercise.

florida retirement community 55+ view from above homes in neighborhood

The Cons of 55+ Communities

While there are advantages of living in 55+ communities, some of the cons to consider before you officially make your move include:

  • The initial cost of moving into some of these communities is quite high, so not everyone can afford to relocate
  • Some of the 55+ communities have rules that residents must follow. While this isn’t always a problem, not everyone likes the idea of following a lengthy list of rules
  • The living space in some communities may be smaller than the home an individual lived in before choosing to move to the new community. Although this isn’t an issue for those looking to downsize and who can get used to it.

If you’re considering moving to a 55+ community, you must consider the pros and cons before making such a big decision. It’s also beneficial to review any rules these different communities have before choosing the right one.

Can Friends and Family Visit and Stay If They’re Not 55+?

One of the most significant concerns adults have when considering moving into adult living communities explicitly available for those at least 55 years old or older is not being able to have younger visitors stay with them. If this concerns you, you’re probably asking questions such as, “What if I want to have my children visit me? What if I want my grandchildren to stay with me for a bit? Will that be allowed?”

And the answer is YES!

While these adult living communities exist for the primary purpose of providing a safe and enjoyable living space for aging adults, the 80/20 rule is a federal law in place that makes it possible for older adults to have younger people stay with them. For example, any community providing housing for older adults will need to have 80% of the units occupied by at least one person at least 55 years old, if not older. However, the other 20% may be occupied by younger individuals.

Because of this rule, you can have your loved ones stay with you, temporarily or permanently, as long as there is enough space inside the home for each occupant. Knowing this may give you peace of mind that choosing to move to a 55+ community is in your best interest.

Are Active Adult Communities the Same as 55+ Communities?

Although there are some minor differences between an active adult community and a 55+ community, they also have much in common. Most of these communities have clubhouses for community events and activities and offer additional amenities that residents can participate in for free, such as golfing and swimming.  In general, active adult communities tend to have a lot more in the way of activities and events and are very similar to other major resort-style communities in Florida. It’s just that they have an age restriction.

retired couple doing yoga active adult community 55+

Active adult communities and 55+ communities are sometimes different. For example, some 55+ communities may provide meals for residents so that they don’t have to make breakfast, lunch, or dinner, but this is a rare practice in active adult communities. Because these individuals are considered “active,” they are responsible for preparing their meals, which can be done from the comfort of their homes within the community.

55+ Communities vs. Assisted-Living Facilities

Just because a community is 55+ does not mean it is an assisted living facility, although some 55+ communities will have some services to support their residents. In most assisted living facilities there will be meal services as well as healthcare facilities as well as staff who can assist during the case of an emergency. There are some 55+ communities that may offer this type of support, but it’s typically on a much smaller scale. Therefore, some 55+ communities may not the ideal place for an aging adult who may need a bit more assistance. In that case, the adult should move into an assisted living facility where they can receive help on demand as often as they need it.

Before you make a move to a 55+ community, consider your wants and needs and do your research on the different communities available for aging adults. You want to choose the most suitable option based on the amenities that are most important to you.

Why You Might Want (Or Not Want) to Live in a 55+ Community

If you love the idea of having quick and easy access to amenities that will keep you entertained and enjoying yourself, living in a 55+ community may be the perfect move for you to make. These communities tend to offer an extensive list of amenities and entertainment options for their residents to keep them active, socializing, and having a genuinely good time with one another.

If you currently feel lonely and would love to live in an area where you can meet new people and make friends, moving to one of these adult living communities is an excellent idea. In addition, you wouldn’t have to worry about keeping up with landscaping and yard work because you’d pay HOA fees that would cover the cost of hiring professionals to do the work for residents.

But, if you don’t like the idea of paying HOA fees or having rules to follow, you should reconsider moving to a 55+ community. Residents must follow the rules to ensure the community is safe, welcoming, and enjoyable for everyone there. You can always look at the rules beforehand and decide if you feel they’re reasonable or not before you officially decide to move into one of the many incredible 55+ communities throughout the state of Florida.

Deciding Which is Right for You (Maybe Even Non Age-Restricted?)

Overall, it’s important to consider all of your needs and wants for your future home. If you are mostly looking for a safe environment surrounded by similarly aged people, then perhaps a general 55+ community would be a fit. But if you are healthy and interested in a more active retirement lifestyle with tons of activities and amenities (like a resort) then an active 55+ community might be right for you.

But after some consideration, some people might actually choose to live in an active resort-style community that is non age-restricted. 

The choice is really up to you and how you envision your lifestyle and who you want to be surrounded by. Some people our realtor partners work with like the idea of being around people of differing ages, even younger people who might make them feel younger. Others much prefer being around people their own age. So it really is just a personal preference.

There are pros and cons to each, but taking the time to consider what you really want for your future lifestyle will help you make the right choice for you.

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