Archive: July 2008
By John Howells, author of Where to Retire. When my wife and I began researching retirement communities, some 20 years ago, we were somewhat puzzled by the concept of age-restricted communities. Since we had always lived in mixed-generation neighborhoods, we quite frankly could not understand why retirees would voluntarily segregate themselves into neighborhoods of same-age neighbors. Recalling our days of raising a family in a traditional suburban neighborhood, we fondly recalled how we enjoyed socializing with our mixed-generation neighbors. Summer block celebrations, backyard barbecues, bridge and poker parties. Also Christmas, New Years, Fourth of July, and a host of other social events were neighborhood celebrations. When new families with children moved in, we quickly made them welcome and have maintained friendships with some for decades afterward. Now, why in the world would retirees shun this pleasant lifestyle?
North Carolina has long been a favorite destination for retirees. Since the early part of the twentieth century, famous names such as F. Scott Fitzgerald, Henry Ford and Thomas Edison have made the state their home during summers and then into their retirement years. More recently, the state has grown in popularity amongst the 55+ crowd as the traditional notion of a Florida retirement, common among older generations, has changed. Whereas many retirees in earlier decades sought a quiet retirement in warm areas along the ocean such as Florida, a growing number of today's retirees are seeking places that offer four season climates, continuing education, and proximity to cultural and recreational attractions. As a result, North Carolina has emerged as a logical choice for much of the 55+ crowd - both retired and non-retired.