Active Adult Communities: Age-Restricted vs. Age-Targeted

Del Webb\'s Sun City Huntley, located in Illinois, is a perfect example of an age-restricted active adult community for those 55 years and better.
Del Webb’s Sun City Huntley, located in Illinois, is a perfect example of an age-restricted active adult community for those 55 years and better.

Active adult communities are designed to support a healthy, active lifestyle for older adults. Some communities are age-restricted, which means that residents must be over a certain age. These communities may also have limitations on how long visitors under a certain age are allowed to stay in the home. Other communities target active adults over a certain age, but do not have any restrictions on who can live within the community.

What are the Rules?

The rules regarding residence at age-restricted communities can vary greatly from one community to the next. Many active adult communities only allow residents who are over the age of 55. However, the rules are unique to each community. Some communities may set the minimum age at 50, or even 45.

A community’s rules may also stipulate that only one resident meet the age requirement. There may be a different minimum for additional residents. For example, a married couple whose ages are 55 and 45, may still meet the requirements to live in a community that is restricted to those 55 and older, if the rules state that only one resident must be over the age of 55.

Visitor Policies 

Choosing between an age-restricted or age-targeted community can be difficult for some prospective residents. As each is designed with active adults in mind, there may be similar amenities and types of home available at either type of community. However, the general environment may be a bit different when a community is opened to all ages. The choice of an age-restricted or age-targeted community is not a question of whether or not residents enjoy the company of those not 55+. Those who choose an age-restricted community often prefer a quiet, more subdued setting.

These communities may limit how long children can visit at a resident’s home during each year. Although within most communities, ample time is allowed for visits. The rules about children visitors may be an important consideration for some potential residents. For example, those who expect to have grandchildren stay with them for all, or a large portion of the summer months, may prefer to live in an age-targeted community.

How do You Choose?

Some potential residents are drawn to the community amenities and low-maintenance homes found within active adult communities, but enjoy the diversity of living in a community that is open to all ages. Before buying a home, it is a good idea to spend some time visiting different areas within the community. If possible, visit at different times, as the environment at 10 a.m. on a Tuesday may be very different than it is at 2 p.m. on a Saturday. The choice between age-restricted and age-targeted active adult communities is largely a matter of personal preference. By considering the options and comparing various communities, residents can have a better idea of which environment they will prefer.

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