Lifestyle vs. Care Needs: Choosing the Right Retirement Community for You

Retired man enjoys a painting class in his retirement community.

5 minute read

As we enter the next chapter of our lives, many of us are seeking a balance between wellness and pursuing our hobbies and passions. A healthy lifestyle and an active way of living are all anyone wants, alongside a community that supports these goals. Of course, finding the right retirement community for you often means figuring out where you’re at in life and what your top priorities are. Understanding your needs (and wants!) will make the transition to a 55+ community an effortless move. 

Learn more about the differences between lifestyle and care needs when picking an age-restricted community.  

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Lifestyle Retirement Communities

Women during a yoga workout at a park in their 55+ community.

Firstly, let’s cover lifestyle communities. These communities are master-planned retirement communities centered around a specific hobby or interest. You may have heard these referred to as active retirement communities. However, don’t let the name intimidate you if your idea of active is a sip and paint night rather than rock climbing. Lifestyle communities encompass many different ways to relax, recreate, and simply enjoy life. We’ll highlight a few of our favorites to give you an idea of life in a 55+ community.

Different Types of Lifestyle Retirement Communities

Have you always wanted to learn more about the picturesque retirement communities seen in real estate magazines? The properties showcased are typically lifestyle communities for 55+ residents. These retirement communities can also be a great fit for active retirees. However, the drawbacks of lifestyle-focused retirement communities sometimes include limitations. For example, there may be a lack of convenient onsite access to health care and medical facilities as well as a lack of supportive or assisted care.

Living in an active 55+ community might look like:

  • Resort-style communities. Imagine living the vacation lifestyle every day. Resort retirement communities capture the amenities, peace, and fun of your favorite holiday. Additionally, these communities are modeled after the best hospitality trends in the world.
  • Recreation communities. These communities are among the most popular for active adults. Think golfing retirement communities, tennis and pickleball courts, and equestrian retirement communities. Also, if you’re looking for state-of-the-art facilities for sports and outdoor activities, these retirement communities are the ones to explore.
  • Social communities. Looking for a lively events calendar? Social age-restricted communities are a great fit for those looking to find a network of like-minded neighbors. Additionally, you’ll often find these communities have a robust activities calendar. From dancing to book clubs, you’ll find a mix of different ways to stay connected to the community.
  • Nature communities. For those who love hiking, biking, and lounging in outdoor spaces, scenic natural communities provide the perfect escape. Beaches and trails also await residents who enjoy staying active.

Continuing Care Retirement Communities

55+ friends playing card games at a wooden table.

Wellness is key in care-based retirement communities. The amenities you can expect from these communities include onsite or nearby medical facilities and home health services. Additionally, they include concierge services such as housekeeping, meal prep, and assistance with daily tasks and health care needs. You’ll also find amazing spas and restorative wellness amenities such as yoga and meditation in these communities. 

Different Types of Care Communities

The type of community that is best for you will depend on your individual needs and the level of care you’re seeking. The most common types of care communities are:

  • Assisted living. Assisted living communities are designed to support aging adults as well as disabled individuals in everything from healthcare to housekeeping and meal preparation.
  • Short-term assisted living. Although less common, many 55+ communities offer short-term assisted living in the event that residents need additional medical support while recovering from an injury or illness. 
  • Memory care. A type of assisted living, memory care facilities are specifically designed to support residents managing dementia and Alzheimer’s, even in the early onset stages.
  • Supportive care communities. If you aren’t quite at a stage of life where you’re ready to take advantage of an assisted care community, a supportive care community is an excellent option. These communities provide medical support and wellness services. However, they typically do not provide full assistance with daily tasks. You might find variations of supportive care amenities under the umbrella of independent living communities.

Do Active Lifestyle Communities Exist for Those Needing Additional Support?

So, are active lifestyle communities and care communities mutually exclusive? Our team of retirement real estate experts has found many prime communities that are bridging the gap between active retirement and assisted living.

Transitional Communities

Accessibility is a priority in modern retirement communities. Newly constructed homes feature accessible layouts alongside amenities and recreational facilities designed to promote inclusivity and wellness. Also, for residents looking for additional support, transitional communities can provide a retirement option that evolves alongside your evolving needs. These communities offer residents the option of transitioning to an assisted living arrangement. Additionally, the benefit of a transitional community is that residents retain the familiarity and peace of remaining in the community they love, even after transitioning to a different retirement model. 

The Best of Both Worlds

Enjoy the best of both worlds with active retirement options alongside 55+ communities that prioritize your individual care needs. Achieve this goal by touring the right communities. Ultimately, finding your perfect match all comes down to knowing what to look for in a retirement community. Will you choose the best putting green or the best nearby restaurants and shopping? What about amazing, therapeutic spa services to relax and rejuvenate? Whether a lifestyle community or a care community is the right fit for you will depend on both your current and future needs.

55places Can Help You Find the Right Community

Think a 55+ is right for you? Our team of expert realtors can help you find the perfect neighborhood. Contact us today to explore your options.

Are you ready to start touring properties? Do you want to focus on a few key details before venturing out? Refining your retirement real estate search can help streamline the process and illuminate what you’re really looking for. Also, you can learn more about the different types of retirement communities available with Your Guide to Exploring Different Types of Active Adult Communities.

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