What Is a 55+ Community?

A group of active adults laughing and drinking around the outdoor fire pit in their 55+ community.
Curious about 55+ communities? We've got you covered.

6 minute read

In this article, we’ll delve into the essence of 55+ communities and learn more about the features, benefits, and unique experiences they provide.

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What Features Are Available in a 55+ Community?

A group of female friends playing golf in their 55+ community.

55+ communities have specific features that make them ideal for retirees—mainly amenities that provide residents with an active lifestyle. Some of the amenities available in these communities include golf courses, clubhouses, swimming pools, game rooms, and fitness centers.

Prime Locations

Commonly found in areas with mild weather, 55+ communities offer year-round outdoor activities and strive to provide residents with easy access to health care and daily necessities. Also, 55+ communities usually aren’t far from cultural and recreational amenities such as golf courses, community centers, shopping districts, and local attractions.

A Social Lifestyle

Residents of 55+ communities can engage in a variety of social activities and events, ranging from fitness classes and book clubs to art classes and hiking clubs. Many communities also plan outings to nearby attractions. The social opportunities allow for an active lifestyle, where individuals can continue to learn, grow, and make meaningful connections well into their retirement years.

Homes With Modern Designs

Homes within 55+ communities often feature single-level layouts, wider doorways and hallways for mobility aids, and lever-style door handles for ease of use. Open floor plans create a spacious environment, while well-lit spaces enhance visibility and safety. Many homes also feature energy-efficient appliances and fixtures.

Maintenance Services

These communities usually provide maintenance services to help residents with household upkeep. Common services include lawn care and landscaping, exterior maintenance like painting and roofing repairs, as well as regular upkeep of common areas and amenities.

Age Restrictions in a 55+ Community

Neighbors having an outdoor party in a 55+ community.

55+ or active adult communities are legal in the United States under certain conditions set forth by the Housing for Older Persons Act (HOPA) of 1995. This amendment to the Fair Housing Act allows housing providers to create age-restricted communities where at least 80% of the occupied units must have at least one resident who is 55 years of age or older.

Individuals under 18 can’t live in 55+ communities full-time. However, exceptions are provided for visitors, who can stay for a specific period. Adults younger than 55 can live in a 55+ community if their spouse is over 55. The rule should be explained in the homeowners’ association (HOA) rules.

What Are Some Benefits of Living in a 55+ Community?

Friends laughing while having an outdoor dinner in their 55+ community.

A 55+ community provides residents with some key advantages that they would not get in a standard neighborhood.

Social Opportunities

One of the biggest benefits of moving into a 55+ community is the opportunity to make new friends. These communities often have a variety of clubs, activities, and events, from exercise classes to arts and crafts to group outings.

Maintenance-Free Living

Many 55+ communities offer maintenance-free living, which means that residents don’t have to worry about home repairs or yard work. This can be particularly attractive to those who are no longer able or interested in doing these tasks themselves.

Amenities

55+ communities often offer a wide range of amenities, such as fitness centers, swimming pools, tennis courts, and golf courses. These amenities make it easy for residents to stay active and engaged.

Safety and Security

Active adult communities often have security measures in place, such as gated entrances or security patrols, that can provide peace of mind for residents. Additionally, because many communities are designed with older adults in mind, they may have features such as grab bars in bathrooms or non-slip flooring that can help prevent accidents.

Access to Health Care

Many 55+ communities have health care services available on-site or nearby, which can be nice for residents who need regular medical care or assistance.

Community Events and Activities

Active adult communities often offer a variety of community events and activities, such as concerts, holiday parties, and lectures. These events can be a great way for residents to get to know their neighbors and be part of a community.

Sense of Belonging

Moving into a 55+ community can provide a sense of camaraderie that some retirees may miss. By living in a community with other retirees, residents can be part of a larger group with shared experiences and interests.

The Process of Choosing a 55+ Community

A 55+ couple relaxing outside of their home in a 55+ community.

All 55+ communities may have similar structures and rules but different features and amenities. Therefore, it’s important to select a community that fits your needs. 

1. Research

  • Research online to get an idea of what types of communities are available and what they offer.
  • Make a list of potential communities that meet your needs and budget.
  • Check out community websites and online reviews. Look for photos and videos that give you a sense of what the community looks like.

2. Visit Communities

  • Schedule tours of the communities on your list.
  • During your visits, pay attention to the layout of the community, the condition of the facilities, and the friendliness of the staff and residents.
  • Take notes and photos to help you remember the details of each community.

3. Consider Your Needs

  • Make a list of your wants and needs, such as access to health care, social activities, and distance from family and friends.
  • Use this list to consider each community and narrow down your options.
  • Consider factors such as cost, amenities, and the types of homes available.

4. Evaluate the Financial Aspects

  • Understand the financial factors, including fees, contracts, and potential costs for future care.
  • Consider whether the community fits your budget and long-term goals.
  • Review the community’s financial statements and talk to a financial advisor if necessary.

5. Get to Know the Community

  • Talk to staff to get a sense of the community culture and social life.
  • Attend community events and activities to see if they match your interests.
  • Ask current residents about their perspective on the community.

6. Make a Decision

  • Once you complete the above steps, weigh your options. Make a decision based on what community best meets your needs and goals.
  • Consult with your family, friends, and financial advisors to ensure that you’re making an informed decision.
  • Take your time and don’t rush into a decision.

55places Can Help You Find the Right 55+ Community!

55places.com is here to help you find the 55+ community that fits your lifestyle, needs, and budget. We’ll make the homebuying process as simple as possible, regardless of the type of community or home you’re looking for. Contact us today to find a 55+ community that’s suited for you!

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About 55places

We’re changing the way people 55 and older are searching for their perfect next place. With a national network of hand-selected real estate experts, plus comprehensive information, unbiased content, and on-the-go insight about thousands of communities across the country, we’re a trusted resource paving the way from here to home. Whether you’re interested in a low-maintenance single-level residence, an active lifestyle or age-qualified community, an intimate enclave, or anything in between, we can help you make your next move the best one yet.

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