Illinois 55+ Active Adult Retirement Communities

58 Communities in Illinois

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Illinois Retirement Communities


When most people think of communities to live in retirement, Illinois retirement communities are typically not the first place to cross their mind. But a new generation of Baby Boomers has found that leaving the state of Illinois for the hot spot, retirement communities across the South is not the ideal for them. In recent years, active retirement communities have sprung up across the state of Illinois as much of the 55+ crowd has decided not to head south after retirement. The main reasons that most Illinois residents aged 55+ opt to stay in the area is often due to their job or the desire to remain close to friends and family. Still, many of the residents of active Illinois retirement communities are so called "full-backs." Their name is derived from the fact that they first lived in the North but moved to a southern state for retirement only to move fully back across the country to their previous home state.

Most of Illinois' residents choose to stay in the state after the age of 55 and into their retirement years. For many, the lure of staying close to kids and grandkids is too much to leave the state. Still, for many other residents of Illinois retirement communities the reason is they simply do not want to retire. Unlike many of the active retirement communities in the South, many of the residents of active adult communities in Illinois are still working full or part time. While the appeal to live in an active adult community is strong, they are not ready to leave work. As a result, developers have catered to the needs of people who want the active adult lifestyle but also want to stay close to home.

Climate & Geography

Located in the Midwest, Illinois borders Wisconsin, Iowa, Missouri, Kentucky, and Indiana. Lake Michigan, one of the five Great Lakes, is the largest body of water in Illinois and it is a valuable resource that supplies drinking water to millions of people in bordering states. Illinois is generally divided into three regions: Northern, Central, and Southern. Northern Illinois is the largest region in the state and it mostly consists of the Chicago metropolitan area (Chicago and its surrounding suburbs) as well as these nearby counties: DuPage, Lake, McHenry, Kane and Will. Central Illinois is the second largest region and its major cities include the state capital of Springfield, Peoria, and Champaign-Urbana. The third region, Southern Illinois encompasses the area south of US Route 50.

The state of Illinois' climate varies depending on location. Generally, Illinois has cold winters and hot, humid summers. However, Southern Illinois and areas near the southernmost part of the state have significantly more moderate winters and less snowfall.

Recreation, Culture, & Entertainment

Whether you are retired or not, Illinois active adult communities can provide a great place to live. While the days may not be filled lying by the pool and golfing like many communities across the South, residents still enjoy the lifestyle that an active adult community can provide. Here, residents can partake in the multitudes of clubs, interest groups, classes, events and social activities provided by the communities. Though the winters are cooler, the peace of mind being close to friends and loved ones is well worth it.

Living in an age-restricted community in Illinois offers many cultural opportunities, especially in the city of Chicago. Here you will find world-class museums, cultural centers and art galleries of all sizes. Major institutions include the Art Institute of Chicago, Chicago Symphony Orchestra, Joffrey Ballet, Lyric Opera of Chicago, Adler Planetarium, Field Museum of Natural History, Museum of Science and Industry, and so much more. Smaller cities like Galena boast historic buildings and state parks, while Central Illinois has the city of Peoria with theaters and unique shopping districts.

Illinois is known as the "Land of Lincoln" and the state capital of Springfield is full of history with the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum, Lincoln Home National Historic Site, and the Lincoln Tomb. There are plenty of state parks and natural areas filled with recreation areas, as well as fishing and wildlife areas.

Cost of Living & Taxes

Compared to the country as a whole, Illinois' cost of living is just slightly higher. Gas prices are slightly higher than the national average as well. The state income tax rate is calculated by multiplying net income by a flat rate. The Illinois sales tax is only one percent higher than the national average. Sales tax is categorized at two rates, 6.25 percent for general merchandise and 1 percent for food, drugs, and medical appliances. Property tax is not a state tax, but a local tax collected by counties, townships, municipalities, school districts, and special districts.


The state of Illinois has ten nationally ranked hospitals and there are 119 hospitals in the Chicago area, of which 36 are top ranking. People from all over the world come to the Chicago metropolitan area to visit top medical schools like University of Chicago and Northwestern University for their research programs and medical centers. Other nationally ranked hospitals include Rush University Medical Center, Advocate Christ Medical Center, Alexian Brothers Medical Center, Loyola University Medical Center, and NorthShore Evanston Hospital. There are more physicians per population than the U.S. average.