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Thoughts about Retirement Communities?
Old 11-22-2020, 08:13 AM   #1
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Thoughts about Retirement Communities?

What do you think of retirement communities? Are you living in one now? Did you consider it, then decide against it? Why?

I'm just curious. I'm exploring my options for relocation, and a retirement community is one of them. I don't have any specific location in mind, just exploring ideas.

My initial pro/con list, based on my limited knowledge would be...

Pros:
  • A settled community of retired older adults, people I'd probably have more in common with than working families or college students.
  • Activity programs that can help to build social ties -- hopefully something more than yoga, bridge, and Wii bowling.
  • Maybe they would have some sort of healthcare provisions, given that they're serving an older population. I don't need that yet, but I may someday.


Cons:
  • I'm 59, so I don't feel quite ready for something like that. I suspect that most people in a retirement community would be 65+, older than me.
  • The variety of social interaction gets restricted when you're only dealing with people of a certain age. There might also be an echo chamber effect.
  • What about the mental effect of being surrounded by aging people, some of whom have serious health problems? Would it just reinforce a sense of myself as old and on the decline? I don't know, but it's a concern.
  • No doubt there will be a company overseeing the place, and it will have its particular rules and regulations. I'm not a big fan of all that. There will probably be some fees attached as well.


Overall, I'm leaning away from it, at least at this point in my life. But still, I thought I'd get people's opinions.
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Old 11-22-2020, 08:22 AM   #2
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Not that my/our opinion(s) would influence anybody, but being somewhat heterodox, both DW & I would choose a diversified area with a wide variety of ages......kinda like 'real life'.
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Old 11-22-2020, 08:26 AM   #3
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My parents moved to a 55+ last year. They are 75 and seem to be about the middle of the range of folks there.

They love it. Benefits for them include your Pros (minus the medical support), but also:
No screaming kids playing next door. No teenagers having a party playing music loud late at night. On site gym, pool, tennis. Mum has joined the landscaping committee and they repot the planters and things around the neighborhood every few weeks. They've made some new friends. Everything is done for them outside the house - landscaping, painting, etc.

Cons:
Yes, they pay fees, but not much more than if you have a lawn service, a gym, cable, etc, yourself.
Yes, regulations. Things are a bit cookie cutter. But the HOA is focused on keeping things looking nice, very FL, so it doesn't bother them and wouldn't bother me.
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Old 11-22-2020, 08:30 AM   #4
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I wouldn't do it at 59, but maybe at a later age. Keep in mind that the communities 'age' as the get older. So if you move into a new community avg age will be younger.
You choose Sun City Florida (one of the oldest in the country), and the average age is super high.

Another issue I have personally is I tend to like a more urban experience. Most of these communities are really very suburban in nature. Just not my thing at this point in my life.

Its not being ageist, but rather wanting socialization w/ people with interests that are more attuned to the interests of people closer to ones age.
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Old 11-22-2020, 09:02 AM   #5
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It has crossed my mind.... While I have given up on my more phyisally demanding hobby (working on old cars) for the most part, I still maintain our property, house, etc and pursue my other hobbies... But I can see the day coming when I can't. When that happens I'll seriously "consider" downsizing and moving to a independent living community. But that's about as far as I'm willing to go.
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Old 11-22-2020, 09:16 AM   #6
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My feeling is that how active and how well you feel is influenced by the people around you. My parents didn't move to one until they were 76/78, and they were among the youngest there. I had hoped they would wait until they really had to move to such a place, but it probably wouldn't have been long due to my Mom's mobility issues, but they did seem to age more once they moved there.

I just turned 59. When I read this I thought about whether I would consider moving into a retirement community at the OP's age. Then I realized we are the same age, and that I have absolutely no interest at moving for quite a long time unless my health changes. Never even crossed my mind.

Maybe you aren't as active as me. Maybe you'd find a place with more active activities than my parents did. Maybe you're feeling more of a social void. It never hurts to check places out to know what your options are now or later, but get a real sense of the ages of the people there since that's who the community will be geared towards.

My folks moved into basically a condo/apartment. A unit in a large building. You might be thinking of someplace where you'd still have your own home on your own lot. That seems more reasonable, but you might be paying for a lot of community activities and amenities geared towards people 20-30 years older than you.

I could see the appeal of living in a neighborhood with no kids, and no rental houses with college age kids throwing loud parties. But some of those over 55 communities don't enforce who live there. Especially with COVID you may have working people moving back in with their parents, maybe with children.
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Old 11-22-2020, 09:22 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Car-Guy View Post
It has crossed my mind.... While I have given up on my more phyisally demanding hobby (working on old cars) for the most part, I still maintain our property, house, etc and peruse my other hobbies... But I can see the day coming when I can't. When that happens I'll seriously "consider" downsizing and moving to a independent living community. But that's about as far as I'm willing to go.

I am like Car-Guy, it would require a significant change in my lifestyle to move to a retirement community. I also work on old cars as my hobby, take care of my 2.5 acres of yard, inground pool, and house. Including all repairs and improvement projects. DW also enjoys the outside yard projects and having our big yard. Also have my motorhome that we enjoy taking trips. I know that I severely dislike apt living or anything close to that; add in no dense urban housing either. I am firmly a suburban (or nearly rural) type person and like traditional single family house; preferably with a big yard and nice detached garage. I would only consider a retirement community when I have changed my lifestyle to almost opposite of what I currently have. Certainly there will come a time when I am not able to do all the big yard work, and limited in my physical abilities, but I see that as many years out. For now, I have the retirement community as a future consideration. My biggest drawback is the dense population and would have to give up all my old car fun since I would not have a nice work space.



For some the retirement community is a great option when they are younger. Everyone is different and that is why we all have choices. ER Eddie is doing good to ask the questions and get opinions on how it is living in the retirement community before making the leap. If Eddie has the capability, maybe do a short term rental for couple months in a retirement community. Sure that is nothing like being there permanent, but it allows a chance to learn and see it more detail than a 1-2 day vacation.
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Old 11-22-2020, 09:23 AM   #8
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Personally, I like our home - which, with the kid out of the house makes for a lot of space for just me and DW.

I had never seriously considered a retirement community, however, I regularly visit mom a few times a year in hers (one of the very large ones in FL), and I can see the attraction.

As far as being 59, I really don't believe that's too young at all. I think it's simply a matter of when you believe you're ready for that kind of lifestyle. For some, it would work for them at 50, for others they may not be ready for it until 70. I don't believe age difference from most folks already there is a big issue - you'd make friends and find folks with similar interests as you and/or who might introduce you to other things which may become future interests. When I go on jogs around mom's community, I regularly see adults in their 40s and 50s who do live there, though obviously the majority are older.
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Old 11-22-2020, 09:24 AM   #9
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Lots of threads on this subject, the right answer depends on each individual...
Quote:
We decided against a 55+ community even though we loved their (one story) floor plans. I am NOT suggesting our reasons are universal. Our reasons - YMMV.

Pros
  • Easier to meet people who could become friends. It has been harder in a mixed gen neighborhood, and it only gets harder the older we get.
  • Everything taken care of - grounds, comm center, pool.
  • Quality homes, nice floor plans (we leaned toward Epcon communities)
Cons
  • A steady diet of old folks. Mixed Gen has been more interesting, keeps you young at heart and more current in the world.
  • Might be an active lifestyle at the start when the median age is 60, but what about 15 years later when aging really starts setting in? When the median age is 80? We went to an established Del Webb community built 20 years ago, it was creepy to us. Wheelchairs and walkers all over, no thanks.
  • More than younger folks, IME older folks like to complain about their health and politics, that’s tiresome. Listening to a group of old folks detailing their medical issues and comparing who’s worse off is unbearable to me - I’ve (briefly) overhead those discussions a few times, no thanks. I guess some people enjoy those discussions...
  • We still embrace change, technology etc. IME many old people resist change.
  • Relatively high HOA fees.
  • Other people’s grandkids can become a nuisance, noise, taking over the pool/comm center.
Again, your pros and cons could be much different.

[Caveat: We also relocated. If you're staying in the same community with many established friends/contacts, it might change your POV.]
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Old 11-22-2020, 09:25 AM   #10
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Wife and I are both 59 and we moved into a 55+ community a little over 6 years ago. We absolutely love it. Wife still w*orks but I took a package three years ago.

Pro’s

1. Lawn Maintenance is taken care of.
2. Nice walking trails.
3. A 37,000 sq. Ft. Facility center (gym and indoor pool, yoga room, other rooms for club functions.)
4. Nice neighbors (particularly quiet.)
5. Group Actvities (if I choose to join.)
6. Low cost condo fees.
7. Price appreciation of a new build in a good community.
8. There are over 100 clubs in our community (including a “younger” club, and a “working stiffs” club.

Cons

1. The older folks are a bit high maintenance and display an “entitlement attitude.)

2. Some residents are very ego-centered and want to dominate BOD decisions.

Otherwise, this community works well for us even though we are not very active in groups.
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Old 11-22-2020, 09:25 AM   #11
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My parents were snowbirds in a pretty low cost, 55+ community in central Florida (away from both coasts) from the time they were about 65 onward. Dad passed at 83 and Mom's place is up for sale right now, as we work toward her exit from the community. They owned 3 different places in the same community. It is a mobile home community consisting of about 150 mobile homes.

They LOVED living there. I never thought of my parents as being all that social, but after they retired, they became very social. I guess they just never had time to be social while working and raising us kids. They fully embraced the group dinner outings, weekly Monday coffee gatherings, Bingo, group cruises, holiday feasts in the club house, etc. Neither of them were into sports, but the community had golf, card game, shuffleboard, horse shoe, and water aerobics groups that kept the others busy. There was not an on-site gym. Lots of residents would ride their bikes up and down the relatively quite/isolated streets of the community.

They both become well thought of in the community and both served on the HOA Board and various committees through the years. Dad was known as one of the "always ready to help" guys in the community who kept busy helping neighbors with various projects in and around the homes. Owners are responsible for their own lawn maintenance, and Dad did that for a few years and then hired a "service" to do it. The "service" was an 85 year old guy in the community who loved to keep busy.

The park itself was 55+ and no pets permitted. I would guess the average age was more like 70-75. There were a few in their 50s/60s, but not a lot.

Central FL offers warm weather without paying the price of coastal living. Mom and Dad really never had much interest in beach living. And they didn't have a huge budget and they lived quite frugally. Sebring, FL offered them pretty much everything they wanted for a reasonable cost. As snowbirders, they kept their official residency in PA.

I'm thankful that they had 15+ years in the community as it really was something they enjoyed. They spent 6 months a year there and 6 months in PA. Mom made the decision to put her place up for sale this year partially due to the complexities of COVID, but also because she was starting to sense that being down there on her own, away from her family was becoming more risk to her health (even for non-COVID issues) at her age (82). We've had the place up for sale for 3 months and there hasn't been much activity on her place or any of the others up for sale in the community.
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Old 11-22-2020, 09:26 AM   #12
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Besides the points made above, unfortunately these days one might want to check out if the political persuasion is slanted heavily on one side. This point might matter to some, but not others.
The Villages in FLA fits that bill, as one example.
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Old 11-22-2020, 09:35 AM   #13
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My thoughts and experiences. At 59 we moved into a 200 house retirement subdivision, part of a 700+ golf course community. Main reason was to have a house that we could leave for 4-6 months for our summer travels. Small yard with minimal landscaping so no problems there. Safe area to leave the house unoccupied for long periods. Near our 2 sons. And as we get older and do less traveling there are things to occupy our time here. Been here almost 7 years and working out how we expected so far. HOA can be a pain but that's the same in almost all communities.
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Old 11-22-2020, 10:02 AM   #14
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I've been toying with this idea for at least a couple of years but have nixed it because I felt like I was making "final arrangements" or something and I was barely 60. However, I've been considering it again in light of last June's heart attack. Maybe "63 is the New 80"? I really don't want to pay a lot more basically just for a crib since I am living dirt cheap right now. What if I live another 20 yrs anyway? But if I have 10yrs or less remaining, man I could shoot the works and never feel it.

I am using this Winter / Spring 2020/2021 to just net surf the research part of things.
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Old 11-22-2020, 10:13 AM   #15
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We have thought of it for the future, maybe 75+. Or I should say, I have thought of it more than DH.
Right now we are in a single level home, which would be fine for aging in, also.
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Old 11-22-2020, 10:35 AM   #16
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My inlaws lived in a place near Kissimmee that was great. Two golf courses tons of activities. Very active from what I could see, softball, pickleball, tennis . Sure places age but old people also die off allowing younger ones to move in. I wouldn't think places would gentrify too much if they're desirable to younger seniors. But if you move into a place that doesn't offer much for active seniors I could see it.
I'll definitely be checking out some 55+ communities in the next few years.
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Old 11-22-2020, 10:46 AM   #17
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Originally Posted by Dtail View Post
Besides the points made above, unfortunately these days one might want to check out if the political persuasion is slanted heavily on one side. This point might matter to some, but not others.
The Villages in FLA fits that bill, as one example.

According to the news this fall, I think there turned out to be a surprising mix in that one. Personally, I wouldn’t care as much either way but would just not want it in my face. A good thing about an HOA and it’s tedious rules might be banning advocacy signs to help keep the peace.
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Old 11-22-2020, 10:47 AM   #18
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When the time comes, I plan on going to a CCRC. Hopefully that time is 20 years off, but you never know. Between now and whenever that is I want to live "out in the wild" with a natural age distribution.
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Old 11-22-2020, 10:54 AM   #19
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My inlaws lived in a place near Kissimmee that was great. Two golf courses tons of activities. Very active from what I could see, softball, pickleball, tennis . Sure places age but old people also die off allowing younger ones to move in. I wouldn't think places would gentrify too much if they're desirable to younger seniors. But if you move into a place that doesn't offer much for active seniors I could see it.
I'll definitely be checking out some 55+ communities in the next few years.
Maybe true, but that wasn't the case when we were looking/considering between 2016-2019. The new younger buyers tend to buy into the newest 55+ communities, though undoubtedly some buy into established 55+ communities. We toured and drove through several 55+ communities that had been in place for 20+ years - and it was absolutely awful. I wouldn't live there if you paid me. The only 55+ communities that had an appeal to us were those that were in progress or recently built out. Seeing the established communities is what ultimately steered us away from any 55+. But I realize that's not going to be everyone's decision, there are advantages and disadvantages with both.
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Old 11-22-2020, 11:18 AM   #20
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I'm about to turn 62 - DW just turned 63 and we're building in a 55+ community right now - occupancy in the Spring.

We're going this route (and very excited about it) because

1) Don't have any ties left in the community we've been in the
last 20 years and ready for a fresh start. We specifically went with
a new construction 55+ community on the theory that we'd have
more of a "young retired" population to mingle with and make some
friends. So far, from what we can see at open houses, etc., this is
true - many of the folks looking, those who have committed to
homesites seems to be in our age range. Not going to have the
same opportunities in a community with a lot of working people
with young kids.

2) Not much for yard work, snow shoveling (we're in NJ and we're going
to PA), or exterior maintenance - generally, hire contractors to get this stuff
done - so a lot of this goes away.

3) Clubs, activities, trips and a great clubhouse - all good way to meet new people

4) Stairs - we're building a single level house as opposed to the three story we currently have - done with stairs...

5) New construction - allows us to design the house like we want it to be and
move in without any work to do (aside from buying new furniture :-))

6) We were a little concerned about not having any younger folks around, but we'll have our young adult daughter there for a few years when she's not on campus and figure that people will have kids and grandkids around from time-to-time.

7) Not specific to the 55+ community - but NJ RE Taxes are through the roof and general COL will be lower.
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