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7 Things to Know About Age-Restricted Community Living

We all know that the American population is aging. It’s estimated that by 2050, over a fifth of our population will be over 65. That’s up from 15.6% in 2021. The shift is having an impact on many aspects of American life, including housing. Age-restricted community living is growing more common. Here are the top things to know about this housing option for the older generations.

#1 Age-restricted communities come in all shapes, sizes

There is no single type of home you’ll find in an age-restricted community. Expect to find:

  • single-family homes
  • townhomes
  • cluster homes
  • manufactured housing
  • multifamily housing

You also can’t have any preconceptions about the type of age-restricted community. You might find one with a golf course, walking trails, and a clubhouse. Maybe even beachfront property here in the Carolinas. But, you could just as easily find a more urban community with amenities such as a community game room and computer lab — or none at all!

#2 Age-restricted communities are for 55+

The U.S. Department of Housing & Urban Development’s Fair Housing Act makes it clear that “the housing must include at least one person who is age 55 or older in at least 80 percent of the occupied units.” If you are under the age of 19, you cannot be a qualifying permanent resident of one of these communities.

You might also hear about age-targeted or leisure communities. The difference is that the age-targeted community aims at adults 55 and older, but doesn’t exclude other residents. Meanwhile, leisure communities are aimed at empty nesters and have no age restrictions.

#3 Design promotes aging in place

Homes designed for older residents have particular features that make it easier to age in place. These may include:

  • Wider doorways and hallways
  • Walk-in showers
  • Elevator access to all floors or single-story living
  • Lower kitchen cabinets and islands
  • Greater access to storage

#4 These communities are built in prime locations

These homeowners typically still want to live active and independent lives so age-restricted communities are typically built in prime locations. These neighborhoods are often developed in areas that are appealing also to the residents’ children. So, you can expect to buy your home within close proximity to:

  • Restaurants
  • Recreation
  • Shopping
  • Culture/entertainment
  • Colleges for continuing education
  • Robust medical services

There may be emergency call systems in the housing, but these communities do not have healthcare providers onsite. If you know you will want nursing care services, you might want to look instead at a continuing care retirement community.

#5 Regular planned activities are the norm

You can expect the community to host events intended to bring like-minded people together. These might be educational experiences or day trips. Residents can also expect onsite activities such as golf or tennis clubs, water aerobics or swimming, or maybe clubhouse game nights. There are also volunteer opportunities and affinity groups of all sorts are organized.

These communities conveniently locate residents together to make new acquaintances. After all, most everyone is in the same place in life and has moved to a new neighborhood. So, it can be easy to make new friendships.

#6 Outdoor maintenance is covered in your fees

The individual homeowner takes care of their own interior maintenance and upkeep. Yet these communities typically offer low-maintenance or maintenance-free exteriors. The retiree or other active over-55-year-old often doesn’t want to waste time and energy on doing the lawn or cutting back shrubs. So, any yard or other landscaped area is maintained by monthly fees to the homeowners’ association (HOA).

That means residents don’t need to worry about the things on our Winter Home Maintenance Checklist.

#7 You’re not just buying a home, it’s also a lifestyle

These master-planned communities focus on offering particular amenities to appeal to particular groups. You’ll want to research the type of community beyond what the homes look like and where it’s located. If you’re not into golf, you may not want to live on a golf course as all your neighbors could be into that. Find out what kind of events and activities they organize to inform your decision.

As U.S. News and Reports observes, with active-living communities “you’re buying into a lifestyle the community promotes, and you want to make sure it will make you happy for many years to come.”

Saussy Burbank’s age-restricted community

Age-restricted living is coming to Saussy Burbank’s repertoire. Since 1989, we’ve been building some of the most distinctive neighborhoods in the Carolinas. We are currently building in the Cottages at Marvin Gardens, an age-restricted community just outside of Charlotte. Learn more about us!

Saussy Burbank

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