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What Exactly Is An Active Adult or 55+ Senior Living Community?


Whether you are retired, considering retirement, or looking to rightsize, you are probably aware of active adult and 55+ senior living communities. You may also wonder what these communities have to offer and whether they are an appropriate option for you.

55+ Communities

55+ communities are residential communities that cater to the 55 and over demographic. Most of these communities are age-qualified.

  • Age-qualified communities place limits on who is allowed to live in the community: Residents need to be 55 and older, although some communities may allow married individuals under the age of 55 to live in the community provided that their spouse meets the age guideline. These communities meet the standards set by the federal Housing for Older Persons Act, which allows age-qualified communities to operate.

It’s important to note there are different types of 55+ communities: 

  • Some of these communities offer rental apartments while others are “for sale” communities that require residents to own their homes. 

  • Active adult communities offer resort-style amenities to residents along with some maintenance and landscaping services. Services often vary between apartment and “for sale” communities: In apartment communities, full landscaping (front and back yard) is often included in monthly rent payments. In communities where residents own their homes, back yard landscaping is frequently not included in homeowners association fees.

  • Independent living communities may provide additional services such as house cleaning, transportation, as well as daily meal service in a community restaurant. 

  • Assisted living communities, on the other hand, are geared toward seniors who need assistance with daily living tasks, such as medication management, dressing, and grooming.

One other thing to keep in mind: Living in an age-restricted community doesn’t mean that you can’t have your kids and grandkids over for a visit. You can certainly have family members to visit, even overnight and for short stays, when you live in a 55+ community!

Low Maintenance Living 

People who opt for active adult apartment home community living often value the services and amenities that make life simpler. While services vary between communities, most include home maintenance services. In addition, community amenities often provide convenient access to:

  • Fitness centers, swimming pools, and group exercise classes

  • Spas and salons

  • On-site movie rooms

  • Community centers

  • Guest suites

  • Planned outings to shopping, cultural, and entertainment destinations.

By having convenient access to amenities and services, and being free of landscaping and home maintenance duties and expenses, residents of 55+ senior communities often find themselves being able to fully enjoy retirement and spending their time pursuing both new and longstanding hobbies and interests. 

Staying Connected

One significant advantage of living in an active adult community is the ability to form and maintain connections with other people. When people move to a 55 and older community, it is usually because they are actively looking forward to getting to know their neighbors. Communities that offer organized activities and shared amenities help residents get to know each other and form lifetime friendships. 

If reading this has sparked your interest in checking out 55+ communities near you, good! A visit and meeting with community staff and residents is a great first step to making a decision about where you’d like to live next.