You might wonder about the benefits of living in a 55+ community when you consider moving. I talked with my parents-in-law, who are living in a 55+ community for over ten years and asked them about the pros and cons of living in a 55+ community. Curious about what I learned? Let’s find out!
1) Live With People From The Same Generation
When I interviewed my parents-in-law about the benefits of living in their 55+ community, they first mentioned that they really like to live with people of the same generation. According to them, you have a better understanding of people of the same age. You can share things of the past. And are in a similar phase of your life, which allows you to share daily experiences.
The interests are similar when living together with people of the same generations. I told them that I always love to talk with older people and always have fun talking to them. They agreed but also mentioned that it’s different when connecting with people of the same age.
According to them, the biggest advantage is that you often have the same interests when living with the same generation.
2) Smaller Housing – Downsize
Before my parents-in-law moved to a retirement community, they lived in a large family home. When their sons moved out, they always wanted to downsize their stuff but never got to it. My mother-in-law mentioned that moving into the 55+ community helped here to downsize. She just didn’t have as much space as before.
So, they only kept the things they really needed and were emotionally attached to. They sent many things to charities and also sold some things they didn’t need anymore. Downsizing was a helpful thing to do. Owning less stuff means fewer things to worry about, according to my mother-in-law. It helped her to be more in the present moment instead of focusing on buying new things all the time.
3) Low Maintenance
My father-in-law likes to be busy in the house. But when they moved into the 55+ community, he was still working full-time in the Dutch police force. With my husband and his brother not always around, my parents-in-law figured it was important to have low maintenance in and around the house. Especially because my mother-in-law couldn’t do all the work, and my father-in-law was still working his regular job.
Their 55+ community offers a maintenance service for almost all the technical things in their retirement home. If there’s something broken, they only need to schedule an appointment with the maintenance desk, and a service employee will help them the same day. For example, a few weeks ago their dishwasher stopped working, they got a new one delivered and installed within a few days!
Many 55+ or retirement communities offer such maintenance services. Sometimes it’s included in the price, and sometimes you need to pay a little extra for the service contract. This also depends if you’re buying or renting a home in the 55+ community. Make sure to get to know the possibilities before choosing a retirement home. You can learn more about things you need to think of when choosing a retirement home. In my article, What Should I Look For In A Retirement Community? | 15 Expert Tips
4) Helpful Community Services
Living in a 55+ community means living with people of the same age, but also that you can use different community services. I just mentioned the very convenient maintenance service, but many 55+ communities offer much more services you can use as a resident.
My parents-in-law live in a 55+ apartment building, and on the ground floor is their community center. Their community center offers services like laundry, grocery shopping, breakfast, lunch, dinner, talking groups, but also personal and healthcare if needed. Depending on the community, these services can be included or are available with extra charge.
For example, the community where my parents-in-law live offers healthcare services, but it’s additional because not every resident needs healthcare services.
5) Fun Community Activities
Staying active in retirement is one of the most important things you can do for healthy aging and having fun in your retirement. The fact that you can sign up and join different activities with other residents is probably one of the greatest benefits of living in a 55+ community.
Many 55+ communities offer standard activity programs, meaning activities that are scheduled every week at the same time and day. And specific activities, meaning activities that are not standard and vary from month to month.
My parents-in-law join a boules club, playing the game with residents once a week. But they can also join a swimming group, dance group or attend a crafts group if they like. The community offers trips to multiple attractions outside the community, like visiting musea, going to the beach, or walking in the park.
6) Focus on Social Contacts
During my interview with my parents-in-law, focusing on social contacts was something they mentioned multiple times. Staying socially active is something that’s very important to them, and you see it in everything they do in their 55+ community. They have a group of residents that they became friends with, and they all do the same activities throughout the week.
They love spending time together, and the fun thing is that there even some people that are much older than my parents-in-law. So it’s multiple generations as well! But they are all 55+. It’s good to know that they involve older people in their community as well. I think it’s an important benefit of living with people that are more or less the same generation. You look out for each other and help each other when needed.
7) Healthcare Options Available If Needed
Many 55+ offer some sort of healthcare when needed. It’s probably the biggest difference with healthcare or assisted living homes. When living in a 55+ community, you still live independently. However, when you need short-term care, you can often pay a little extra to arrange this.
My mother-in-law needs to get surgery on her knee in a few months, and during her recovery, she can use the healthcare services that are available in the community.
Before you choose a 55+ community, make sure to learn the different possibilities when it comes to healthcare services. You want to know what to expect when you need short or long-term healthcare.
8) Amenities Included
Living in a 55+ community means fewer things to worry about. Often homes in 55+ or retirement communities are included with different amenities and services. Things like your internet connection, maintenance, lifts (elevators), swimming pools, health club facilities are all included. Many communities also have garden facilities, offer you the possibility to work, and walk in a garden.
There are 55+ communities available that are similar to complete holiday parks. These communities are more like small villages on their own. They offer things like golf courses, large swimming pools, bike paths, outside fitness areas, shopping centers, cinemas, etcetera.
The 55+ community where my parents-in-law live offers several activities in the community center, but, as a resident, you also get a discount at specific amenities nearby. For example, their community offers a discount at the public swimming pool that is only a 5-minute walk from the community building.
9) Age Restricted – Kids Free Environment
My parents-in-law and their friends in the community really like that they live in a kids-free environment. They love to have their grandchildren over, even for sleepovers once in a while, but they also love the quietness when they’re not around. Best of both worlds!
Some people argue that living in an age-restricted place is not a benefit because you only socialize with people of the same age. However, I think it’s a benefit when you want to live in a quiet place without the noise of young families, but still can have them over for a visit or visit them yourself. It’s a unique benefit of living in a 55+ community. You can decide when, where, and for how long you spend time in a busy environment. And you can always get back to your quiet home if you like to.
10) Ideal Location
Often 55+ communities are ideally located. 55+ communities are always close to national parks or the beach, and city centers, but always in a quiet environment. It’s perfect if you want to spend time outside or love going into the city and spending time in a more quiet environment.
My parents-in-law mentioned the fact that they can reach all the highlights of the area within a less than two hours’ drive. My mother-in-law doesn’t have her driver’s license, so she always travels with public transport, which is widely available close to their 55+ community.
When you want to move to a 55+ or retirement community, you must consider several things before deciding to move. The benefits of living in a 55+ community mentioned by my parents-in-law are helpful with preparing and learning more about living in such a community.
I also recommend you to read my article How Do I Choose A Retirement Home, where you can find a helpful list of things you need to pay attention to.