Senior Communities in the U.S.: Your Ultimate Guide
Senior communities continue to grow in the US fueled by the large number of baby boomers hitting retirement. According to the US Census Bureau, baby boomers make up almost a quarter of the US population.
Let's face it, retirement means different things to different folks. For some, it's the time they really start living. For others it's the period to kick back on a beach front property somewhere and enjoy the fruits of their labor.
Finding the perfect senior community can mean the difference on how you spend your sunset years.
RETIRING IN STYLE - tREnds in senior communities
It used to be that seniors would live in isolated places in the countryside. That has changed in recent times.
Seniors are showing a preference for vibrant communities with the amenities and social life to keep them engaged in retirement.
The trend has shifted from isolated, gated communities with large golf courses to walkable, urban spaces. Some of the hottest cities and towns that fit this bill include Reston, VA and Seaside, Fla among many others.
"Walkability" is one key factor that seniors should for look when deciding on a retirement community.
While almost 80% of seniors live still live in car dependent areas according to a Brookings Institution Study, more are embracing walking which has been shown to reduce disabilities and promote overall health and well being. It's also great for the environment!
You can check out the "Walkability Score" of any city here and see how well it fits into your overall lifestyle.
What to Look for in a Senior Community
Some other factors to consider when deciding on senior communities in the US include:
- Availability of quality and affordable health care nearby
- Adequate public transportation
- Availability of retail and shopping establishments nearby (or within walking distance)
- Local colleges, clubs etc for cultural immersion activities
- Housing and general afford-ability in the community lifestyle
- Location, location, location
- Proximity to family members especially if you want to be close to your children and grand-kids
- Suitability of housing and mobility
- Local taxes
- Don't forget the weather. Get acclimatized before you move to your chosen senior community.
Apart from that, some retirement communities impose stringent approval processes before you can join as a member. Read the fine print and know what is expected of you before you sign on the dotted line.
Top Senior Communities in the US
Some of the top senior communities in the US include:
The Villages in Florida
Spread across 3 towns, The Villages in central Florida is one of the largest age restricted retirement communities in the US. It hosts more than 56000 residences connected by miles of golf-cart legal streets that also make it one of the most walkable senior communities. Houses range from $100K to $1M depending on the customization and also features a range of social and entertainment amenities.
Sun City Hilton Head in Bluffton, SC
It includes more than 8000 homes ranging from $100K - $500K with an amenity campus at the heart of the community. Some of the amenities include swimming pools, myriad dining options as well as an 18-hole championship golf course.
Sun City Huntley, Illinois
It features just over 5000 residences priced between $100K - $500K. This senior community also features an indoor walking track, spas, art and craft studios and miles of nature trail for outdoor activities.
Lake Providence, just outside Nashville, Tenn
It's a medium sized gated community with a centrally located clubhouse with a 15-acre lake. Homes can go from mid $200K to over $400K. The clubhouse has an in-house lifestyle director who keeps residents socializing and engaged with various activities like dancing, games, arts and crafts and much more.
Laguna Woods Village, California
It's one of the most desirable senior communities located in Orange County, Calif. It's a gated community with a private bus system and 36 holes of premium golfing spread across 2100 acres in Saddleback Valley. Houses range from a minimum of $100,000 to upwards of $900,000 depending on level of customization. Laguna Woods village also has ample areas for social events, swimming and much more.
Ultimately, the best senior communities promote a vibrant and active lifestyle with amazing activities and resident life to keep retirees engaged, (and healthy), well into their sunset years.