As you plan for retirement or semi-retirement, what’s your next move? Will it be within the same town or will you move to another state or country? Will your home be in town or in a community? Will you live in a house or in a condo? There are so many choices!
Some of the choices depend on where you live or where you want to live, and some reflect the current trends in marketing to this growing population. What’s the difference between an “Active Adult Community” and a “55 and Better Community” or an “Age Qualified Adult Community”? What happened to Retirement Communities? When should you consider a Continuing Care Retirement Community (CCRC)?
Several years ago we visited two different Active Adult Communities in Florida, one with other members of the Seniors Real Estate Advisory Committee and one to visit friends and play a little golf. It was a tough assignment, but someone has to do it! We drove and drove, and twenty miles South of Disney World we finally came to an oasis, a relatively new Active Adult Community with golf, fitness, classes and a hometown atmosphere. Lifestyle is the buzzword to describe living in an Active Adult Retirement Community and they were then selling homes as quickly as they could build them.
My husband and I visited friends for several days at a much larger, more mature community about an hour North of Disney World that was expected to become home to at least 100,000 residents. Golf is the game with a wide variety of Executive Courses that residents can play for free at any time, and several excellent championship courses that are available to residents for a nominal charge.
When we toured the model homes at both communities, however, we were surprised to find that none of the homes included the Universal Design features we had expected to see. The doorways were still a narrow 30” or 32”. Bathrooms were still being designed with narrow shower entrances and curbs.
We had truly expected to see some great ideas we could bring home, some innovative designs and concepts in housing designed for the aging population. Just because a home is single level does not make it truly accessible. As Active Adults become less agile, many will have to engage in substantial home modification or be prepared to sell to the next generation of retired golfers and tennis players.
Developers of these Active Adult Communities pointed to extensive research indicating they are providing what the market is demanding. But did they ask the right questions and offer the right choices? Did they ask prospective buyers if they would like a house they could live in as long as they so desired? Ask most Baby Boomers if they ever plan to move into Assisted Living and hear the resounding “No!”
Active Adult Communities are really being designed for Active Adults only. If you are the kind of person who wants to move at retirement and stay in that home forever, is this your best choice? All over the country, developers are building new Active Adult Communities targeted to the current wave of retirees – the Baby Boomers! In Delaware we’ll never see communities the size of The Villages, but we are starting to see a variety of housing options all designed for the leading edge of Boomers who are already over 60!
When you are ready to begin evaluating your options and planning your next move, start by visiting www.seniorsrealestate.com to locate a Seniors Real Estate Specialist.