Author sees social costs of retirement communities

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NEW YORK (Reuters) – Most people see retirement communities as places where older people can keep busy while feeling safe, but a 39-year-old author says these “geritopias” have serious consequences for the rest of society.

In his new book “Leisureville,” Andrew D. Blechman explores this issue, which piqued his interest when his neighbors decided to move to the world’s largest gated community for the 55-and-older set.

Blechman, who has a young daughter, wondered why the couple was leaving a charming town in rural Massachusetts for a place where children can visit for no more than 30 days a year. But he later found that the “active adult” sector had become the fastest-growing part of the U.S. housing market.

During his own one-month stay at his former neighbors’ new home in central Florida’s The Villages, Blechman threw himself into the lifestyle of golf carts, a myriad of social activities, and bars where last call is at 9:45 p.m.

The author, whose previous book was about pigeons, says he enjoyed himself sometimes, but was disturbed by the insularity of such developments and their influence on local governments.

He spoke to Reuters about segregated living and the future of retirement communities.

Q: You seem to have strong feelings about age segregation.

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