Retirement Communities in Disguise

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“I am not ready yet,” a phrase often uttered by individuals after they start researching active adult and retirement communities. Even communities that are designed with active seniors in mind do not meet the needs of this new breed of senior. They may appreciate all of the amenities offered at retirement communities, but younger seniors do not want the stigma of living in a community exclusively designed for older people.

This has led many people to seek out an increasingly popular option-retirement communities in disguise. These are homes apartments, condos, or customized living arrangements that give people many of the benefits of an active adult or retirement community without age restrictions. Active adults are turning to these unofficial retirement communities as an excellent alternative to more traditional communities. Communities are made up of intergenerational residents, providing diversity and eliminating stigma. Yet, active seniors are still able to enjoy amenities such as pools, common areas, secure buildings, and a variety of other services now available in apartment, condo, and new home communities.

Urban environments and college towns are popular areas for retirement communities in disguise. These environments generally offer excellent public transportation systems, extensive cultural offerings, and the opportunity for socialization and interaction with people of all ages and from all walks of life.

While these communities provide an exciting new option for retirees, they do have their potential downsides. Unlike retirement communities, there are no healthcare offerings. Individuals will need to plan ahead for any healthcare needs that may arise in the future. Organized social clubs or special transportation programs will likely not be available either. Neighbors may be in a different phase of life. This could mean late night parties or small children. However, if individuals are seeking a community without the age restrictions and resulting stigmas associated with retirement communities, these options are worth investigating.

Although locating a retirement community in disguise will be more difficult than finding a traditional retirement community, the process can lead to an ideal living situation for seniors who are seeking something different. Researching local options and investigating availability is the first step in the process. After reviewing several of the available options, individuals should create a wish list of everything they want in a new home. The list should be specific and include all needs and desires. Some items to consider are an open floor plan with a first-floor master bedroom, communities that require no yard work or exterior maintenance, and locations that are in close proximity to shopping centers, churches, country clubs, or public transportation. The longer and more specific the wish list, the better the fit will be.

Armed with this list, active adults should seek the help of a Realtor, preferably one that specializes in working with seniors and their families. Interview several Realtors before making a final decision.

Realtors can use their expertise and their professional resources to identify neighborhoods, apartments, condos, and other options that provide nice alternatives to traditional retirement communities. Neighborhoods filled with no maintenance patio homes, convenient condos or apartments, and planned communities offering great floor plans are all readily available in this area.

Consumers will need to be patient and dedicated in order to find their dream retirement home. There may be nothing available immediately, but a little diligence will undoubtedly pay off. By working hard on their dream house lists, finding a good Realtor, and having a little patience, active adults just might uncover a retirement community in disguise.

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