Your work life is now over, you’ve retired.  It may be time to make some changes to start this new chapter of your life.  The kids are gone so smaller living quarters are in order.  Tired of shoveling snow?  Maybe a warmer climate is on the wish list.  Having trouble climbing stairs?  A master bedroom on the first floor would be perfect.  As you consider these changes in your life, you’ll come to some terms used in promotional materials for retirement communities, and it can sometimes be confusing what these words mean.  Here are the definitions of those terms to help you when you start looking at senior housing options.

  1. Age Restricted Communities.  These communities can contain single-family houses, townhouses, multi-family or manufactured housing.  The household must include at least one person over 55.  No one under the age of 19 can be a permanent resident.  There is usually a monthly maintenance fee that covers outdoor maintenance of units and sometimes lawn care.  There are usually other amenities such as a community center or clubhouse, golf course, hobby center, walking trails and other recreational areas.  These communities are for active adults that do not require health-related services.
  2. Age Targeted Communities.  These communities can contain single-family houses, townhouses, multi-family or manufactured housing.  These communities target their marketing at persons over 55 but have no age restrictions.  The amenities can be the same as Age Restricted Communities. Targeted communities also have a monthly homeowners’ fee to cover maintenance of building exteriors, communal areas and sometimes lawns.  There is no health-related service on site.
  3. Leisure Communities.  These communities are designed for adults with no children living at home, although there are no age restrictions.  The setting is resort-like with clubhouses, golf courses, tennis courts, and swimming pools.  The homes are usually larger than age-restricted/targeted communities.  These communities focus on empty-nesters or couples with no children, but there are no age restrictions.  No health related services are available within the community.
  4. Golf Communities.  This type of community is exactly what it sound like – a community centered around golf.  There is usually more than one golf course along with a pro shop and clubhouse.  A unique item about golf communities is that everything is accessible by a golf cart.  Even nearby shopping areas may be accessible via golf cart.  Fees for using the golf course may or may not be included in a monthly homeowners fee.  These communities, of course, target golf lovers.
  5. College-Linked Communities.  These communities are affiliated with a college or university.  The community may be located on or off campus.  There may or may not be an age restriction.  Financial arrangements for this type of community vary widely so investigate carefully.  Some offer assisted care or continuing care.  These communities target adults who love learning and love the wide variety of activities a college campus offers.
  6. Manufactured Home or Mobile Home Communities.  These communities are for seniors that are searching for an affordable alternative.  The community may or may not be age restricted.  It offers manufactured homes (aka mobile homes) on land leased or deeded lots.  There may be limited recreational facilities – sometimes a community center or a swimming pool.  This type of community targets adults with limited incomes.  Adults with accessibility issues need to be cautious and verify that the manufactured home can accommodate their needs.
  7. Independent Living Communities.  These are age restricted either 55+ or 62+ (usually the later).  The community is made up of multi-family rental units or condos (owned).  Houses are designed with features to assist older adults: non-skid floors, wider doors, no lip showers, support rails in bathrooms, etc.  Services available can be housekeeping, linen services, community meals, transportation, and planned recreational activities.  Grounds may include a recreation center and swimming pool.  These communities are geared towards adults who may have some mobility issues or who just want someone they can call to help with household tasks.  Sometimes there are basic health services or local health service on call when assistance is needed.
  8. Assisted Living Communities.  These communities are for the 62+ adults.  Usually, they are age restricted.  These communities are for adults needing light assistance with everyday tasks such as dressing, laundry, bathing, meals, walking, etc.  These are adults who cannot live on their own alone due to mobility or health reasons.  Some health services are onsite such as medication management and physical therapy.
  9. Continuing Care Retirement Communities (CCRC).  These communities combine independent, assisted and healthcare services in one community although not in the same area or even building.  Although an adult will stay in the same community they may be moved to a different area as the daily assistance they require increases.  These communities offer a wide variety of recreational services for the independent adults and high skill health services for those needing it.  These communities often offer Memory Care for those adults who have Alzheimer’s or dementia.   The contracts and deposits required for these types of communities can be substantial.

Whatever the lifestyle you are looking for or the health services you need there is a community for you.  Doing some research will help you determine the best place to spend your golden years pursuing the activities you enjoy most.

Check out The Tapestry, an age-targeted community in Garner, NC.  For more information, you can call 954-815-2530.