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How to Choose an Adult Community

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Adult communities, also known as active adult or retirement communities, are communities designed for people who are of, or approaching, retirement age. There is a distinct difference between this and a retirement home, which usually has no social areas. Adult communities are usually designed with social areas and activities in mind. Their purpose is to cater to the needs and wants of their residents.


There are three broad categories of adult communities. Each offers different features and levels of healthcare.
  • Active communities are comprised mainly of residential units. They do not have long-term healthcare facilities. These are also known as "independent living communities."
  • Active/supportive communities combine residential units with healthcare facilities. These are also known as "continuing care retirement communities."
  • Supportive communities are comprised completely of long-term healthcare units. These are usually known as "assisted living facilities" or "nursing homes."


The features offered at different adult communities vary greatly, but usually there's something for everyone. Some of the more common features include:
  • Common areas (for socializing)
  • Golf courses
  • Swimming pools
  • Arts and crafts
  • Trails
  • Retail facilities
  • Boating
  • Game rooms (billiards, cards, board games, etc.)


Communities that include long-term health care are often designed to allow you to adjust the type of care a person needs over time. This is called continuing care. For example, if someone moves in while in their 50s, he or she may not need much care beyond routine checkups and pharmacy services. However, as the person gets older, he or she may need to transition into semi-assisted living or assisted living. This transition, though, is based completely on need, rather than age.

The benefit of entering into a continuing care contract is that the person can stay in the same community for a long period of time. His or her future housing and healthcare will be taken care of and, therefore, does not need to be a worry. Another benefit of continuing care is that if a person becomes well enough that he or she no longer needs assisted living, he or she can transition easily back into his or her independent lifestyle.

The beauty of adult communities is that they take all of the necessities and many of the luxuries of life and make them more convenient. You can enjoy them without having to worry about their accessibility. While many adult communities can be found in warmer climates (Florida, Arizona, California, etc.), they are becoming more and more popular all over the county. This makes it possible for you to find a community near your loved ones, if you wish. When scouting out adult communities, make sure to find one that satisfies your needs and fits into your budget.


Buying a unit or home in an adult community is pretty similar to buying any other home. The major difference is that there is going to be an age requirement. Usually, at least one of the people moving in has to be at least 55 years old. Though, sometimes the age minimum will vary.

The actual process of buying is basically the same. You find homes or units that are available either by looking online or by calling the sales office of a particular community. Once you find the one you want, submit a contract offer, and negotiations will begin. Be aware, though, that in some communities, pricing may be static. This is more often the case when looking at housing units rather than actual houses. Once you've settled on a price, you'll need to work out how you're going to finance your home. Many adult communities provide their own financing options.

In addition to purchasing a home, you'll most likely be signing contracts in regard to healthcare and the usage of common areas. This ensures that your community will be responsible for your healthcare needs and that you'll have full access to the features the community provides.

TIP: For more information on buying a home check out the rest of the "Buying" section of our Real Estate Guides.

As always, is ready to help you with your moving needs. From free moving quotes to moving guides, we have everything you need to ensure a successful transition into your new adult community.

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Adam Mandelbaum  Posted by Adam Mandelbaum on May 14, 2010

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