To Stay or To Go? Pros and Cons of Active Adult Communities

Whether you’ve already retired or are preparing for retirement, one of the biggest obstacles you can face has to do with figuring out where to live.  Do you stay in your house, or is it better to join the 12 percent of retirees who decided to move somewhere with less maintenance?

If you’re not sure if an active adult community is right for you, keep reading.

Listed below are some of the pros and cons of active adult communities for retirees.

What is an Active Adult Community?

First, let’s clarify what an active adult community actually is.

One of the most important things you need to know before moving into one of these communities is that they are different from nursing homes and continuing care retirement communities. They are essentially the same as any other residential community.

The primary difference is the that these communities have an age requirement — usually 55 and up. They also are designed to be low maintenance and retirement-friendly. 

Active adult communities can consist of single-family homes, condominiums, or townhouses.

The resident typically owns the home, although there are also active adult rental communities.

These communities are usually built in a convenient location near restaurants, parks, shopping, and other attractions. This makes it easy for you to go out and about and complete errands and other tasks.

An active adult community typically won’t offer on-site health care or dining services.

You may also have to pay HOA fees that cover the cost of community amenities like pools or tennis courts. HOA fees typically range from $200-$400 per month.

Pros of Active Adult Communities

There are a lot of benefits that come with living in an active adult community once you retire. Some of the greatest benefits include:

Little-to-no Exterior Maintenance

One of the greatest benefits of living in an active adult community is the fact that you have to do very little exterior maintenance.

Gone are the days of sweating while pushing the lawn mower or dealing with an aching back after shoveling your driveway.

In most communities, most, if not all, of the yard work is done for you.


If you don’t want to deal with lots of stairs or other obstacles, an active adult community is the place to go. This is especially true if you use a mobility aid like a walker or wheelchair.

All the houses or apartments are designed with accessibility in mind. You and your guests will be able to use elevators and ramps as needed to make getting around a breeze.

New Opportunities to Make Friends

Retirement can be a lonely time. But, an active adult community also gives you plenty of opportunities to get to know other retirees. When you live in these communities, you’re surrounded by like-minded individuals. It’s easy to make friends, and you get to do it in a relaxed environment.

Quiet, Kid-Free Atmosphere

If you’re looking forward to a quiet, calm retirement, an active adult community can be a great option.  Adult children and grandchildren can come to visit, but you also get to enjoy relative peace and quiet in these communities.  There are also typically noise restrictions that all residents — and their guests — are expected to abide by.

Access to Amenities

In an active adult community, you also get access to a variety of amenities that might not normally be available to you. Some common amenities include pools, gyms, and tennis courts. These communities also often give residents to opportunity to join clubs to plan social events or volunteer opportunities.

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Cons of Active Adult Communities

At the same time, there are also drawbacks to moving into an active adult community. The following are some of the reasons people may opt out of these communities:

More Expensive

Depending on factors like the location, the amenities available, and the amount of money you owed on your previous home, you may end up spending more money to live in an active adult community.

On the other hand, these communities can also save you money if you’re looking to downsize to a smaller home.

Less Privacy

Active adult communities are quiet places, but a lot of socializing typically goes on within them.  If you’re an independent person and not one for a lot of chit-chat or group activities, you might find this type of community to be a bit bothersome.

Lack of Children

The lack of children around active adult communities is a major bonus for some people. For others, though, it can be a bit disappointing.

If you like having children around and don’t mind the increased noise levels that come with living in a mixed-generation neighborhood, an active adult community might not be right for you.

Community Restrictions

Many communities have restrictions on things like noise levels, the types of decorations you can put up outside your home, and the number of guests you can have come to visit you at one time.

They typically have requirements for the types of pets you can have as well — assuming they allow pets at all.

Lack of Space

Finally, the lack of space in the homes in these communities can be a drawback for some retirees.

This is especially true if they’re moving to the community from a particularly large home and have a lot of belongings. It’s also an issue if you plan to have your children or grandchildren come and visit you frequently.

Of course, moving to a smaller home is an opportunity to declutter and get rid of old items that are weighing you down.  And, unless your children or grandchildren are staying for a particularly long time, a couple of days of being a bit cramped usually isn’t a big deal.

Are Active Adult Communities Right For You?

Here’s 8 Questions to Help You Decide if a 55+ Retirement Community is Right for You.



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