55+ Communities: The Ultimate Guide for SeniorsSkip to content

A Comprehensive Guide to 55+ Communities

Published: Dec 30, 2022. Last Updated: Jan 9, 2023.

Are you tired of the stress and maintenance of owning a home? Are you ready to downsize and enjoy a maintenance-free lifestyle? 55+ communities, also known as retirement communities, may be the perfect solution for you.

55+ communities are housing developments or neighborhoods that are specifically designed for individuals who are 55 years of age or older. These communities often offer a variety of amenities and activities, as well as different levels of care depending on the needs of the residents.

Living in a 55+ community cultivates a sense of community and socialization among seniors who want to tap into an active social circle, enjoy their retirement, and worry less about home upkeep. These communities often have shared spaces such as clubhouses, fitness centers, and pools, which provide opportunities for residents to socialize and make new friends. Many 55+ communities also offer a variety of social and recreational activities, such as fitness classes, clubs and groups, and events and outings.

Types of 55+ communities

Here is a general overview of the most common types of 55+ communities available:

Age-Restricted Communities

As the name suggests, age-restricted communities require a certain age for its residents. For example, 55+ communities are an established adult living area that necessitates at least one resident living on each property to be over the age of 55. From amenities to activities, these communities have a target market of over 55.

Independent Living Communities

Independent living communities are perfect for those who are still active and want to maintain their independence, but would prefer to live in a community with others who are in the same life stage. These communities usually offer a range of amenities such as fitness centers, swimming pools, and clubhouses, as well as social and recreational activities to keep residents engaged and active. Independent living communities do not typically offer medical or personal care services, so residents must be able to take care of their own basic needs.

Assisted Living Communities

Assisted living communities are designed for individuals who may need some assistance with daily activities such as bathing, dressing, and medication management, but do not require the level of care provided in a nursing home. These communities offer a variety of services and amenities to meet the needs of their residents, including meals, housekeeping, and transportation. Assisted living communities also provide a social and engaging environment with activities and events for residents to participate in.

Continuing Care Retirement Communities

Continuing care retirement communities, also known as life plan communities, offer a full continuum of care from independent living to assisted living to skilled nursing care. This type of community is ideal for those who may want to age in place and not have to worry about moving to a different type of community as their care needs change. Continuing care retirement communities typically require residents to pay an upfront entrance fee in addition to monthly fees, and often have a contract in place outlining the level of care that will be provided. No matter what type of 55+ community you are considering, it's important to do your research and ask plenty of questions to ensure that you find the one that best fits your needs and preferences. With the wide range of options available, you are sure to find a community that allows you to live your best retirement years.

Amenities and activities in 55+ Communities

Common amenities found in 55+ communities:

Fitness centers

Many 55+ communities have fitness centers on-site, equipped with a range of cardio and strength-training equipment. These centers are often open to residents at any time, making it convenient for those who want to stay active. Some communities may even offer fitness classes, such as yoga or Pilates, for an additional fee.

Swimming pools

Swimming is a low-impact form of exercise that is great for people of all ages, and many 55+ communities have pools available for residents to use. These pools may be indoor or outdoor, and may offer lap lanes for serious swimmers or areas for leisurely splashing around.


Clubhouses are a popular feature in 55+ communities, serving as a central gathering place for residents. These spaces often have comfortable seating areas, kitchens, and game rooms, and may be used for community events, meetings, and parties. Social and recreational activities available in 55+ communities:

Fitness classes

In addition to fitness centers, many 55+ communities offer fitness classes such as yoga, Pilates, and aerobics. These classes are typically led by certified instructors and are a great way for residents to stay active and meet new people.

Clubs and groups

Many 55+ communities have a variety of clubs and groups that meet on a regular basis. These may include book clubs, gardening clubs, game groups, and more. Participating in these groups is a great way for residents to pursue their interests and make new friends.

Events and outings

Oftentimes, 55+ communities plan events and outings for residents, such as potlucks, happy hours, and trips to local attractions. These events are a great opportunity for residents to socialize and have fun together.

Factors affecting the cost of living in 55+ Communities

When thinking about moving to a 55+ community, perhaps the first thought tells more of its cost. Well, there is no definitive answer as to how much it would take a resident to sustain the cost of living in a 55+ community, because the cost can vary greatly depending on a number of factors, to include:

Amenities and Activities

For example, independent living communities, which offer a range of amenities and social activities but typically do not provide medical or personal care services, may have lower monthly fees compared to assisted living or continuing care retirement communities. However, these fees may still be substantial, with some communities charging upwards of $3,000 per month or more. There may also be one-time fees associated with moving into a 55+ community, such as a buy-in fee or entrance fee.


Communities in more desirable locations or with more luxurious amenities may have higher fees, while those in less expensive areas or with more basic amenities may be more affordable.

Level of Care

Assisted living communities, which offer support with activities of daily living such as bathing, dressing, and medication management, may have higher fees compared to independent living communities. Continuing care retirement communities, which offer a range of care options from independent living to skilled nursing care, may have the highest fees of all.

How to Pay for a 55+ Community?

There are a number of ways to pay for living in a 55+ community, including using retirement savings, long-term care insurance, and veterans' benefits. It's important to carefully consider your financial situation and plan ahead to ensure that you have the resources to cover the cost of living in a 55+ community.

If you're considering moving to a 55+ community, it's a good idea to research and compare the costs of different communities to find one that fits your budget. Be sure to ask about all fees and charges, including monthly fees, buy-in fees, and any additional costs for services or amenities. With careful planning and consideration of the costs involved, you can find a community that fits your needs and budget.

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About the Author

JM Guiang

Writer & Researcher

Elder Guide LLC

Inspired by fresh ideas and wise words, JM Guiang, Communications degree-holder, and Elder Guide writer, finds profound joy in writing quality content and insightful articles that redefine seniors' perspective on aging with grace and confidence.