20 Problems With Over 55 Communities
In 2018, over one million people aged 60 or more moved across state lines. The top destination states were Florida with an estimated population of 25%. Arizona came in as number two at 24% followed by North Carolina (15%) and Texas (10%). It’s no secret that retirement communities are popular amongst those who have reached retirement age.
Moving into an over 55 retirement community sounds like a dream come true. You don’t have to worry about yard work, snow removal, or other chores that can be tiring and time-consuming for seniors. 55+ communities provide a healthy, active lifestyle for people who want to surround themselves with like-minded peers. These are typically located in warmer climates and offer great amenities such as outdoor activities all year round.
But before you pack up and move in, make sure you understand the potential downsides of retirement communities. Let us look at some of the most common problems with over 55 communities.
1- Change of Environment
Moving is no easy feat for the elderly. They may find themselves overwhelmed with worry about how to pack, transport, and unpack their belongings all at once. While simultaneously saying goodbye to not just their home but also an entire lifestyle that has come before them, a difficult task made even more stressful. In a recent survey done by the AARP, 77% said they would like to remain in their current community for as long as possible
It is understandable why most seniors will need some time adjusting after making this big life change. So remember, if you are feeling anxious or stressed during your transition process don’t feel bad because these emotions aren’t uncommon.
Life is very different in an over 55 community for senior living, and many people find themselves struggling to adjust at first, particularly those who are new to the idea of retirement communities.
2- Lack of Age Diversity
The ideal community for retirees is one that has plenty of things to keep you busy and spend quality time with your friends. A lot of people are put off by the lack of age diversity, so if you’re looking forward to spending retirement days working with youth or doing stuff sports mentoring then it might be worth checking out some other areas before making up your mind about where to live in this 55+ area.
3- You Might Have to Move Away from Loved Ones
The right community for you might not be next door. You could end up moving to a new city or even a different state. It might be manageable in your current living situation. But once aging starts taking its toll on our health and abilities, driving an hour can feel like highway travel. You will find that distance between friends becomes increasingly difficult without regular visits from loved ones who care enough about seeing how we’re doing.
As we grow old, spending time with our children and grandchildren becomes increasingly important. The desire to live in a specific city or neighborhood does not allow for as many age-related communities available to you because those who want restricted living space often move there first before eventually moving on from their parent’s home when they’re ready.
4- They’re More Expensive
The average American started saving for retirement at age 27, according to a survey. Age-restricted communities typically operate under the patronage of homeowner’s associations. By living in these condos, condominiums, or cooperatives you are subject not only to their rules but also any monthly fees they may charge. The money collected from your HOA dues goes toward maintaining pools and landscaping as well paying for trash removal outside homes There’s usually an elaborate list that is handed down by management.
Another problem with this type of fee is the uncertainty. What is affordable today may turn into an outrageous bill as we enter our 60s, 70s, or even 80s. Plus, with age comes less use of amenities which could make life difficult for you if this becomes more than what’s needed at home alone.
5- You Might Have to Move into a Smaller Home
Many over-55 communities are designed for two adults and as such, their homes usually aren’t big enough to accommodate all of your family. That is why most people have to downsize when moving to such communities. Nearly two-thirds of the people consider downsizing after retirement.
There are many downsizing options for you if you decide to buy a home in an over-55 community. You can downsize from your current house, choose one that’s smaller than what would typically be considered “standard,” or trade up with someone who has more space and money available but is aging out soon themselves.
Downsizing could potentially save homeowners money through lower utility bills because there are reduced maintenance costs due to smaller living spaces. Think about downsizing like a multi-step process. You’ll need to move, but you can sell or otherwise get rid of furniture and other extras if needed.
6- Lack of Care Services
The number of people needing long-term care is staggering. Well over 70% of American seniors are at risk for this type of assistance, according to the U.S Department Of Health And Human Services. Living in an age-restricted community is a great way to live if you want peace and quiet. However, these communities are not substitutes for care facilities and don’t provide the complete medical assistance that you may require. They are only designed as homes where residents don’t have to sacrifice comfort or safety from outside elements like weather conditions.
Healthcare can be a major concern for retirees – especially if you’re alone without much health insurance coverage to fall back on. This is another reason why having loved ones close by becomes important as we age because not only does it help with emotional support but also financial anxiety during tough times.
If your needs go beyond basic everyday life necessities (such as regular doctor’s appointments), then living in a 55+ community would probably not be right for you.
7- They Might Have Excessive Rules
One of the most important things in life is freedom of choice. That’s why it can be frustrating when your HOA has too many rules. It seems unnecessary or unfair at times because the administration has too much power over you.
The appeal of living within a community for older adults is that there are rules and codes meant to protect and comfort senior citizens. But sometimes these “codes” go way beyond what’s necessary with their strictness. It seems like some HOAs don’t understand people need certain freedoms as well. Otherwise, where would one draw the line?
The HOA might impose a fine if you don’t follow the rules. It can become irritating to live by all those pesky new house etiquette regulations instead of just doing your thing however you like. Difficult HOAs are a common problem in over-55 communities so watch out for this issue closely.
8- You Could Potentially Live in a Bad Neighborhood
Before you move in, don’t forget to check out the larger area around the gated community as well. You can’t always live within the boundaries of the establishment, you might need to step outside. You will need access to grocery stores, shopping malls, banks, and hospitals etc.
If there are fewer amenities nearby for day-to-day needs or there is a bad crime situation in the area, it will affect your quality of life. Most people start feeling more vulnerable at this stage due to their age; especially with crime rates climbing across America lately too.
Do you think the town is too crowded for your liking? Is it hard to navigate, or does the area have a bad reputation? Ask yourself these questions before making a decision.
9- Feelings of Loneliness and Isolation
Retirement communities provide much-needed companionship for seniors on their journey into retirement. Although it is natural to feel isolated and uncomfortable when first moving in, you have a plethora of planned social activities that give the opportunity to meet new people while spending less time alone.
That being said, there is no guarantee that you will meet like-minded people that you would enjoy spending time with. You might have to adjust according to others already living there, which can be hard for some people.
10- The Organization Behind the Community Could Fail
There are many retirement communities operating successfully in the United States. But if you live at one and it goes bankrupt or gets into any other financial difficulty as a result of its parent company’s problems then potentially those issues could become yours too.
People who buy into communities with unfulfilled promises are at risk. You might be one first people to live in your new seniors-only neighborhood; even though there’s been construction on it and most things should work fine for now. What happens when something goes wrong? You won’t be able to sell the property easily.
The company building the community could abandon you if they don’t have enough funds. Your property values may drop and the quality of services will be substandard because there are fewer HOA fees for collectives in this abandoned neighborhood. It is still possible to make ends meet by renting out your home or condo as an Airbnb rental while finishing up some projects yourself like adding on a second story onto one structure!
11- No young people
You might think that living in a community with kids would be noisy and chaotic, But a lot of people miss the liveliness of their neighborhood. Your current neighbors might have children and teens who keep the environment lively. It might feel dull to have no one around other than yourself or visiting family members. Your grandkids can visit you but that still doesn’t change things too much. But if you are someone who cherishes silence and discipline, senior communities might be a thing for you.
12- Restrictions on Visitors
While some over-55 communities allow any combination of residents in a house as long as one or more are older than 55, other neighborhoods restrict who can live there. Communities that only accept those who have retired may place restrictions on visitors too, limiting the number or duration for visits; and even barring children altogether.
One of the most frustrating aspects of living in a gated community is when friends or family members are stopped by security because they don’t have permission. These rules create an unfair barrier between you and your loved ones, preventing many interactions that would otherwise happen at home with those who live nearby.
13- Senior Fraud
Senior fraud is on the rise, and it is a serious concern for senior living communities. In many cases, these scams target our elderly loved ones with promises of care they can’t afford or an opportunity that just doesn’t exist at all. They take advantage of your vulnerabilities in order to enrich themselves at your expense.
But there are steps you can take to prevent fraud:
- Educate yourself about financial and legal matters.
- Trust no one until the paperwork has been signed first.
- Seek professional consultation.
- Explore escrow accounts.
14- Security Concerns
When you’re 55 or older, it’s best to think carefully about your security before buying into one of these places. Make sure all doors are equipped with deadbolt locks that can’t be broken with a credit card or other slim piece of plastic. You can also have them upgraded to double-keyed deadbolts which are harder for criminals to break into.
Make sure there’s plenty of lighting at night so that criminals are less likely to assault you or break into your home. If possible, get a senior security system that will alert both the police and emergency responders should anything seem amiss in your home.
15- Lack of Resources for Specific Needs
Some people have specific needs when it comes to things like food allergies or diabetes medications. So if they need senior-friendly meals, senior nutrition supplements, or medical supplies for their conditions, make sure the community you’re considering is equipped to provide them.
The last thing you need in your golden years are breakdowns that aren’t handled by management leading to higher costs down the line.
16- Lack of Transportation Options
While many over 55 communities offer transportation to and from senior activities, shopping trips, doctor’s appointments, and important meetings, some only have a single bus that makes the rounds once a day. This may be enough for residents who don’t need to leave regularly but others who like to get out every few days (or even more often) will find this service insufficient.
17- Uncomfortable Neighborhood
Some senior communities house a diverse mix of residents from all walks of life. This can be great for enrichment and socialization, but it can also lead to uncomfortable situations where you can feel out-of-place in certain places or activities due to your race, religion, sexual orientation, or other factors. It’s best to choose senior communities that are predominantly occupied by people like you and the ones you would feel comfortable with.
18- Unfamiliar Lifestyle
If you’re used to living in a busy city, the quiet life of over 55 communities might not be for you. If you love meeting new people or going out with friends every night, an over 55 community may not be the right living option for you. While it’s true that many retirement communities are located in busy, walkable neighborhoods with lots of shops and restaurants, some aren’t so lucky. Especially those out in remote rural areas or on large gated compounds.
19- Homes Might be Difficult to Sell
If you buy a home in an over-55 community but later decide to move, there can be some problems. First off, your options for potential buyers are limited as they only go up to age 55 and older. Though many newer communities have better prices because everyone wants new homes instead of old ones. When people try selling their current property after buying elsewhere even nearby developments won’t want them back since most would prefer buying new construction rather than something already established; this could make things tough.
You have to follow a different set of rules when selling your home than what you would for buying. Some HOAs won’t even let you put up an advertisement, which could pose problems in marketing yourself properly.
20- Staffing Problems
Even the best communities are not immune to this challenge. Hiring, training, and retaining staff members can be quite tough. If your facility is situated in an isolated area, quality caregivers might not be interested in traveling that far. Age discrimination is also on a rise. A lot of young people prefer not to live around seniors.
Of course, any decision to move into a senior community is ultimately your own. As you can see, there are many pros and cons to living in a retirement community. In order for this type of housing option to work best for you, make sure that it meets your needs. It is important not only to consider the positives but also the negatives. If you do decide that it’s the best option for you and your family, make sure to research thoroughly before making such an important life change. Some states are much popular among retirees. Florida is repeatedly ranked as the best state for retirement. Here are some of the pros and cons of retiring in Florida.