Downside of over 55 communities

mergieApril 3, 2003

I know the good things about an over 55 community but what is the "downside" . I think we want to move to one but I'm afraid once we get in, we won't like it. what do you look for

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From what I have been told by people that live in the "over 55" communities: Just as you make some good friends, they get sick and either move to a nursing home or pass on. It can be very upsetting. Good luck

    Bookmark   April 4, 2003 at 4:52PM
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Mostly a bunch of old farts.

Some no longer have that extra zest for living that makes every day like a spring morning.

Not many young folks around to encourage one to keep up with what's going on in the world, pursuing new interests, etc.

No kids, teens to get in one's hair.

Many are really great places, as many retirees still enjoy major energy, good health and strength. They have a variety of interests.

The internet allows people to have a window on the big world out there - though it does tend to be impersonal.

If you are considering one, spend some time getting to know the folks who live there.

See what they're like - and get well enough of a friend that they'll tell you the whole story about the place.

At 74 and in good health, I still live in a community of townhouses. Get to talk with the kids from time to time. Apart from a couple of instances of doorbell ringing then running, no problems. Throwing a snowball or two at some of them from time to time helps.

Hope this helps. Good wishes as you make your plans.

joyful guy/Ed

    Bookmark   April 6, 2003 at 6:20AM
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It has been my experience that people (women) my age are often very boring. I hate to say this but the truth is....I love my Grandchildren and the Great grandchildren but my life doesn't revolve around them and I don't want them under my feet every day. I see so many that have no life except children and grandchildren and as I see it, these later years are for me to enjoy and do all those things I didn't have time to do before. I don't mean expensive travel, that too but.., just things as simple as spending my day the way I want to whether it's gardening or reading a book....I want these years for my husband and myself...we worked hard and the time now is going to be ours, to spend together. We both love the computer and have several hobbies and I'm not going to spend my last years worrying about who is coming over or who is cooking for the next holiday or what grandchild has a problem now and certainly not babysitting all day long every day every week....I love taking classes and meeting new people and learning new husband is the same way...he hasn't had any time to learn gardening or baking and he wants to do those things...

    Bookmark   April 28, 2003 at 9:41AM
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Sorry I hit submit when I was previewing and I just wanted to add.

so the above reasons are a few of the reasons that I don't want to be surrounded by just people my age...I love a variety of ages and interests. Nothing makes me smile more than opening my kitchen door now and hearing the children next door playing in their back yard.....I just listen..I don't have to clean up after them or diaper them etc so I can truly enjoy....

    Bookmark   April 28, 2003 at 9:44AM
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Aside from the "old farts", I found a bunch of people who jumped at the chance for "office", e.i. most communities have some sort of inhouse political structure for making sure people maintain their properties. This is a good thing, who wants to live by a trashed property...but...this is generally the first time these people get elected to anything and they very often become little Hitlers. If you're shy they run all over you, if you stand up for yourself, you're a trouble maker. Fortunately, the area I lived in was pretty remote and the places were selling at prices that young families could afford, so rather than having empty houses, the mother company opened up the restrictive age limit. I had young families moving in around me and what a joy with their young families. I wasn't responsible for their upbringing, but they added an energy to my life that I really enjoyed. Among the oldsters, we had a telephone "Good morning, are you o.k." system that was comforting. There are up and downs to any place you live. Ideally if you could rent for a while you could save yourself a lot of stress and money. Since my mate passed away I found that I was a potential threat & embarrassment to many married couples my age. This was weird as my partner & I were so secure with our marriage that we embraced those less fortunate & tried to include them in activites till they got a grip on themselves and their lives.

    Bookmark   May 6, 2003 at 10:22PM
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I cannot imagine living in one. Yes, I would like the quiet, BUT, I also enjoying seeing young people and children. I like watching as the walkers push the little ones along in strollers. I like to see the boys and girls on their bikes and skate boards.

I guess I just like to watch. I would find it most unpleasant to see nothing but the over 55. I hate going to the doctor because the waiting rooms is filled with the elderly. I wonder, far too often, am I getting like that?

Nope, I think a over 55 community would remind me too often of where I am going.

But, I will be the first to admit that there are many advantages in one. If I HAD to give up my home and move, I most likely would go to one rather than just buy another home in a mixed, unknown neighborhood.

    Bookmark   May 7, 2003 at 8:03AM
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I agree that when your spouse passes away the couples your age view you as a threat. I too always helped those who had gone through this before I lost my husband but found I was unwelcome. Also sometimes asking a friend who lives in one won't always be the right answer. I went to where my friend resides and found our priorities had changed drastically. In addition she never had a problem living in an extremely small space and I always lived in a house. I found the accommodations where she is living much to small and confined. Although I realize you spend most of your day outside, by the pool, shopping, etc. you still need some space so you don't feel claustrophobic when inside.

    Bookmark   April 24, 2011 at 9:13AM
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I don't know if my home would fall into the over 55 type. It is a patio home and we bought it because they take care of the mowing and a lot of the problems we have outside, like cleaning gutters. I love it except for the men we have on the board. One is obsessed with watering and the other with mulch, thought the mulch doesn't bother me. But we are drowning here. LOL

We are 95% seniors, 55% widows, a few still work and several have died. In one that I know of, one whole block travels together. I think it depends on what you want. You couldn't raise kids here, to many restrictions in the covenants, but I love them. No more basketballs landing in my shrubs. As far as the older women some are very special, warm and welcoming when you see them. They are usually the ones without family around. The ones I don't like to be with are the ones who can only discuss their kids and grand kids. LOL

    Bookmark   April 25, 2011 at 11:19PM
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I don't really look at it as being down sides. I just enjoy it for what it is.

    Bookmark   April 26, 2011 at 5:59PM
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My brother and sister-in-law loved it but don't anymore. They had lots of friends when they first moved in, but most of those have moved away and been replaced by younger folks who don't want anything to do with "fogeys". What friends they have are snow birds and they disappear for six months, just when it would be welcome to be able to visit friends indoors because the outdoors is too hot.

    Bookmark   May 7, 2011 at 1:53AM
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DH and I are in our 70's and live in a retirement community with levels of care and we love it. Our villa is a part of the independent living section and we come an go as we please, just as we did in our previous house. We are glad for the levels of care, although one hopes to be healthy and independent for a long time.

DH recently had a knee replacement and had physical therapy times a week. There is a gym here on the premises with licensed physical therapists where he goes for this therapy. It is very convenient.

Also, the fact that we are on one floor made it very convenient for him to get around. When senior citizens stay in 2 floor houses, it can be problematic in situations like this.

We were born and raised in the area and have friends and family here, so we don't need to find friends here, although we like the people very much.

There are tons of things to do if you want to get involved, lots of volunteering, committees, activities, trips, etc. We are not joiners, so decline when asked to be on committees. But the opportunities are there if one is so inclined. Our villa has 2 bedrooms, 2 baths, living room plus dining area, kitchen and sun room. So DH and I both have our own tv's to watch and can be alone if we like.

All in all, I recommend it highly. Our location is excellent, too, close to all the big cities of the northeast, but in a small city with lots of farmland and Amish farms.

Here is a link that might be useful: Homestead Village

    Bookmark   May 30, 2011 at 8:16PM
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I think one of the best things about 55+ communities is that many have a wide variety of amenities and activities on-site. You can really choose the lifestyle you want and of course the people you will make friends with also share your interests. My parents live in an active adult community in which tennis is the heart of the community. does a nice job giving a snapshot of many of these active adult communities

Here is a link that might be useful: Active Adult Communities

    Bookmark   June 3, 2011 at 12:28PM
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My wife and I are too young (in our mid 30s) however her parents recently became members of a 55+ community in the New York area. They are both very active: golf, and competitive dancing are their things so it seemed like a community which offered theses activated would be perfect - NOT!

It all came down to the other members in the community, if you have common interests, if your at the same speed etc... My inlaws simply found almost every member they met to either be a fuddy-duddy who wanted to keep to themselves, or weren't healthy or active enough to be somewhat competitive at the more physical activities my inlaws are into.

Eventually they found community with a thriving active population right on a top notch golf course.

Here is a link that might be useful: 55 Communities

    Bookmark   February 12, 2012 at 12:20AM
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I live in a fantastic over 55 community. There are always people who don't like this setting, but for us it has been perfect. All our neighbors are the same age, so we enjoy each other. This is an active community, so we are busy with activities and things to do. I have found those who do not like this environment are those who don't like being in groups or clubs. We are very social, so we enjoy having lots of friends from diverse backgrounds.
In my community there are a lot of people who rent a house for 6 months or so to see if this is their cup of tea. Maybe you could try that.

    Bookmark   May 23, 2012 at 6:04PM
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We live in a Del Webb community and we love it. People here are of various ages but there is so much to do. Just like other times in your lives you will meet and have friends of various ages. "Old Farts", what a joke. Lots of people have their grandchildren over and we see kids all the times. And if you are bored it is only because you chose to be. The down side is that there is a board that has to approve what you do on your property and there are restrictions, but then again any HOA does that. I believe that if you are going to live in a 55-over community you owe it to yourself to go and visit, talk to the people in the community. We did for 6 months before we bought and wouldn't change moving here, we truly feel that we have just moved to a newer active time in our lives. And best of all there are so many clubs we get to do the things we like doing, plus we learn new activities.

    Bookmark   January 20, 2013 at 10:02PM
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I like my home and the location, but an HOA has it's drawbacks. I really don't like our president. He thinks he can go on anyone's property and change things he doesn't like. Article 5 of the covenant says the board can do this at their discretion....WRONG! I checked with a lawyer who specializes in HOAs. He said it doesn't matter what the covenants say, they have to comply with city laws. I "discussed" this with the prez. I don't think he will come on my property and change anything without my permission. I will call the police and if he does anything to my property while I am gone, my HOA lawyer said he will file a complaint.

My home needs some painting done because of damage from the chemical company that does the lawns. I asked if the painter was licensed and insured, the prez said yes. BUT he wouldn't give me his name because he knows I am going to check the painter out. No one is going to work on my home unless he is insured and licensed.

    Bookmark   January 24, 2013 at 8:44PM
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We live at Holly Lake Ranch. Not a true (by rule) 55+ community. We moved here for the "activities" and there is 1 to 5 of them every day. Once here, we decided to just enjoy our lives. My point is sometimes what you think you may want/need prior to retirement, changes rapidly. The only "downside" for us was mentioned before as "politics." 90% of the people want to retire, but there is always someone that retires, leaves a metropolitan area, and wants to change the new community back to where they just left. We have met new friends, a new church, and have plenty to do. I love it. But if you need city lights and opera every night, better stay (or move back) to the metropolitan area.

    Bookmark   September 1, 2013 at 10:36AM
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I'm only 50 now and I have to wait 5 more years , but 55 plus communities are very appealing to me.
I live on Long Island and a single person can't live here and buy a home and pay the taxes. 55 and older communities offer homes in the area for around $50,000. And not only that, the communities are situated in rural areas of LI and away from the hustle and bustle. I'm an outdoors person and active sportsman so Eastern LI would be perfect for me. I could care less about the people living there. If their old foggies, so what. I got my own interests and family. For me, living in a 55 community is strictly to save money. Everything else is a plus. The thing with 55 communities here, they don't pay school taxes . Like $1000 a year taxes as opposed to $12000 in a $400,000 home. Some of these communities have farms all around them and protected woodland.

    Bookmark   July 18, 2014 at 3:27PM
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Another LIer here, so I know exactly what the previous poster is talking about. The problem is that on LI we have NO 55+ communities with detached SFHs... they are all attached condo style and that's something I know I could never stand. I did it twice in my life and hated every minutes of it and that was when I was much younger and more "resilient", LOL

The thing that scares me about any HOA (and an 55+ is indeed an HOA) is that with mismanagement the fees or special assessments can shoot up into the same realm as property taxes on an owned home. Say you're in a 55+ here that has $300/month common charges (not at all unusual and probably on the low end actually). That's $3600/year. Then you have your regular taxes (lower, yes, but not non-existent) for an additional $3000/yr. That's $6600 of inescapable fixed housing expense. For another $2000/yr ($8600) you could instead live in your own SFH in an affordable school district and be able to take the full $8600 as an income tax deduction. You can't deduct HOA common charges or special assessments.

Some people are okay with all the Stepford-type rules and regulations that go with living in any kind of an HOA, and some (like myself) could never abide them. So there's that to consider as well.

On the flip side, I would rather live in a community of only seniors than live within spitting distance of a house with a bunch of noisy kids. For me that would be the only upside to a 55+ community (no resident kids).

    Bookmark   November 21, 2014 at 3:23PM
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When my MIL needed an asst. living CCRC, we investigated a number of full-service facilities around our home, since we wanted her to be close by. Of the eight we investigated, there was only one we'd pick for ourselves. But it wouldn't have been suitable for her at all.

For her we chose a facility that had the kind of atmosphere and activities she would be comfortable with - yes, the "old fogey" kind. Frankly, most of us will be at that stage eventually, and to today's Millennials we are practically already there anyway, LOL. She was 84 going in, and turned out to be the youngest person at her four-top dining room table - the oldest was 101!

My DH and I both liked one facility for ourselves, but it's the most expensive so we may or may not be able to afford it. It was very different than most; full of active, energetic, very interesting seniors. We took tours of this facility a couple of different times, and on one tour got to meet one resident on each floor (the building is a high-rise close to our downtown area).

One of the residents opening her apartment for viewing was a former musician and music teacher. She had 7 organs in her cute 1-bdroom and serenaded visitors as they came through! It was delightful and quite a change from the equally nice but more sober atmosphere at my MIL's facility.

One of our former neighbors sold her home and as she has aged, moved a couple of times. First she was in a regular apt building, making friends there as she's very social and always keeps busy with family and volunteer work.

Then she moved to a senior housing where it's all independent living; if you want assistance you pay for it but they don't do things like medication management or physical therapy, just housekeeping and meals in their in-house restaurant. But she has parking for her car and it's a secure building (in a great area), with lots of social activities for the residents as well.

You can pretty much find almost anything you want in senior facilities. Unless you're doing one of the more expensive "buy-in/one price forever" CCRCs, you aren't tied to staying in one place forever.

At my MIL's CCRC, for example, the buy-in was very small - just a few thousand dollars. But when she requires Memory Care or Skilled Nursing, then she'll pay market rates. This is different from the facility we were looking at, which is a large buy-in, but one price forever, covering all Skilled Nursing costs for the same price as Independent/Asstd Living units.

    Bookmark   January 12, 2015 at 5:07PM
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my father lived in one (he eventually had to move to assisted living). It was good for him, although I do think the atmosphere would have been more enjoyable for him if there were more young people around. Do make sure there are enough activities of the sort you'd like to do -- my father had zero interest in arts and crafts, but did like taking walks and doing anything involving food. His hearing was going, so movies and music were out. He did like the pool table. He made a few friends there (he's always been an introvert), and he did get involved enough to help run the site store.

So -- it depends. See what activities are available. And be sure you can get out on your own either by yourselves or with good friends once you decide to stop driving. Good places will arrange field trips, too.

One thing he didn't like: at the communal dinners, they took FOREVER to serve food. I don't know if that is universal.

    Bookmark   January 27, 2015 at 9:24AM
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>>at the communal dinners, they took FOREVER to serve food. I don't know if that is universal.>>

Not at any of the facilities we visited. In fact, we have family get-togethers at my MIL's facility on the holidays - their food is quite good, lovely dining room, excellent service by the staff.

When one is investigating facilities, multiple visits should be considered mandatory. We always visited for at least one meal to see what it was like. At MIL's facility we actually went for three meals (two with her) so had a very good idea of what it would be like for her.

She's lived there now for over a year, no surprises except good ones -- she's become a whiz at bingo and bocce ball, two activities new to her.

    Bookmark   February 15, 2015 at 11:19AM
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