You can hardly believe it, but you’ve reached middle age. You’re not quite to retirement but there may now be some gaps in your day, whereas before you were so busy with kids there weren’t enough hours. Maybe you’re finally off carpool duty or you just realized you’re not going to have to coach a youth soccer team this year.

Reaching 55 brings new life advantages: discounts at theaters and retailers, moving closer to retirement, and enjoying grandchildren. You may already be familiar with these little perks or you may just be discovering some of them, but being a senior is about a lot more than double coupon day.

Your once vibrant neighborhood might seem a little less friendly these days. Everyone’s nests are empty, some of your neighbors have moved away, and you’re wondering where to go now. It’s time to look for a new home, but what are your choices?

You are in good health and you can care for yourself. Assisted living and nursing homes probably aren’t the right fit. Still, community living offers comfort, independence, and safety. Whether you are on your own or making a decision together, a 55+ community may be the right fit for you.

Life in a 55+ Community

55+ communities offer active adults the comfort of a private residence with the convenience of resort-like amenities. Recreation facilities like swimming pools, tennis courts, walking paths and parks, provide safe, well-lit areas where you can be active outdoors. Community activities like movie screenings and game nights enable you to make new friends with people just like you: active adults enjoying a new, independent lifestyle.

Thanks to initiatives like Go4Life by the National Institute on Aging, retirement and senior living are more active than ever. Studies show that active lifestyles can stave off the illness, depression, and memory loss associated with aging. Whether you are an avid skier or a crack shot at basketball, your basic physical fitness can be preserved in a 55+ community.

55+ communities range from fully engaged resort-like environments, to low-involvement, age restricted housing. Although renting is certainly an option, in many cases, residents own their own homes or condos, making a conservative and time-tested investment in the community.

55+ Communities Compared to Other Retirement Living Options

55+ communities attempt to accommodate all of their residents’ interests. They focus on recreation, activity, and engagement. Other retirement alternatives like assisted living focus more on care and services, including personal care like bathing and medication management. Some have doctors on staff and provide skilled nursing services.

55+ communities respect your independence in areas like medical care, faith communities, and transportation. Assisted living facilities may provide those services on site for residents suffering from reduced or limited mobility. However, 55+ communities are something else entirely. Many rival resorts for features, beauty, and location.

Most 55 + communities offer a range of activities and amenities. You may be best suited for a fully independent home with kitchen, one or two bedrooms, along with entertainment and outdoor living areas. Or you may find you prefer a shared suite with common areas and the feel of a resort stay.

When is the Right Time to Consider a 55+ Community

Leaving your home may be a very difficult choice. You probably have a lot of really great memories in that house. Still, maintaining the empty nest can be an isolating responsibility. You may feel tethered to your home because of your family’s memories. But deciding to downsize, by moving to a 55+ community can offer you renewal in an exhilarating and stress-free retirement.

55+ communities are right for people who are looking for the safety of neighbor interaction, the fun of new groups of friends, and the available amenities that make daily living a little bit easier.

Residents of 55+ communities have chosen their new home because of the desire for active engagement in a resort-like environment. They want security and the opportunity to fill those empty hours and unexpected gaps with fun and self-enriching activities. You may find those reasons mean a lot to you, too.

There are so many advantages to 55+ communities. The biggest one may simply be moving on to start the next chapter in your life.

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