Should I Move to a 55+ Retirement Community [Why I Wouldn’t]

Should I Move to a 55+ Community - Rebel Retirement

I believe in different strokes for different folks. With that said, I wouldn’t move to a 55+ retirement community. What I’ve learned about retirement communities doesn’t sound inviting to me.

Even though, if you look at their websites, they make quite a convincing argument for why you should.

The stock photos are beautiful – sunshine, palm trees, lovely smiling people.

They make living in a gated community sound ideal.  Someone else mows the lawn, everything is picture-perfect, and you have lots of friends to socialize with.

Conceivably the idea of staying active with other baby boomers who enjoy swimming, golfing,  pickleball, and art and crafts would be fun.

Certainly, moving into a 55+ retirement community with like-minded people sounds inviting.

However, I don’t get it! And in this article, I’m going to tell you why I wouldn’t move to a 55+ community.

Is moving to a retirement community a good idea?

I don’t think so. Moving to a 55+ community is like the first step to a nursing home.

First, you play beach volleyball with other active seniors. Then, eventually, you’ll be shipped off to a nursing home where you’ll play balloon volleyball with less than active seniors.

I think most baby boomers are afraid of getting old, want to remain independent,  and plan to avoid nursing homes.

And the way to avoid a nursing home is not only through maintaining health and activity, but it’s also by having a youthful mindset.

A mindset that is discouraged by voluntarily choosing to live in a community of oldsters who love rules.

Read: Can Retirement Cause Stress? (9 Stressors Boomers Face and How to Cope)

Later in this article, I’ll give additional reasons why I wouldn’t move to a 55+ community.

But first, let me define what a 55+ retirement community is.

What is a 55+ retirement community?

Oftentimes called an active-adult community, a 55+ retirement community is a want-driven community for active retirees.

The idea is that if you are at least 55, you move to a community of like-minded individuals where you can make friends and participate in activities where you share common interests.

This is opposed to a need-driven assisted living retirement village where elderly folks receive health assistance and nursing care.

Pros of living in a 55+ retirement community

  • Low maintenance – 55+ retirement communities offer homes with easy maintenance. Cutting grass and trimming shrubs is no longer a chore you have to do.
  • Making friends – It’s often easier for retirees to make friends when living in a community with people the same age.
  • Convenience – Many retirement communities are conveniently located near shopping, theaters, and restaurants.

Read: Why Baby Boomers Move to Walkable Towns

Cons of living in a 55+ community

  • Lack of age diversity – You must be 55 and over to live in one of these communities.  Sure your kids and grandkids can visit, but there is often a limitation on how long they can stay.
  • HOA fees and red tape – You are required to pay homeowner’s association fees (that’s how your lawn gets mowed) and you have to follow the rules.
  • Fitting in – If you are more independent than your neighbors, you may be in for a surprise.  People in 55+ communities are searching for compatibility and sameness.

Pros and Cons Chart

Why I wouldn’t move to a 55+ retirement community.

Sunnyvale Rest, a dying place for ancient people, who have forgotten the fragile magic of youth. A dying place for those who have forgotten that childhood, maturity, and old age are curiously intertwined and not separate. A dying place for those who have grown too stiff in their thinking. -Quote from The Twilight Zone

Rebel Retiree and I are self-reliant and independent, and therefore, value the freedom of living in a community at large.

Also, we’ve lived in a neighborhood with an active Home Owners Association. Therefore, I understand how HOAs stick their noses into other people’s business.  I don’t like it.

While I like a well-kept home and lawn, I do not appreciate busybody HOA  representatives telling me what to do with my own property – much less paying dues of $250.00 a month so they can tell me what time I can put my garbage out.

As a rebel retiree, my money could be put to better use. I would prefer to spend it on a road trip to Alaska to see the northern lights.

I enjoy being around people of all ages. It’s what keeps me youthful in mind and spirit.

The sound of children playing and making noise doesn’t bother me. In fact, I think it’s one of the joys of being alive.

It’s the same principle as adopting a puppy to liven up an old dog.

And although I personally do not want a dozen plastic pink flamingos plastered all over my lawn, I want my neighbor to have the freedom to decorate as they please.

1440px-Plastic_Pink_Flamingo_House_-_panoramio

Other disadvantages of retirement communities.

While doing research for this article, I’ve read complaints such as:

  • No pets. You own the home, but cannot share it with a beloved companion because it’s against the rules.
  • Youngsters are not allowed to visit for longer than 2 weeks at a time. Extended stays for fun or otherwise are discouraged.
  • You can’t decorate your lawn as you see fit. Forget the holiday decorations. Only appropriate ones are allowed.
  • Bullying and snobbishness. If you are not the “right” kind of person, you may not make friends easily.

Others have complained about the lack of diversity.

Apparently, in order to be admitted, some 55+ communities require that you be of a particular religion or sexual orientation.

However, many boomers seem to love living in them.

Therefore, I’ve included this link to a Quora thread that gives some real-life pros and cons of living in a 55+ community.

Conclusion

As a rebel retiree, the thought of moving to a homogenous 55+ community is unappealing. However, 55+  communities are popular.

Many are conveniently located and offer a wide array of activities to be enjoyed with people your own age. And you no longer need to concern yourself with home maintenance.

While the positive amenities of a 55+ community sound attractive, there are drawbacks.

Many 55+ communities require that you sign a contract and pay homeowner’s association fees.

You may have to be of a certain religion.

Your favorite pooch or kitty may be unwelcome.

Family, friends, and grandchildren under 55 have limited stay conditions.

My recommendation?

Before you make a mistake that you regret, do your research before you commit to a 55+ community.

Attribution: Pink Flamingo photo by Cory Coyle. Obtained through WikiMedia Commons where you can find further details.
Banner Photo by F. Muhammad, Pixabay 
Last update: 09/23/22

Related Article You May Like:

What do you think about 55+ communities? Please feel free to comment below! And before you go, please take a moment to subscribe to our newsletter, and like us on Facebook!

Join the Rebel Retirement Revolution!

Receive Rebel Retirement inspiration to your inbox when we publish our occasional newsletter.

We hate spam, too! We will never give away, trade or sell your email address. You can unsubscribe at any time.

6 thoughts on “Should I Move to a 55+ Retirement Community [Why I Wouldn’t]

  1. Megan says:

    Hi All. Great article. I ran a food pantry out of a 55+ community. At first I thought it was great but it turned ugly after a year. I watched the gossiping, the shaming, folks with dementia and other illnesses dying alone. I also saw people come together to help one another, but that got ugly eventually too. So, I’d rather be on my own and die in the middle of my own life and not a bunch of people I don’t know or like. At 60 I am planning to go off grid. Yup! Enough is enough. My debt is gone, only have a car payment. Now time to get that land and get a small home built, and live as much off grid as I can stand. Still doing research.

    • Yoga Woman says:

      Hi Megan!

      Thanks so much for sharing your thoughts on this subject. You sound like an independent, awesome woman! Best wishes for an outstanding off-grid life.

      Best,
      Marlene, Yoga Woman

  2. Sara Alvarez says:

    The only thing that leads me to a community of 55 plus or 62 and up is these days the world is getting worse. I’m not negative, I’m very positive. Its just that many times I’ve lived in other places with families, kids or singles and pets, all which I love, I get noise next door, tough dog breeds that have come after me and the worse thing is living with families with party, fighting, drinking, drugging parents or single people bringing in people making and smoking drugs even if they have no smoking rules in the units or a non smoking property.

    I feel that now at my age even though I can handle and love people and am very active, I’d rather live in a community where most people aren’t doing all this and its safer due to codes in doors and secure all over the place. Not because I’m fearful but the way this world is going, it seems we can avoid all these things. Even though there is good and bad or not safe everywhere, its seems somewhat safe and healthier at a senior community.

    Life is what you make it. You can have boundaries and live your life how you want to and not be around negative people and keep to yourself and choose your friends.

    In most apartment communities no matter what you do managers will not enforce rules or take action against bad or dangerous neighbors. Maybe sometimes but its so full of uncaring people out there that they don’t care. Sure the world is also beautiful but these days, its getting worse.

    No I don’t want to retire like an old oger and get old. I will keep active and maybe encourage other seniors not to that choose to be encouraged.

    I’m not escaping or hiding form fear but it is reality to get away from all the ruckus that younger people can deal with and they are even having a hard time with all of that.

    Seniors do drink, party or do drugs but its more than likely you don’t have that too much in a senior home especially 62 and up.

    So, I’m a rebel against the crazyness in this world and choose to live in peace even if I have to deal with some of the things I can’t have or have to deal with.

    I say this with much respect and not being aggressive at all. I really mean this very kindly.

    I’m glad you are enjoying life out there and I respect what makes you happy as I would want all of us to do so.

    Its great to hear opinions. If it helps me change my mind, great. It would be a miracle if it did because yes it would be great to live out there in a diverse community of ages but for me its to scary. I’m not fearful, just careful now at my age and I’d live in a cottage if I was younger. I’ve had too much of all I shared with you in diverse age complexes.

    Thank you for reading and God bless you.

    God bless you.

  3. Marianna Steel says:

    I never heard of 55 communities for certain religions or sexually identities. But anyway, why would anyone even consider moving anywhere where their pets aren’t allowed? I lived in Sun City TX when I was 52-54 – enjoyed many aspects of it, but the outrageous taxes drove me out. I had lots of good friends there. I live in an all-age community now, but I do not like kids around, nor their screaming. Both neighbors have kids, and the adults are either unfriendly or just plain idiots. I don’t know what to do – am in a serious quandary. I love my home here, but Sun City AZ looks good to me for some reasons, but bad for other reasons. I’m 76 now and am sick of moving but still have a young spirit. I wish I had a crystal ball and could see what living here or elsewhere would be like in 10 or 20 years.

  4. Alice Carroll says:

    I like that you mentioned that active adult communities can be a good place to find new friends. My grandfather has gotten a bit more reclusive over the years so I think he will need to socialize more. Maybe moving to a place where he could interact better with his neighbors would be good for his health overall.

    • Yoga Woman says:

      Hi Alice,

      Moving to a place where your grandfather could interact better with neighbors is a nice idea. I would suggest, however, that you discuss the pros and cons of moving. Your grandfather may have a lot of opinions on the subject. Thank you for your thoughts.

      All the best to you and your grandfather,
      Marlene, Yoga Woman

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *