What is Active Adult Homes?

Active adult homes are the various types of low-maintenance residences found in planned neighborhoods that are designed for people at or nearing retirement age. These communities are either age-restricted or age-targeted, and are usually managed by a homeowners’ association.

Age-restricted neighborhoods often limit homeowners to those aged 55 or older, but this can vary by community. Age-targeted communities, on the other hand, cater to those who are 50 or 55 and older by offering amenities, services and leisure activities that appeal to them, but do not require homeowners to be a certain minimum age.

Homes in active adult communities can be detached single-family homes, townhouses, cottages, manufactured or custom-built houses. You usually purchase and own a home in these neighborhoods, rather than rent or lease.

Active adult communities are primarily separate, upscale neighborhoods designed and built with active retirees in mind. However, some Continuing Care Retirement Communities may also offer this type of housing on site as well.

What Does an Active Adult Community Look Like?

Active adult communities are often sprawling resort-like communities that offer lots of amenities and several different housing options. These neighborhoods may be gated, and often have security guards and 24-hour surveillance systems.

They typically have lots of green space, community areas, and amenities like pools, golf courses, club houses, and recreation centers for active adults. They may also have walking, jogging, and biking paths.

Detached homes are often one-story to make them easier to manage as you age. In fact, all the housing options are designed to be low-maintenance and easy to navigate, with open floor plans.

Depending on the part of the country where they’re located, active adult communities may or may not be near urban areas because they require large tracts of land.

However, they are usually located near shopping centers, libraries, hospitals, pharmacies and churches so the things you need are nearby. Many communities even have shuttle buses to help you get around if you don’t like driving.

What’s It Like to Live in an Active Adult or Maintenance Free Community?

Active adult communities often have a resort feel and look, and offer the same types of amenities you might find at your favorite vacation destination. So whether you like to play tennis, jog or do something more low-key, like garden or go for a walk, you’ll have lots of opportunities to be active.

Because your community will be either age-targeted or age-restricted, you’ll also have lots of chances to make new friends. After all, you’ll be surrounded by people in your own age range, who likely share common interests.

You’ll find planned social events and gatherings, and there are no restrictions on when your family and friends can visit.

Keep in mind that you’ll care for yourself in an active adult community, much like you do now in your own home. But your new home will be low-maintenance, and chores like taking out the garbage and cutting the grass will be handled by the homeowners’ association.

Is an Active Adult Community Right for Me?

Consider these statements below to determine if they describe you:


  • I am still relatively healthy.
  • I like having my own living space.
  • I like being independent.
  • I am willing to move to a smaller home, or am unable to stay in my current home.
  • I prefer to live on my own, or do not have a relative or friend with whom I can live.
  • I am very active, but want a home that’s easy to maintain.
  • I want to live in a community with people my own age.

Daily Living

  • I need help getting in and out of the bathtub or taking a bath or shower.
  • I need help getting dressed.
  • I need assistance with personal grooming.
  • I get my medicines mixed up or can’t remember when to take them.
  • I can no longer cook or need help preparing meals.
  • I can no longer drive or can only drive very short distances.
  • I no longer feel safe in my home.
  • I feel isolated in my home.
  • I do not have family or friends nearby if I need help

If most or all of the above Independence statements apply to you, but not the Daily Living statements, then an Active Adult Community may be a good option for you. You may also want to consider:

If most or all of the above Daily Living statements apply to you, but not the Independence statements, and you do not need regular nursing or medical care, then you may want to take a closer look at:

If most or all of the above Daily Living statements apply to you, but not the Independence statements, and you ¬also need regular nursing or medical care, then consider these options:

Active adult home care elders enjoying a conversation

What to Expect from an Active Adult Community?


While active adult communities may feel like resorts, you still live in your own home. You take care of yourself, cook your own meals, and do your own shopping. You may still work full- or part-time, or may be fully retired, and can still continue to enjoy the type of lifestyle you choose.

Since many of the burdens of maintaining a home are left to someone else, you should have more time than ever to pursue hobbies and interests that you like.

And you may just pick up a new one or two, as most communities offer chances to continue learning with:

  • Cooking classes
  • Arts and crafts sessions
  • Book clubs
  • Exercise classes

And if you like socializing and meeting new people, there are usually lots of planned neighborhood get-togethers and special events, or you can just invite some neighbors over to watch a move or grill out on your patio.

Since you live in your own home, you can still remain as close as you want with your family, and have them over to visit whenever you’d like.


Since active adult housing is designed to make your life more carefree, many services related to homeownership are covered in your monthly homeowners’ fee. These may vary by community, but typically include:

  • Trash pickup
  • Exterior home maintenance
  • Lawn maintenance
  • Security and surveillance
  • Cable or satellite television
  • Wi-Fi
  • Transportation


Costs of active adult homes can vary greatly depending on:

  • Community location and amenities
  • Type and size of residence
  • Location of the residence within the community
  • Other factors

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