Top 10 Amenities that Make for a Best Place to Retire

Category: Best Retirement Towns and States

November 27, 2012 — There are plenty of the Best Places to Retire lists (including the ones we publish) for this or that. But what does make a town a great place to retire? Weather, location, taxes – those are some of the essential factors. But just as key are the amenities that a town offers to its residents. If done right, even a town with a crummy location or climate can make itself attractive to retirees. This article launches a two part series on what the most innovative and forward-thinking towns are doing to make themselves more attractive to baby boomers. This installment lists our Top 10 Municipal Retirement Amenities; Part 2 provides our list of the 10 Best Retirement Towns for Amenities. We are hoping that our readers will provide suggestions for both articles – let us know in the Comments section below!

Starting with Infrastructure
Several states have retirement community certification programs – notably Texas, Mississippi, and Tennessee. These programs usually require that the town or city apply and meet minimum criteria for healthcare, recreation, transportation, public safety, housing, etc. These programs are reassuring to prospective retirees in that some minimum infrastructure standards await them. Another benefit is that these “certified” towns usually go out of their way to attract and welcome new residents.

Top Amenities for Retirement Towns
Everyone probably has their own favorite amenities that they would like to see in their dream retirement town. This is our list of our top amenities. We recommend you use it, along with your own ideas, as an evaluation tool when you start looking for your best place to retire. If you have different ideas for amenities we would love to see them in the Comments section below.

– Aquatic Centers. We think communities with welcoming aquatic centers make great places to retire. The best ones are open at convenient hours. They also tend to have warm therapeutic pools for seniors, designated lanes for different swimming speeds, and aquatic exercise classes (water aerobics is a great, low-impact way to stay fit). While outdoor centers are great in the summer or in the extreme south, indoor facilities that permit year round swimming are even better (Photo of Pullen Aquatic Center in Raleigh, NC).

– Community Centers. While some towns have Senior Centers, we prefer towns where the Seniors are served within a Community Center. That type of facility insures a more diverse crowd, and encourages younger boomers, who can get nervous about being called seniors, to attend. Community and Senior centers offer a wide variety of services including hot lunches, exercise classes, lectures, card games, community meeting centers, and billiards. Some even include swimming pools or fitness centers. Some towns have additional resources designed to assist the elderly who have trouble coping.

– Cultural Centers. Those towns that can offer a cultural center have a big plus in their column when it comes to making life more interesting for retirees. Many times the cultural center is provided by an existing museum. Other times it is a surplus school, historic building, or municipal building that gets enough support to offer cultural programs and classes. Arts Centers typically have exhibits, artists in residence, and classes. They can add so much to a town; the Studios of Key West is a good example.

– Libraries. We wouldn’t want to live in a town without a good library. While there are those that say libraries are irrelevant in the Internet Age, library usage statistics disagree. The good ones are packed with people coming to lectures, book talks, meetings, reading magazines, downloading eBooks – or using the library’s computers or WiFi. Be sure to check out the library before you decide on a place to retire – does it get good support, and is at open at convenient times? (Photo courtesy of Wikipedia and Rem Koolhaas: Main reading room in the new Seattle Public Library).

– Fitness Centers. While a good for-profit gym is a nice thing to have in a town, a modern YMCA or municipal fitness center is even better. The price will be lower and the facilities are often quite impressive. The importance of staying fit as we age cannot be overstated.

– Recreational Facilities. The list of different recreational facilities that towns can offer is long and varied. Public golf courses are popular with many folks. Good public tennis courts with a system or staff person that facilitates play is also great. In many towns in Florida you can show up at the tennis courts any morning and know that you’ll have a game. Likewise courts for bocce, shuffleboard, and pickleball attract residents. Public parks, picnic areas,beaches, marinas, nature reserves, and trails for walking and biking definitely enhance the quality of life.

– College or Adult Education. Towns that already have a college or university have a built in advantage. Colleges offer cultural and educational opportunities of course, but they are also make communities more vibrant as well as usually offering more interesting shops and restaurants. Community colleges offer the chance to learn a new skill or take a class. The Osher Life Long Learning Institutes have 116 programs across the U.S. that greatly enhance retirement for thousands of retirees. Look for something like this in your retirement town if culture or education are important to you.

– Walkable Downtowns. The idea of having to get in our car and drive somewhere for the smallest of errands drives us crazy. So towns that have invested in pedestrian friendly centers, sidewalks, and bike paths are much more attractive to us. We much prefer the idea of strolling from shop to shop on foot and then enjoying lunch at a sidewalk cafe to death zone pedestrian crossings, endless freeways, and strip malls. Before you move anywhere, take a test run to see how you will buy a quart of milk or enjoy a cup of joe.

– Good Transportation. Here in the Northeast as well as in Southeast Florida we are lucky to have commuter rail lines that make getting to the big city a snap. Many towns elsewhere have invested in convenient bus lines, “Dial a Ride”, or at least can offer reliable taxi service. As we continue to age the day that we can’t drive draws nearer, so towns with good public transportation have a big advantage. Likewise being near an airport with hub service or a discount airline like Southwest or Jet Blue makes travel for vacations or visiting the grandchildren so much easier.

– Healthcare. Many small towns can’t support a full blown hospital these days, but they might have an acute care facility or satellite location of a big hospital. Or, the town is so close to a big city hospital you could get there in a short time. What you don’t want is to be too far from a quality hospital, where most of the medical specialists will be congregated. Also check out ambulance service – who offers it and what kind of response time/service do they provide?

For further reading:
100 Best Places to Retire for 2012
Worst States for Retirement
Part 2: 10 Best Retirement Towns for Amenities

Comments. Please use the Comments section below to tell us about the amenities you would like to see in your dream retirement town. Also, we are looking for nominations for our “Top 10 Best Places to Retire for Amenities” list.

Posted by John Brady on November 27th, 2012

47 Comments »

  1. One-stop shopping for age-related services; larger, well-lighted street signage, longer times for crosswalks (an audible signal is nice for the vision-impaired); longer yellow lights; dedicated left-turn lanes; recessed bus stops; dog park.

    Jan Cullinane
    The Single Woman’s Guide to Retirement (John Wiley & Sons)
    The New Retirement: The Ultimate Guide to the Rest of Your Life (Rodale)

    by Jan Cullinane — November 28, 2012

  2. Based on the amenities listed in the article above, it would appear that my wife and I made a very good decision when we ultimately decided to retire from Long Island to Cary, NC (aka Containment Area for Relocated Yankees). Cary, is located in the middle of the Raleigh/Durham/Chapel Hill “Triangle.” Based on the the list of amenities above, we don’t seem to be missing anything. Quite to the contrary, when it comes to some of these items, this area has many of them in spades or built in redundancy. For example, we have a great system of hospitals as well as an abundance of universities and colleges. Not specifically mentioned avove, but which can also be added to the list, is Broadway caliber theater. We have some great shopping in all directions and an ever-expanding list of new restaurants and dining experiences. This area has also been referred to as “Trees, Tees and PhD’s.” The reason for this becomes apparent when one lives here or if you are just visiting. We have great recreational amenities in terms of parks, bike and hiking trails and lakes. We are also only a few hours from some beautiful coastal beaches areas to the east and the mountains (e.g. Asheville) to our west. Living in the center of the “Triangle,” we are about 20 minutes from downtown Raleigh, Durham and Chapel Hill. Each of those places has its own distinctive character, attractions and appeal. This is really not some sleepy retirement area. Research Triangle Park (RTP), which is a key economic driver in the region is home to long list of big corporations and other major employers. Consequently, the area provides more opportunities for people who perhaps want to keep working full-time or part-time. The area is growing and with that growth comes an ever increasing list of more “stuff.” Some of it is good,…more restaurants, shopping, entertainment, etc. And, then there is the downside; more people means more traffic. Consequently, when touting one’s neighborhood as a potential “Best Place,” you don’t know if you are doing your area or yourself a favor or disservice by calling additional outside attention to it. We’ll see..=)

    by Artie — November 28, 2012

  3. After completing my “small town America” search for pre-retirement cities across the areas west of the Rocky Mountains (for drier climate) we decided on our current location – Bend, Oregon. Bend in located in the heart of Oregon, just east of the Cascades Mountain ranged…with nice views of the peaks. Mt. Bachelor ski area is very close for winter sports, and Hoodoo ski area is not that far distant either. Summer months brings more outdoor activities with: mountain biking, hiking, mountain climbing, mountain lakes fishing, numerous lakes, streams, and rivers for world class fly fishing. Then there’s over 26 area golf courses (some private) from “signature” professionally designed courses to very nice executive courses. Bend is small enough but does have some limited shopping, but Portland, OR is not that far away (3 hours by car) or 40 minutes by air, for indulging in Mall shopping. Bend has a very good regional Medical Center (St. Charles) treating just about any need in healthcare. Our regional airport is located at Redmond/Bend regional airport with direct service to Portland, Seattle, San Francisco, and Los Angeles (and I think Salt Lake City). Check it out!

    by Winston — November 28, 2012

  4. Gotta have a dog park, fenced off leash area.

    by Kim — November 28, 2012

  5. Mount Airy, NC has all the above and more in a small town setting. It is also the core city of one of the top Micropolitan Statistical Areas in the US, providing for all the professional,techniaal and skilled services, along with comprehensive commercial services. It provides an excell3n5 level of municipal services. All of this is in an attractive setting, with the Blue Ridge Mountains as a backdrop. It is a vibrant, but friendly and caring community,living up to the fictional Town of Mayberry in the Andy Griffith Show of TV fame.It has been also called, “America’s Home Town.”

    by Peter F. Lydens — November 28, 2012

  6. This is a very good article. Some developments and retirement enclaves e.g. The Villages in Florida tend to try to build all these things into their structure. I was glad to see that you did not feature these kinds of retirement places but rather emphasized municipalities. This just goes to show that municipalities can offer all the same stuff as developments and even broader offerings and changing offerings. It is really great to live within such a municipality (Winter Haven, Florida) which has most of these elements. Will be interesting to read more of the comments to this article.

    by David M. Lane — November 28, 2012

  7. I, too, love the emphasis on municipalities rather than developments which have what I find to be an unappealing sameness in their streetscapes, architecture, and, perhaps, populations. I think one of the reasons people gravitate to these developmenst is the ease of finding a social circle and planned activities. So, it would be nice if municipalities sponsored some sort of newcomers group or a seniors social club or clubs for different interests that would substitute for what is easily found in developements. And one more item….an established organization that helps people “age in place”, very much a growing trend in theis country.

    by Judy — November 29, 2012

  8. As to the Research Triangle, beware of the North CArolina intangibles tax!

    by Sandie — November 29, 2012

  9. I want to be close to the ocean, warmish weather and tax friendly plus close to my kids. Delaware fits the bill – but no dog park. Right now I travel about 30 mins to the nicest one I have ever been to – Middletown, De. (I live in Chestertown, Md). We are building a smaller dog park here within walking distance to me. So I think I am going to keep my primary home in Chestertown and buy a small condo or trailer near the beach – Lewes or Rehoboth which is 75 miles from me. Still within 100 miles from my kids/grandkids.

    by carol — November 29, 2012

  10. After living in the south for the past twenty years…orig from California…I am looking for many of the items on this list…including….DIVERSITY in the population…. religion… politics.. .heredity… .education level. …gay/straight…..etc. Concentration of any one seems to bring about control issues … So much healthier to accept each other for being diverse.

    by Iwashere — November 29, 2012

  11. Sandie, I have lived in NC for 22 years. There is no intangibles tax.

    by Dick — November 29, 2012

  12. :smile:I couldn’t agree more with “Iwashere” and believe that today’s Baby Boomer soon-to-be-retireds will be looking for more diversity in the population and cultures in a given locale. This is often not found in so-called”planned” newer retirement communities that abound in inland Florida.

    I’ve found all those urban amenities–along with warm weather, fabulous beaches. and a moderate cost of living in greater St. Petersburg and Pinellas County Florida.

    by Tony Branch — November 29, 2012

  13. lwashere and Tony I also agree. More intereted in diversity in the population and culture is what is driving us from Texas to other locales. That and the desire for more than one season – HOT – is what we seek.

    by sheila — November 30, 2012

  14. Tony,

    Do you have any information on Sun city center? I have been researching this community and have not found any negative remarks. This community is in our price range of $100,000. Any suggestions would be great.

    Editor’s Comment: Assume you are talking about Sun City Center near Tampa? The prices are right, although we have seen comments from some folks saying the average age of residents is too high for their taste.

    by Skip — December 2, 2012

  15. How is Arkansas? I know Mountain Home has a lot of retirees from the upper mid west living there my wife and I are looking into Heber Springs.It is a nice towm a lot smaller than Moutain Home and only a hour away from the Little Rock airport they also built a really nice Fitness Center with a nice Aquadic center plus they have a hopital and a branch of Arkansas State University.

    by Jerry Withrow — December 3, 2012

  16. […] is Part 2 of our series on Amenities. The first came out 2 weeks ago, (“10 Best Amenities that Make for a Best Place to Retire“). Many thanks to the readers who provided comments and suggestions to that […]

    by » Top 10 Retirement Towns for Amenities Topretirements — December 9, 2012

  17. I’m surprised there is not more emphasis on infrastructure…with kids scattered, I want easy commute to airport….and public transportation (there will come a time when We should limit driving). I would like a combo of small city and pristine isolation…diversity, environmental, progressive, dog friendly…Taxes? My income is not high…but life is limited at this point, so it’s not a determining factor…favorite place is Victoria, BC…would like to find US equivalent. Currently live in area of low taxes, affordability and can’t wait to leave….litter in public spaces, no public transit, 2 hour trek to airport, fracking….

    by Sue — January 14, 2013

  18. All of this sounds just lovely…if you have money. I am one of those unfortunate Realtors who lost everything in the 2008 real estate crash. After 28 years in the business, I lost my properties, my savings and my credit trying to hang on to the properties. So, with no spouse, no pension, and no savings to speak of, what are we supposed to do?? My retirement, even if I wait another 6 years until 70 to start taking it, will only be $1800 a month. I’m still working now, and I’m healthy, but what about in ten years? There is a huge number of us out there living from escrow to escrow and on the verge of living on the street or in our cars, barely hanging on. We just try hard not to show it. So, write us single seniors with no money a “Best Places to Retire”. I challenge you!!!

    by Stephanie Gregory — February 21, 2013

  19. Stephanie Gregory. I understand your situation. We live in Florida and I would love to “gitouttahere” but where we want to live and where we can afford to live is unfortunately a different matter.

    One of your options is to live in a mobile home park (as we do) 2 br’s and 1 1/2 bath with florida room. I paid $15,000 for it and made some improvements.
    Our lot rent is $346.00 per month which includes our water usage.

    I am not soliciting anyone to move here it’s just that I understand the finances are a challenge for many nowadays.

    Personally I am tired of Florida and would love to move to the Maggie Valley section of NC. Love the mountains and a change would be nice.

    Unfortunately – No Money Honey.

    Good luck

    Robert

    It’s a nice park and as you can see fairly cheap – called Lakeview Estates in South Daytona Florida.

    by Robert — February 22, 2013

  20. Stephanie Gregory. I also understand your concerns and have quite a few friends who are challenged with living only on Social Security with no other funds… I also Challenge Top Retirements to List Best Places to Retire for Seniors with a Budget Under $2000 per month and for some that is even a stretch….. Thank You

    by AaBeeda — February 22, 2013

  21. AsBeeda – good idea. I too would like to see Top Reqirements do the same.

    May prove a very difficult challenge.

    “One thing CONSTANT in life is CHANGE”.

    Robert

    by Robert — February 23, 2013

  22. Jerry – Go into Heber Springs with your eyes open – dated homes – limited medical sernices -limited shopping whereas Mountain Home area has a great medical hospital -great services -Branson airport is nearby and new.

    by Patrick Garinger — February 24, 2013

  23. I am also looking for the Best Place to Retire for under $2,000 per month. My husband is retired and I am still working, but will retire in about a year and a half. Unfortunately, we have not really traveled much and are not sure where to go. I have asthma and don’t do well in really dry or really humid climates. California is likely perfect weather, but we have ruled it out because it’s too expensive and far too congested. We have lived most of our lives in Illinois, in the country and despise everything about it, (except for the open country, rolling hills and no traffic)…especially the cost and the weather. Winter seems to get longer every year and there is hardly any spring. It jumps to summer…hot and humid. We have recently been thinking about North Carolina, altho never been there. We need to survive under $2,000 a year and be in an area that is all these things. Guess I’m probably asking way too much!

    by Barb — February 25, 2013

  24. You are not asking for way too much, just have to prioritize those items. The $ at least gives you a starting point. I posted this on another blog in top requirements and you might be interested.
    http://money.usnews.com/money/retirement/slideshows/10-places-to-retire-on-social-security-alone

    might like blog http://www.topretirements.com/blog/great-towns/the-affordable-and-more-best-places-to-retire-list.html/?awt_l=5rTDE&awt_m=3XjzKj2mU5lyIA4#comment-48570

    by eric — February 26, 2013

  25. I’m recently separated after 43 years of marriage. Now on a fixed income and must move out of my home. I have no clue as to where to live. I would like to live in a retirement community but the ones I’ve seen seem too OLD. I’m a vibrant 62 year old and don’t want to feel like I;m living in a nursing home. I’ve become accoustomed to living in a certain type of housing, so settling will be difficult – but what and where can I afford?

    by Joan — February 26, 2013

  26. You are probably going to need to check out fla and az. I visitedValencia lakes near Tampa and although some were older, I met many people were my age, 56, and running off to their next activity. I wish weather there was not so extreme but they seem to have the best resort types of communities.

    by Nancy — February 27, 2013

  27. I thought this thread was on amenities….I too have a low monthly income, probably about 2K, and would like to find someplace just like most people…good weather, low taxes, etc. I assume that I am looking for a mobile home, since I cannot afford something more pricey. The things that would matter to me are: indoor pool, so I can swim year-round. Activities, so I can be active and meet people. Pets allowed, as I have a Yorkie and love animals and will never be without one if I can help it. A community that is close enough to walk to major services like grocery store and pharmacy. I am 63 and expect to drive for many years, but someday I may not be able and I don’t want to be dependent on others for rides. I prefer a vibrant community with things like local theatre, and live music. I would also prefer a place in a safer area, such as safe from tornadoes, hurricanes, etc. So, to sum up: good weather (including minimal ‘disaster’ weather), very affordable, vibrant, year-round swimming, lots of activities. Anyone know of that place?

    by Ginger — February 28, 2013

  28. Ginger, I’m looking for the same place! I’ll let you know if I find anything. I’m currently investigating Carson City, NV, and Vancouver, WA. Since I live in Southern CA now, I think that Washington State will have too much rain for my liking.

    by Maggie — March 1, 2013

  29. I cannot agree with you on the YMCA cost. I have yet to see one (at least in NE Ohio) that is cheaper then a for profit gym.

    by NW — March 11, 2013

  30. I think the YMCA prices are outrageous – at least where I live. If you are a Seasoned Citizen (Senior) and qualify for Silver Sneakers you can join free and check other private gyms in the area that offer Silver Sneakers Free. I belong to both. My local gym that is closer than the Y is Get Fitness.

    Hey we “Seasoned Citizens” must be good stewards of our income – at least my wife and I must.

    Move them bones and muscles.

    Robert

    by Robert — March 12, 2013

  31. Oops! Forgot – Walking is Free and one of the best.

    by Robert — March 12, 2013

  32. Maggie. Washington State is really two different, even three if you consider the Spokane area as the third. When you say wet, for Washington state, that is the west side of the mountains. The Eastern side is not wet at all. Vancouver, WA, on the other hand, is very wet. The very reason my husband left Vancouver to settle in the Yakima Valley. Yakima has four seasons and lately winters havebeen mild. However, January especially, can be very dark, as in cloud cover most days. Spokane is also considered eastside, but it has much more winter weather than the Yakima valley. You’ll find living expenses are much less in the Yakima valley. Housing is less than the west side, or Vancouver, but housing is much less, if you can believe Zillow and Trulia, in Arizona and Nevada. My problem with those states is the water. I love to have lots of flowers and green grass, but in Arizona and Nevada I am afraid that would be confined to a few potted plants and little or no grass. For now, we are staying in the Yakima Valley. oops..just remembered this thread is for amenities. So… many golf courses though no real golf retirement communities here. We do have a very nice YMCA and a nice walking path along the river. We are also close to skiing and many birders love our valley. And of course, there is the wine country in the lower valley.

    by Angela — March 13, 2013

  33. Maggie…I have spent time in both Carson City and Vancouver, WA. Yes, Vancouver WA will get lots of rain, and ice storms in the winter. It is just north of Portland and Portland is a great town as far as activities, etc. But the winters are gray and cold. Carson City is a place I have considered as well. No state tax in NV, mild winters in Carson City. But it might be a little pricey.

    by Ginger — March 14, 2013

  34. Here is a link to an article on Carson City. I guess I won’t be able to consider due to the elevation (I have COPD). I had forgotten about that!
    http://www.greatretirementspots.com/short-profiles-carson-city-nevada.htm

    by ginger — March 15, 2013

  35. I haved lived in Carson City for over 30 plus years, if you like to live indoors most of your life here, unless you ski, the winters are very cold and long. Yes the sun does shine year around, but when the wind comes down off the mountian with snow, hope your wearing a wood or down coat. Remember as we age our skin gets thin, bones hurt as do other body parts, in the cold. We will be moving the summer of 2014, for someplace we can enjoy warm outdoor activity year around. And yes it is harder to breath at this e;evation as you get older, also alot of people have allergies here.

    by CB — March 15, 2013

  36. I agree with your list but one point I feel needs to be emphasized is that a city center is needed. It could be a downtown but doesn’t have to be, I lived in one town where a shopping center which was primarily made up of locally owned shops served that purpose, including a food mall that had locally owned restaurants that had food from probably 15 different countries. The middle of the mall had tables set up for games such as chess, etc. It drew people out of their homes in the evening to a community of people of all ages and backgrounds. I had to move away for personal reasons, and now live in a suburb where at the end of the day everyone retreats to their homes. There really is very little life beyond TV for many people here, and I’m looking forward to when I’ll be in a position to leave. For my money, this is no way to live.

    by LFremont — May 15, 2013

  37. LFremont, I’m curious as to where you lived before. I’m looking for a city center type of living. We’re trying not to use our car for everything, walking is best for us.

    if anyone knows of a town or small city that has most amenities to walk to, please let me know.

    I live in Vegas now and love it. The weather is great and it is cheap, cheap, cheap. My problem is I really need a proper town/city to walk around.

    by Elaine — June 9, 2013

  38. Elaine, I lived in the Seattle area. It has a very eclectic culture that just draws people out of their homes. Problem is, it has grown and, like many West Coast cities, has become very expensive. Maybe not as expensive as some areas in California but it is up there. One figure I saw was that the cost of living was about half-again higher than the US average.

    by LFremont — June 10, 2013

  39. We live in Prineville, OR. we can walk to a grocery store,pharmacy,several restrants,brokerage office,city hall,police station museum and etc. We have an electric golf cart (no license/insurance required) and with it can get to more restrants,library and the new hospitial under construction. Look at small comunities with bus service to there larger neighbors.

    by Mel Bony — June 10, 2013

  40. LFremont – Did you exit the NW entirely? Would not Bellingham, Blaine, Port Townsend, Port Angeles, Sequim, Vancouver (WA) or Spokane have been suitable? Asking since WA/OR/ID remain distinct possibilities for us.

    Mel Bony – Had to open another window and map search Prineville. Interesting, but may be too far from larger city (for airport hub, cruise port, large hospitals/VA Centers). Have you lived there all your life? If not, why did you choose to move there … and most importantly, why did you decide to stay?

    by Mad Monk — June 11, 2013

  41. Mad Monk,

    I had to leave the NW for personal reasons but hope to return in the future if I can work things out. All of those towns you mentioned are nice towns if you like the outdoors, and I do. The towns are really different in significant ways though. For example Port Angeles is a relatively small town out on the Olympic peninsula, right next to the Olympic National Park but, it is really removed from Seattle, including its medical facilities.

    by LFremont — June 12, 2013

  42. MAD MONK , Years ago we bought a mobile home park her and when it sold we stayed. WHY ? It is not a big city ! Air transport is at Redmond 29 minutes away , a good medical group here ( I can see my Dr. tomorow or if necessary today) with major medical at Bend (I know,I was in an accident and got airlifted. A new hospital is under construction. We DO NOT want in a big city environment but at our age it is some times necessary. We will probably stay her till we croak. It didn’t hurt that after my accident we were able to by a 3 bdrm ,2 bath on a large lot with down town access via wheelchair if necessary for less than $100,000. The average age of Prineville is increasing maybe that says something. I hope we DO NOT get a bunch of people who want to make a big city out of Prineville!! If that is so what you want please go some where else and not come here and try to convert Prineville. Mel

    by Mel — June 13, 2013

  43. A interesting article about a development trying to add on a senior section. I wonder if other communities may consider something like.
    http://news.fredericksburg.com/newsdesk/2013/06/15/low-ponders-senior-housing-add-on/

    by Elaine — June 15, 2013

  44. Elaine, there are other communities that have integrated an active-adult community within a larger community. Three examples: The Falls at Eagle Crest is integrated into The Ridge at Eagle Crest in Redmond, Oregon (near Bend, OR). Del Webb Ponte Vedra is located within the newer master-planned community of Nocatee (in Ponte Vedra, close to Jacksonville, FL). Cascades is an active-adult community within World Golf Village in St. Augustine, Florida.

    (I am not a realtor – just an author who writes about this stuff….)

    Jan Cullinane, author, The Single Woman’s Guide to Retirement

    by Jan Cullinane — June 16, 2013

  45. Jan, thanks for your input! In theory, I should like this type of community, but who knows how it will be in person. But I am sure that is true of all locations and why we need to visit. I do find the list useful for narrowing things down. Does anyone have personal experience with these or similar communities?

    by Elaine — June 17, 2013

  46. Jan – Just bought your book. I’m not usually a fan of “how to” books, but yours is definitely useful. I’m learning a lot.

    My biggest irritation with research into new retirement communities is the “markup” factor. I see ads for places that start at X, but then every home has $100,000 or more in so-called options. Or the community center has loads of activities, but there are lots of hidden fees. (Saw one this weekend that has rules that lets grandkids in the pool only from 11-12 am and 4-5 pm). I heard horror stories about bullying from a resident of one community. I’m a few years away from retirement, which is a good thing since this is so stressful.

    by Sharon — June 18, 2013

  47. Hi Sharon,

    Thanks for your nice comment about the book.

    Very smart to look into all those things you mentioned – such as hidden costs and friendliness of the community. If you can do a “Discovery Weekend” – often offered by large, newer communities (different communities have different names for this exploratory visit) – taking advantage of one can give you an opportunity to talk to a lot of residents to get answers to your questions.

    by Jan Cullinane — June 19, 2013

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