August 6 — We are constantly on the lookout for the best places to retire. And it’s fun to write about a place so nice that it gives you the itch to move there.
A more difficult problem emerges when we try to seek out the best active adult communities. Many people want to live in these self-contained worlds (and yes, many won’t go near them too!). But when we get excited about an active adult community that sounds just great – the other shoe drops when we find out where it is. Yep, 9 times out of 10 it is in some little town that no one has ever heard of, way out in the boondocks.
This certainly makes some sense for the developers, because a far out location is where the cheap and available land for development is located. It’s not easy to find enough land for a reasonably-sized development and its amenities close to town – or is it?
The idea of living in a development out in the sticks turns a lot of people off. Surrounded by people just like yourself in a adult version of summer camp, the real world can be a significant drive away.
Elsewhere we read about aging in place. This is by far what most older people want to do – stay in their own cherished homes in their familiar old neighborhoods. A boondocks-type problem occurs for these people too, especially the ones who already live in suburbia. These aging seniors are trapped in the ‘burbs, where there are usually no sidewalks, close-by stores, or doctors – and key resources are a harrowing drive away. The result: loneliness and isolation will be a big and growing problem for many who decide to age in place.
Everyone has to find the kind of retirement lifestyle that’s right for them. For some folks, an active adult community like a Sun City is perfect. Everything they want to do is right there, and there is no need to venture outside. But for many others, that seems like an empty life. If you are one of the latter, we recommend looking at a college town retirement, a city, or a small retirement town with plenty of infrastructure. Our opinion is that smart developers will look to buy or build active adult properties in or immediately adjacent to these types of communities. That way baby boomers can have it both ways, living in an interesting, stimulating community with plenty to do. Walking or biking to activities and to see interesting people instead of driving. For developers, the community scale might have to be smaller, or they might have to build in more transportation resources. But our bet is that these type of accessible communities will have more market appeal as baby boomers start to make their retirement location decisions.
Link: Directory of Active Adult Communities