As the baby boomer population ages, more services are being developed to suit their lifestyles. For older adults who don’t yet need assisted-living housing, there are active-adult communities. Some are age-restricted, with homes required to have one resident 55 or older. Others are age-targeted, marketing to those older than 55, but don’t restrict residents by age.
Active-adult communities are designed for people who are still independent and want amenities like tennis courts, movie theaters and neighbors who are of similar status: Many are retired and don’t head off to jobs during the day, says real estate agent Penny Carolan of Carolan Properties in Lincoln. Carolan specializes in properties in the active-adult community Sun City Lincoln Hills and says 28 percent of those at Sun City are employed. She describes these neighborhoods as offering “country-club living,” with golf courses, clubhouses and athletic facilities, but don’t provide assisted-living services, like clean- ing and cooking. “We’ll help and support the people that are aging up. But that’s not our mission. Our mission here is tennis, pickleball, softball,” says Carolan.
It’s set up to keep people like Phil and Kim Hall, 68 and 65, respectively, there for years. The community offers “any activity you want,” says Kim — they use the swimming pools and golf courses, take mahjong classes, belong to a wine group, and attend concerts. “We’ve had people say it’s like living on a cruise ship without the water,” says Kim.
Most people own their homes, which at Sun City run from the high $300,000s to more than $1 million, says Carolan. Owners in active-adult communities pay home- owners association fees, which can vary (the larger the development, the lower the fee because costs are split among more owners). At Sun City, fees are $127 a month, but Carolan has seen them as high as $800 in other communities.
And the average age of people wanting to remain in these communities is trending up. At Sun City, it’s 65-68, up from the early 60s a few years ago. “Sometimes we like to say people like that are just a banana peel away from going to the hospital,” she says. “And that’s when their kids will intervene and say, ‘No, you’re not going back home.’ Those are the ones who leave skid marks — they don’t want to leave.”