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What is an Active Adult Community?

Nicole Madison
Updated May 16, 2024
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An active adult community is targeted towards people of 55 years of age or older. Often described as a viable alternative to single-family ownership, these communities provide residents with maintenance-free living, close proximity to desirable attractions, and a range of on-site activities and amenities. Each is designed differently and may include single-family homes, condominiums, town homes, multi-family dwellings, or manufactured housing units.

This type of community is designed to offer older adults the chance to enjoy independent, active lifestyles, while providing easy access to a range of social, recreational, and educational pursuits. Many offer everything from crafts and movie screenings to tennis and golf. Often, such communities offer designated dining areas and clubhouses as well. In an active adult community, daily living and medical needs are generally not covered. Residents are responsible for seeing to their own dietary, medical, and laundry requirements.

There are two basic types of active adult communities: age-restricted and age-targeted. In the United States, rules created by the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) govern age-restricted communities. These rules require at least 80% of the households include an individual who is 55 years of age or older. Individuals under the age of 55 may live there, but permanent residents must be 19 or older.

An age-targeted community is very much like an age-restricted community, but they simply aim their marketing materials at individuals who are 55 or older rather than specifically require residents to be of a certain age. These communities make use of carefully structured marketing campaigns to attracted older individuals without minor children, instead of young singles or families. While it is true that children are typically not residents of such communities, they are not unwelcome. Many residents have grandchildren visit on a frequent basis.

A popular type of active adult community is the leisure or resort-style community. Here, residents can expect to experience resort-style living, complete with pools, golf courses, entertainment, tennis, fitness clubs and more. Some resort-style communities even offer business centers and grand ballrooms.

WiseGeek is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Nicole Madison
By Nicole Madison
Nicole Madison's love for learning inspires her work as a WiseGeek writer, where she focuses on topics like homeschooling, parenting, health, science, and business. Her passion for knowledge is evident in the well-researched and informative articles she authors. As a mother of four, Nicole balances work with quality family time activities such as reading, camping, and beach trips.

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Discussion Comments
By anon37678 — On Jul 21, 2009

If you live in a 55 plus home with someone older and you get pregnant, are you forced to move right away?

By DonnaRe4 — On Jun 15, 2008

If you move into the community, age restricted, and the person in the family who is over 55 years old should pass away, will I be thrown out? We are planning to do this and fear someday losing the home if my father should pass.

Nicole Madison
Nicole Madison
Nicole Madison's love for learning inspires her work as a WiseGeek writer, where she focuses on topics like...
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