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A retirement community, or active adult community, is a very broad, generic term that covers many varieties of housing for retirees and seniors - especially designed or geared for people who no longer work, or restricted to those over a certain age. It differs from a retirement home which is a single building or small complex where no "common areas" for socializing exist. Many retirement communities are planned for that purpose, and have special facilities catering to the needs and wants of retirees, including extensive amenities like clubhouses, swimming pools, arts and crafts, boating, trails, golf courses, active adult retail and on-site medical facilities. Other facilities have no or very few common amenities. An Age-restricted community generally requires at least one household resident to be 55 plus years of age or older (occasionally 50+ or 60+ years of age). "Naturally Occurring Retirement Communities" (NORCs) can involve low-income residents receiving a richer mix of public services through a NORC model. They might serve people of all income levels who got together to furnish cost-effective transportation services. And there are NORCs for relatively affluent households that may charge $1,000 or even more in annual dues, and support paid and volunteer staffers who provide a rich variety of support services and cultural enrichment activities. NORCs can be very effective mechanisms to identify populations of people who need government-provided services and then provide those services in cost-effective ways[1]. An example would be Beacon Hill Village in Boston [2] provide support and resources for those who do not want to leave their current neighborhoods. Another term may be used for a predominantly senior citizen community, in which residence is unrestricted by age and job affiliation.

There are really three broad categories of retirement communities:[How to reference and link to summary or text]

  • ACTIVE communities (all residential units, no long-term healthcare facilities - also known as "independent living communities"
  • ACTIVE/SUPPORTIVE communities (a combination of residential and healthcare facilities - also known as "continuing care retirement communities" - CCRC)
  • SUPPORTIVE communities (all longterm healthcare units, like assisted living facilities or nursing homes)

Retirement communities are often built in warm climates, and are common in Arizona, California, Florida and Texas but are increasingly being built in and around major cities in cold climates too.

So far 6 U.S. states have created Certified Retirement Community programs with approximately 70 towns and communities included (see list).[3] The obvious purpose of these programs is to encourage economic development - retirement, particularly baby boomer retirement - is very big business. States seek to encourage retirement in their states; keeping existing residents and encouraging out of state residents to move to a new state. Bill Haas of the University of North Carolina's Institute for the Future of Retirement estimates that the economic impact of a retiree household moving to a state is the equivalent of 1.4 factory jobs.[How to reference and link to summary or text]

The six states that have publicized their certification programs are: - Texas[4] - Louisiana[5] - Mississippi[6] - Kentucky[7] - West Virginia[8](West Virginia calls its program a "Designated Retirement Community". -Tennessee has a program that promotes retirement in select communities in that state; the program is called "Retire Tennessee"[9].

A number of publishers have created lists of the 100 best retirement communities or "100 best places (or towns) to retire" [10]. For the most part these lists are helpful in terms of finding desirable communities to live in. One drawback to these lists is that these communities often become more expensive as a result of their popularity.

See also Edit


  1. includeonly>"Retirement Communities Terms", Retirement Community, April 2009. Retrieved on 2009-04-11.
  2. includeonly>"Aging at Home: For a Lucky Few...", New York Times, February 2006. Retrieved on 2008-11-14.
  3. includeonly>"At Last: A List of Certified Retirement Communities", Topretirements, July 2008. Retrieved on 2008-07-18.
  4. (2006). Texas Department of Agriculture - Certified Retirement Community Program. Texas Department of Agriculture. URL accessed on 2008-07-18.
  5. Certified Retirement Community Program (Louisiana). Louisiana Office of the Deputy Governor. URL accessed on 2008-07-18.
  6. (2006). Retirement in Mississippi - Certified Retirement Cities. Visit Mississippi. State of Mississippi. URL accessed on 2007-06-25.
  7. (2006). Dept. for Aging and Independent Living Retirement Communities. Kentucky Cabinet for Health and Family Services. URL accessed on 2008-07-18.
  8. Retire in West Virginia. State of West Virginia. URL accessed on 2007-07-05.
  9. Retire Tennessee. State of Tennessee. URL accessed on 2007-12-21.
  10. includeonly>"100 Best Places to Retire", Topretirements, October 2007. Retrieved on 2007-12-10.

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