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Are Grandchildren Allowed in 55+ Housing? Yes, But …

When senior housing was “invented,” the goal was to create an apartment or condo community specifically designed to meet the needs and lifestyles of seniors — by restricting residents to those age 55 and over. But that doesn’t apply to grandchildren, right? Well, probably not … as long as they don’t overstay their welcome!

grandchildren

Most people move to senior communities for a couple of reasons. They’re often looking for a place with other people their age, as a way to meet new friends. And they’re typically going for a quieter environment, free from the noise and late-night comings and goings of neighbors in “regular” apartment buildings. That’s probably why many senior complexes have waiting lists. (So be sure to get your name in early, if that’s the case in your community).

But no matter how much they enjoy senior living, many older adults still want to spend lots of time with their grandchildren. So that brings us to the big question: Are grandkids allowed in 55+ housing? The short answer is yes, but generally for visiting only. Grandchildren living in 55+ housing is a different matter.

Under the Housing for Older Persons Act (HOPA), no one under the age of 62 can live in a 62+ community. And while there is a little more legal wiggle room within the 80/20 rule in 55+ communities, property managers can make their own rules, prohibiting anyone under 55 from living there, full-time or temporarily. (Read more about who can live in 55+ housing here.)

Grandkids Living vs. Visiting in 55+ Housing

grandkids

Fortunately, visits by grandkids tend to fall under a more relaxed policy. While I was working as a property manager of a 55+ senior housing complex, there was nothing in our lease addressing the age of visitors. So we went with the time-honored concept of common sense. The only problem, of course, is that common sense is open to interpretation. And when talking about grandchildren, I discovered that people are much more apt to assume/desire/demand leniency when it comes to their own. Grandkids in the apartment next door, the unit above them, or the common areas are sometimes a different story entirely.

For the most part, grandchildren don’t seem to pose much of a problem. When one resident asked permission for her granddaughter to spend the summer with her while completing a college internship, we allowed it. As it turned out, there were no complaints — and most residents never even saw the young woman.

But what about younger grandkids — and babies? Well, most people would agree that occasional visits and even babysitting are generally fine. But what about residents who take care of their grandchildren daily? Running in the halls, attending events, swimming in the pool? Sleeping babies at coffee hour are adorable. Crying babies in the apartment next door? Not so much.

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Since HOPA doesn’t provide any specific guidelines or restrictions regarding those under the age of 18 from visiting grandparents (or other residents) in a 55+ community, the decision is essentially up to the management or landlord. It all boils down to the wording of your lease, and again, a little common sense.

Different Rules at Different 55+ Communities

One manager of a 55+ community in Madison, Wisconsin, said the community’s lease restricts overnight visitors to no more than 14 days in a row and 45 days per year. He said most of the residents love grandkids and don’t mind seeing them around the building at all. Daily babysitting onsite would have to be handled on an individual basis, he said, depending on how it went. Are the kids loud or bothering people? Are there any complaints? “We like kids,” he said, “but I have to take care of my residents first.”

Miles away in sunny Florida, another property manager took it one step further. These independent living apartments, while restricted to seniors 55+,  have no visitor regulations. “This is their home,” she stressed. “They can do whatever they want here.” And that includes spending quality time with the grandkids, whether it’s in their own apartment or at the pool.

family

So if you’re looking to move to senior housing, it seems like visiting grandkids are welcome most everywhere. But with no laws in place, it’s probably a good idea to ask about a community’s rules before you make the move!

Related post:

Can Someone Under 55 Live in 55+ Housing?

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  • Sue Sveum

    About :

    After helping her own parents as they aged, Sue began working with other seniors, and now shares what she learned in her blogs for seniors and their families. She currently writes about seniors and healthcare for several websites but her past includes diverse topics ranging from dogs to weddings to ghosts. She lives in Madison, Wisconsin with her husband and Golden retriever, Wrigley.

    Comments

    1. Lizeth Fallon says:

      I think children should be allowed in senior housing for a few hours at least. Playing with children can bring happiness and brighten the moods of the residents. The reason senior homes should allow residents to meet their grandchildren every once in a week. Thanks for sharing such an amazing blog.

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