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Why Live in a 55+ Apartment vs. an All-Ages Apartment

If you’re reaching retirement age and looking to downsize your home, you might consider an apartment that will not only suit your needs but your budget as well. For older adults, that typically comes down to two options: a 55+ apartment or an all-ages apartment.

senior couple with boxes, for article on 55+ apartment vs all-ages apartment

It’s moving time. What’s your choice: a 55+ apartment or all ages?

But what are the differences between a 55+ apartment and one where anyone can live? What are the qualifications for residents? Each senior apartment community has different policies and features, but we’ll answer these questions in general below.

While both a “senior” apartment and a “regular” apartment may have many amenities you want, a senior apartment has more benefits and features that cater to people your age. And, of course, more of your neighbors will be around your age.

55+ Apartment Features and Amenities

senior man beside swimming pool

55+ apartment complexes often have swimming pools and fitness centers.

Senior apartments are age-restricted to people typically 55 years old and older. Some may be restricted to 62 years old and older. [Read more about how those age restrictions work.]

These apartments might be referred to numerous ways: as senior apartments, 55+ apartments, 62+ apartments, age-restricted apartments, or active adult apartments.

Although there are luxury senior apartments with higher price tags, most senior apartments are at market rates or below. Some others are specifically deemed low-income or affordable.

Senior apartments are built for older adults and offer senior-friendly conveniences and amenities. They usually offer one- and two-bedroom options and, occasionally, studios. Three-bedroom options aren’t as often available in 55+ and 62+ apartments communities, but they do exist.

Senior apartments often are located near bus or public transportation lines and near medical centers. Some offer transportation services.

While their features differ between locations, 55+ apartment communities often include or emphasize the following:

  • Fitness centers
  • Swimming pools
  • Walking paths
  • Walk-in and lighted closets
  • Step-in showers
  • In-unit washers and dryers or community laundry facilities
  • Elevators
  • Emergency call systems
  • Gated or controlled access
  • Computer rooms and libraries
  • Social areas and game rooms
  • Arts and crafts rooms
  • Planned activities
  • Salons and barber shops

 

Note, however, that senior apartments are not the same as independent living communities, though they have many common features and amenities. The biggest differences are that independent living communities generally include meals and housekeeping as part of your rent.

Advantages of Living in a 55+ Apartment

happy senior couples

You’ll be living with more people in your age bracket in a 55+ apartment complex.

Senior apartments offer many benefits over all-ages apartments. The biggest advantage is that you will live primarily with others in your age range. To qualify as 55+ housing and be able to prohibit children under 18, an apartment complex must restrict at least 80 percent of its units for households with at least one person over age 55.

So, if you live in a senior apartment, you won’t have to worry about young children running around, and you shouldn’t have to deal with young adults throwing loud parties. (Don’t worry. Your grandchildren will still be able to come visit. The apartment complex, however, may have a rule on how long they can stay.)

Other benefits on senior apartments include:

  • Planned activities: Senior apartments often have daily, weekly, and monthly scheduled activities for residents. These can include arts and crafts, board games, movie nights, exercise classes, and card game parties. These allow you to meet and spend time with your neighbors.
  • Security: Many senior apartments have gone above and beyond by adding extra security measures such as cameras and emergency alert systems. Some also have security-patrolled grounds and even security guards posted at entry ways.

Costs and Qualifications for 55+ Apartments

The cost to rent a senior apartment varies. There are, however, three pricing categories of senior apartments available:

  • Affordable: Based on the local cost of living, renters in these low-income senior apartments pay about 30 percent of their income for rent and utilities. Local, state, and federal laws also determine pricing.
  • Market rate: These senior apartments are offered at competitive rates, usually at or slightly below the cost of local all-age apartments.
  • Luxury: These high-end senior apartments can sometimes be used as a second residence and often are located near cultural activities.

As for qualifications, you typically need to be at least 55 years old, as noted above. Also, you must meet other criteria such as a credit check and being able to pay your rent each month.

Find a 55+ Community Near You

You’ll find age-restricted 55+ and 62+ communities in cities across the United States on After55.com. Just look for the 55+ Communities under Senior Housing Options. The following cities are some of the most popular for 55+ communities on After55.com.

 

Related posts:

Can Someone Under 55 Live in 55+ Housing?

How to Find Low-Income Senior Housing

Luxury Retirement Communities: What to Expect, What You’ll Pay

What Are Your Senior Living Questions?

Ask After55 is a monthly feature of After55.com by correspondent Mary Beth Adomaitis. Submit your questions for consideration in one of two ways:

– Comment below on this article. (Your question will be displayed publicly, so we suggest that you don’t include personally identifying information.)

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  • Mary Beth Adomaitis

    About Mary Beth Adomaitis:

    Mary Beth Adomaitis a freelance writer living in Southern California. She has written about senior topics for several senior living websites. She also has a blog, Unwrinkled Hearts, which was started after her mother-in-law passed away in 2015. It focuses on elderly living in the 21st century. Mary Beth has been a writer/journalist for more than 25 years, lending her talents to companies such as The Los Angeles Times, where she also served as a copy editor and graphic designer.

    Comments

    1. penny brown says:

      we live in fl. and we are looking for 2-1bd or 1-2bd-bt. I have sec8. I hope that is exceptable.

    2. Sharon Stoots says:

      I’m looking for an independent apartment and am 55. Although, in checking the income for 1 person is $27,000. I also can’t afford $1000 or more. I don’t need my meals prepared or housekeeping. I appreciate any advice you may provide

      • Hello, Sharon. You might just want to look at senior apartments. They are 55+ but don’t offer additional services like independent living communities do.

        On After55.com, just locate the city or metro area that interests you and refine your search for “apartments.”

        – Mark, After55.com

    3. L. Louise Newhart says:

      What is considered low income? Can a senior who’s social security income is slightly above what is considered low income, where and how can they get affordable housing?. Hypothetically a person living with their family but would like to be independent but can’t afford much, can they get help with additional support?

    4. Randall F says:

      Hi, Mary Beth. I have a question.
      I’m considering a move to the Tampa/St. Pete area. I am on SS Disability, and suffer from chronic back pain. I can do most things, but heavy lifting is not one of them. That’s something my son helps me with, and I was wondering if my soon-to-be 19-yr old son would be permitted to live with me?

    5. Deborah Felix says:

      We are on our sixties & are currently in chapter 13 but our home & car are not included & pay our bills on time we are selling our home & need to downside my brother said that he would be my cosigner if needed .Thank you Mr & Mrs F

    6. Cindy Budd says:

      Looking for 2-3 bedroom 55+ (I’m age 59). I live in Overland Park, KS & need to move by 9/517.

    7. Steve lindsey says:

      Why are HOA so high?

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