Are retirement communities worth the cost?

As we age, we begin to need more and more help with the tasks we have always done on our own. At the same time, we may find ourselves a little isolated when children leave the house and we lose touch with old friends. Retirement communities are a way to get the help you need while still having plenty of opportunities to socialize with your neighbors.

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Typically, these are communities aged 55 and over that will let you live in a common environment, such as an apartment or condominium. These communities allow you to scale your lifestyle, and in some cases, the costs may be lower.

But the decision to move to a retirement community is not necessarily child’s play. Like most life decisions, there are pros and cons and there are costs to consider as well. Make sure you keep all of these things in mind before deciding what to do.


While cost isn’t the only consideration when moving to a retirement community, it’s often one of the first things that come to mind. Staying in a retirement community can be affordable, but it can also be expensive. The cost can vary widely based on factors such as the type of community and its location.

Costs in retirement communities may be lower than in other housing systems, but it depends on the type of community. For example, luxury retirement communities are typically more expensive than your typical community. If you need to live in an assisted living facility, it will probably cost more than an independent living community.

Where you live can also make a big difference. Retirement communities are on average much cheaper in states like South Dakota and Minnesota than in states like Maryland and Massachusetts. This is according to data from The national average monthly cost is $ 2,432 based on that data.

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There is still a lot to think about in terms of costs. Retirement communities may have HOA fees, and some have one-time moving fees. Make sure you are aware of all fees in advance.

Finally, if you are enrolled in Medicaid, you may be able to cover some of the costs. However, not all types of properties are covered in all states and restrictions apply. Check with your state to find out what is covered.


Retirement communities can have a variety of services, depending on the type of community. There are over 55 retirement communities, assisted living facilities, nursing homes, senior co-housing communities and more.

However, some of the services you may find in your retirement community include:

  • Art courses
  • Fitness courses
  • Basketball, volleyball, etc.
  • Swimming pools
  • Fitness Centers
  • Golf courses
  • Dog parks

These are a few examples, but there are countless services that can be included. Of course, retirement communities with a higher monthly cost will tend to have a wider range of services.

Socializing with neighbors

One of the biggest benefits of living in a retirement community is the opportunity to get to know your neighbors. Moving to the next stages in life can be difficult, especially if you are naturally outgoing. You may have lost most of the social circles you once had, and if you have children, they may have drifted apart, leaving your home empty.

Fortunately, retirement communities often offer ample opportunities to socialize with neighbors. “From a community perspective, look at what events, meetings and services they have that bring people together,” says Jay Zigmont, founder of Childfree Wealth. “Some communities offer joint meals, entertainment and more,” Zigmont says.

Zigmont also said these opportunities are great if you’re a people person, but not everyone fits that pattern. “If you’re more of an introvert and won’t participate, the community may not add value (and may actually take away what you want),” she said.

Safety and security

Safety is a concern no matter your age. The good news is that retirement communities are often set up to make them safe. For example, they can be gated and only allow approved guests to enter the premises. Compared to living in a neighborhood, you can generally feel safer with this setup.

Medical care

Taking care of medical needs can be a boon or a drawback for retirement communities, depending on what it offers and the extent of your needs. As with other types of services, there are different levels of care for different types of facilities. For example, assisted living facilities and nursing homes offer day-to-day care to those in need.

Other types of facilities may not have medical staff on site, but may provide transportation to nearby medical facilities. Typically, you will pay more for more extensive care. Therefore, although some types of seniors’ communities may not offer the level of care you need, the costs in such communities may also be lower.

pros and cons

We’ve looked at some of the pros and cons of retirement communities. Here’s a quick look at the pros and cons:


  • The cost of living can be lower than living alone
  • Some offer extensive services
  • It allows you to socialize with neighbors
  • It can be very safe
  • Some have medical personnel on site


  • There can be unexpected costs, such as an HOA
  • Lack of age diversity
  • Homes can be smaller than single family homes

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This article originally appeared on Are Retirement Communities Worth the Cost?

The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.

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