Negatives of Active Adult Communities

I had written about the positives of Active Adult Communities and sometimes it looks like it is all positives. So for the last few months I have been asking people, especially people who live in Active Adult Communities, what are the negatives.

I had written about the positives of Active Adult Communities and sometimes it looks like it is all positives.  (just scroll down to the bottom of this page for a list of posts about positives) So for the last few months I have been asking people, especially people who live in Active Adult Communities, what are the negatives.

A recent 15 day cruise gave us a lot of time to talk with wonderful people we met that live in Active Adult Communities in California and Arizona. These were mostly Del Webb Communities. They could talk for hours about the positives. When we finally asked them about the negatives, it took them a long time to come up with anything.  That is a good sign!

1. Number one complain was the Homeowners Association.  The HOA were too restrictive, or too noisy, too petty. I know in any subdivision that has a HOA they came become like little dictatorships and really piss people off. When you add all the additional restrictions an age qualified community must have, then all the more to deal with. Also mentioned was neighbors reporting neighbors for violations. Even some taking to doing their own inspections vigilante style.

2. Several residents of the communities originally built by Del Webb in CA and AZ felt the new homes built in their communities after Del Webb sold out to Pulte were not up the the same standards of quality.

The following comments were related to us from a third part.

3. One 50ish couple from Atlanta didn’t like the Hilton Head Active Adult Community they bought in, so decided to sell and move back to Atlanta. They felt the residents were too old for them.  Be sure to find out the average age in the community, it does make a difference to some. Older developments tend to have older residents, which, for many youth-seeking boomers, might just be a deal breaker.

4. A couple of people did not like The Villages in Central Florida. It may be been too large for them. Plus they may have heard the rumors of all the sex parties!

There is always the stories of people moving across the country to live in a new community but later deciding they wanted to move back to be close to their long time friends and relatives.  I don’t think that is a negative of the community itself.

Some people that have never lived in an Active Adult Community say they would not live in this type community because all the residents would be older and they like the diversity.  I don’t take that as a negative of the community, just one person’s view. The next person may think it is wonderful opportunity to meet new friends and socialize during the day with people who don’t have to be at work.

Now living in a Del Webb Community for over 3 years, I would say the gossip turns me off.  That is unique only because there are some many social gathering which can be fertile grounds.

Many of the larger Active Adult Communities are located in small towns on the edges of large metro areas and may not have all the nice restaurants you are used to or the upscale specialty grocery stores like Whole Foods, The Fresh Market or a Trader Joe’s.

As you may know by now, I think there are way more positives than negatives of Active Adult Community living.  Most people say they wish they wished they had moved in sooner.



Lessons Learned From My Stay At The Villages Florida

Lessons Learned From My Visit To The Villages Florida

I made a mistake of calling The Villages in Florida a small town, according to one of my social media friends.  He said “Obviously you have not been there!”  Well I took this under advisement and booked a weeks stay at Lake Sumter Landing in the heart of The Villages. He was right, The Villages is a large place with 120,000 residents and 60,000 golf carts, three town squares, probably 15+ recreational centers and much more.

I had been hearing for years how much residents loved living in The Villages and I have to agree they have an attractive and somewhat unique idea. So returning from my trip I began thinking of what makes The Villages so unique. What ideas could be learned so other 55+ communities and small towns could benefit from what The Villages is doing.

Here are two ideas that struck me as unique that The Villages is doing and that might be a good idea in other places too.

1. They simply call their senior centers “recreation centers“. I like that. Everyone knows many people don’t like the name “senior” so senior centers started called themselves “adult centers” and other such names.  They are really only recreation centers.  Why not call them 55+ Recreational Centers or whatever minimum age fits.

2. The Villages are open to anyone to visit, eat, shop and use. Their three town squares have all kinds of events like the Arts and Crafts show and the Classic Car show when I visited. Families and persons of all ages were enjoying the town squares. Now the “villages” as they call the residential communities do have a security gate but the rest of The Villages is wide open. I like that.

I think towns could benefit from idea 1 above and just call their senior center “55+ Recreation Center”. I also think 55+ communities and small towns could benefit from more of a collaboration in joining the 55+ Community or even several 55+ Communities around a rejuvenated town square with shopping, activities, entertainment, outdoor spaces and the like. It would benefit the town and the community, which really are one and the same.

I still think, even after my visit, The Villages have a small town feeling.

Even though in total they are quite large, the three town squares certainly gave me the feeling of a small town. People greeted, acknowledged and spoke with others like they do in a small town.  Like a small town, people were relaxed and not in a big rush. The recreation centers are close by to each residential community so you are likely to meet your neighbors there. Yes, I think I still consider The Villages a small town.

Robert and Mary Ann Fowler

Florida 55+ homes for rent



Observations About Moving To A Small Town

I moved to a retirement community out on the far edge of the metro area, away from the suburbs where my wife and I had lived for 36 years.  I knew life would be different and here are some of my observations about things I noticed are different. I am happy to report that we are loving it!

  1. Less traffic. It’s so funny because we used chuckle when people complained about our traffic, thinking they just were not used to city living.  Now we say the same thing and have enjoyed getting away from the awful traffic!
  2. People are friendly.  Out in public the people you encounter at the park, in restaurants, and the workers nearly everywhere, overall are just more relaxed and friendly and considerate. People seem to show their personality more.
  3. There are plenty of places to eat out and buy stuff.  Restaurants are less crowded so you don’t get the mad lunch hour rush as much. With a major mall only 15 minutes away, that is close enough.  A Publix and a Kroger a mile away. Haven’t found anything that I missed so far except maybe a Whole Foods or Fresh Market. Oh, my Amazon Prime works just great with two day deliveries.
  4. More scenic countryside.  I love driving out our back community gate, passing barns and farm houses and a lamas farm!
  5. More places to walk. Our subdivision has plenty of nice wide sidewalks.  Out on the main street there are wide sidewalks. The high school track is open after hours for anyone to walk! (not so in the suburbs where they lock the gate) Several parks and even a rec center with an indoor track.
  6. Your vote counts.  The just had an election for school board president and someone won by 8 votes!
  7. Community fairs and events.  People really turn out and support the community events.  Be it a 5k run, arts and crafts fair, or Christmas parade, people come together for these events.
  8. Medical services close by.  My dentist is 5 minutes away.  I visited the orthopedic doctor yesterday at the medical building next door and got there in 5 minutes or less.

I haven’t noticed anything that I miss from my old community of 21 years, except some friends that I don’t see as often. There was a risk in moving out to a more rural area but that has now been officially resolved!

I like living in a small town!



Anticipating a Move to a Small Town

Anticipating a Move to a Small Town

After having lived in an urbanized suburb of Atlanta for 40 years, this is the year I will be moving out to a Del Webb community Atlanta in a small town. Granted it is on outskirts of the metro area, about 15 minutes from a major mall and commercial district, but it will still be plenty different from my current location.

There are groceries stores, UPS store, some restaurants, liquor stores, banks and others around my new community. A biggie is a brand new 100 bed hospital at the entrance to my new community. That is actually closer than my current hospitals.

What is also closer is recreation amenities right in the community, plenty of sidewalks and trails for walking.  There are daily activities, a gym and indoor and outdoor pools at the clubhouse which is within walking distance from my new home.

Our current friends will be about 45 minutes to an hour from our new community so we can still stay in touch and meet for lunch.  At the new community there will be plenty of opportunities to meet new friends who will live in the same community and be available during the week, not just the weekends.

After a month or so at the new community I will have to do a post with my observations about how living in an active adult community in a small town is different from what I am used to.

We are thinking all the community offers will more than make up for any dislocations of living in a small town.  Part of what scares people moving from a metro area to a small town is the people – will they be accepting and what kinds of cultural changes will be faced. Most of that concern will be alleviated by moving to an active adult community with almost two thousand residents coming from all over the country and the world.

Of course my old friend the Internet will be with me. There is high speed Comcast cable and the cell phone reception is reportedly good for several carriers. Small towns these days have very good broadband and cell phone coverage

So this year will be an interesting one for us as we take life by the horns and transition to a new life in an retirement community. We have waited long enough and at age 67 and retired we look forward to making new friends and being active in our new community on a daily basis. We are avid Bocce players and they say we will fit right it. That is the first club we will sign up for, along with coin collectors club, day trippers, travel club and hiking club.  That will be a good start.

As far as the town, exploring the several nearby small towns, visiting the dairy, the winery and maybe the outlet mall up the road will be on the list. The Road Atlanta sports car track is nearby and a group from the community visits the track for several races which I will probably join them. Fort Yargo Park is nearby with over 1800 areas with a 260-acre lake that offers a large swimming beach, fishing and boat ramps.  Maybe it’s time to take up fishing again. I will keep you posted.  -Robert Fowler

Village at Deaton Creek



Are Small Towns Safer?

It is suggested that living in a small town would be safer than living in a city or urban setting. In a small town you would be far removed from city gangs or crime waves. You would probably know and respect your neighbors. You would probably be living a more self sufficient lifestyle, maybe making or growing some of your food.

It is suggested that living in a small town would be safer than living in a city or urban setting.  In a small town you would be far removed from city gangs or crime waves.  You would probably know and respect your neighbors.  You would probably be living a more self sufficient lifestyle, maybe making or growing some of your food.

If things deteriorated in the city, people would start leaving and relocating to small towns or other locations.  That is what is happening in Mexico right now, with the drug cartel crime wave and killings, Mexican citizens are relocating to Texas or Arizona to get away.  Just pulling up stakes and leaving.  The same thing could happen here in the USA.  Where would you go?

Knowing your neighbors and respecting and relying on each other, certainly has it’s benefits if things get tougher. Helping each other out and watching out for each other is more likely to take place in small towns.

Being more self sufficient is a trait most people living in small towns have.  They don’t have all the services and trades available to pick up the phone and have someone come over to do the job.  So they learn to do it themselves.  Many people small town residents have gardens so they can grow their own food.  They are close to farmers where they may be able to purchase fresh produce if transportation to the grocery and cities break down.  Growing a Victory Garden is now “in”.  I have started my Victory Garden with Heirlooms seeds in my Square Foot Garden.  These Square Foot Gardens can be grown just about anywhere, but having a bit of land sure would be nice.

Many people living in small towns have hunted and fished at some point.  Those skills may come in handy.  Just as important is being close to the forest where game live.

Real estate values in small towns could hold their own or maybe even increase as more people look to move out of the cities if this crises escalates.  Some people already are moving to ‘the country” who have lost their jobs and are looking for more affordable housing.

Of coarse as I have written about before, their are other Advantages of Living in a Small Town.

Arizona senior centers  Seattle senior center



Retirement in the North Georgia Mountains

More of my friends are retiring to the North Georgia mountains. See why here

north ga mountain view from deck at Big CanoeWhen it comes time to retire in Georgia, many people just look North to the Georgia Mountains, a short distance from Atlanta.  You are still in your home state and can easily visit the metro Atlanta area to visit friends or attractions.  Also you can get to know the new area where you will be living full time even before your move by making frequent visits to get to know the area.

We have two sets of friends who have done just that.  Tina and David bought a foreclosure in Big Canoe, a wonderful mountain community about one hour north of Atlanta.  David does home renovations so it has been perfect for them to fix it up and even thought they have been working hard on the house for almost a year, I think they really enjoy going up to the mountains and enjoying as well as working.  We went up on July 4th to see the fireworks at their mountain home and fell in love with the place.  They are not planning on moving there full time just yet, but are up there just about every week. There are many 55+ communities in Georgia but most are on the edge of Atlanta and not that far up in North Georgia.

The other couple, our friends Jim and Jean retired to the North Georgia Mountains.  Knowing they would like to move to the North part of the state, Jim got a transfer to the Gainesville office a few years before his retirement date.  This put them in a perfect situation to go ahead and move up to Banks County Georgia, where they built a perfect retirement home with screen porch overlooking a stream on five areas. This worked out so good Jim even delayed his retirement since he almost felt he was retired.  This transition to a new area by relocating his job worked out for the best.

Jim and Jean visit us in Alpharetta or we just meet in Gainesville for dinner, half way for each for us. Really it is not harder to get together with them now than it was when they lived in DeKalb County in the metro Atlanta area.

They both like living in the North GA mountains even though there are some inconveniences.  Jean says the water supply line has broken many times to their home and the head of the water department just keeps making repairs rather than run new lines that are needed.  Jean says he has a “small town mind” about things and just looks at people like them as complaining “wealthy people from Atlanta”, which she says they are not.  However building a barn and getting a horse, chopping your own firewood from your property and just listening to the crickets perform a symphony from your swing on your screened in porch makes in all worth it.

Jim and Jean knew what they wanted and went for it.  I know I and others who envy them.

As an update to this post, Mary Ann and I retired to Northeast Georgia area in Braselton and love living in the Del Webb Over 55 Community there. We are close to Gainesville and Buford.

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