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!



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



Small Town Livability

Livability is what makes small towns a good place to live and to retire to.

Small Town Sense of Community

Many features makes up what we call livability, but for me it is a sense of community. Big cities and urbanized suburbs have much to offer, but they can’t hold a candle to small towns in offering a sense of community on a personal level. I could give many examples as I have experienced this first hand after moving from a big city urbanized suburbs to a Del Webb Community in a small town two years ago.

I loved living in the suburbs while I was working, but now that I am retired, I like my new small town community and feel a sense of pride in it. Here are reasons we live small town living. Continue reading “Small Town Livability”



Small Towns Are No Longer Small

When you think about small towns you may be thinking remote, off the beaten path with very little things to do. There probably are some small towns today that fit that description perfectly, but many that don’t.

Many small towns these days are located on the outskirts of large metro areas or in resort areas. In these towns you still get the feel of a small town, but with many more resources nearby.

Near these small towns there is probably a large regional shopping mall within easy driving distance. Some excellent gourmet type restaurants are located in small towns.

When I moved to a small town a couple of months ago, I was concerned about how far away I would have to drive for basic things like grocery store, drug store, dry cleaners, restaurants, and retail stores like Kohls or Target.

Google maps has been a wonderful help to me by locating these stores and giving driving directions also. With GPS on my smartphone, all I have to do is say “Pulix” if I want a brand or just “grocery store” for all, into the google search microphone.  My phone says there is a Publix 2.9 miles away and another 3.4 miles and another 5.2 miles away.  I have been to the closet Publix, the “new Publix” as it is called, and it has everything and more than my suburban Publix did before I moved.

There are two Kohls with 5 miles, and three dry cleaners within three miles, and a CVS within 3 miles. There are several independent banks close by but my credit union is about 8 miles away and is the only thing that takes a little driving to make deposits.

The new 100 bed hospital is less than one mile away and that was a major reason we liked this location.  Doctors and hospitals are the one thing you better check on before moving.

Driving to the largest shopping mall in the state only takes 15 minutes but on the way I pass farm houses, a lamas farm, barns, and traffic is light.

By the way, I love my Amazon Prime account with free two day shipping.  I have ordered just about everything I need without making any trips.

However I downsized quite a bit before moving and I am really going to try not to buy too much stuff, a lot of which I would use infrequently.

So small towns are not so small after all.

We moved to a Del Webb Active Adult Community in a small town so we get the bonus of feeling like we live in a cosmopolitan areas with people from all over the country moving here. Plus all the socialization opportunities and activities are right outside my door.

We have 9 miles of hiking trails and I can enter the trail about 100 yards from my front door.  I ordered two walking sticks from Amazon and will be out tomorrow to get them a try.

The suburban community we moved from had no activities, busy neighbors, very little socialization except for our good friends who lived next door and no hiking trails.

I think this was a good move for us.

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