Retirement living in theme-based communities

5 min read
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First there were communities built around golf courses. Then came those with university ties. Now, retirement havens catering to a variety of interests and lifestyles are proliferating.

“A niche or affinity retirement community is one where residents share a common interest, religion or identity,” says Tom Wetzel, president of Retirement Living Information Center in Redding, Connecticut. “The link may revolve around shared ethnicity, sexual orientation, former occupation or hobby.”

Wetzel sees niche communities as one of a number of grass-roots alternatives the boomer generation is taking for retirement living.

“This is a generation that has always marched to a different drummer,” he says. “It’s important that people have a choice about how they live out their old age, and that they don’t have to do it alone or in a nursing home.”

Following are six theme-based communities for retirees, from age-restricted housing offering a full array of senior services to more inclusive neighborhoods that attract large numbers of seniors eager to embrace the lifestyle they offer.