When looking for a retirement destination, you may come across many communities which offer an active adult lifestyle. But what does an active adult lifestyle really mean? If you ask ten different people to describe active adult living, you may very well end up with ten different answers. This is because an active adult lifestyle means something different to everyone. Yet there are a few key elements you may expect to hear in most descriptions.

An active adult lifestyle may include several features. Generally, these elements include community amenities, recreational activities, social clubs, varied classes, and other structured events. An active adult lifestyle may also refer to low-maintenance living, which might include lawn and landscaping services, snow removal, and exterior home maintenance. These services free up a resident’s time to enjoy other interests.


Communities which offer an active adult lifestyle often include amenities for individuals and social groups. As an individual resident, you may choose to work out in the fitness center on your own, spend some practice time on a putting green, go for a swim, make use of a community art studio or attend a lecture. When you feel like socializing, you may prefer to join a special-interest club, take a group class, attend a pot-luck dinner, or enjoy some friendly competition with a game of billiards, tennis, or cards.

Social Activities

Although active adult communities often provide a social calendar with planned events, residents can take part in as many or as few activities as they would like. An active adult lifestyle can be easily tailored around your own interests. Many communities have an Activities Director who manages the social calendar and can help you find appealing activities. When comparing active adult communities, you may find that different types of communities lend themselves to different lifestyles.

Small Communities

A smaller community may provide more of a small-town, neighborly feel. There may be less variety when it comes to available activities and clubs, and residents may be reliant on self-organization to create community events. If the community is in a more urban or tourist-driven area, residents may also spend more time enjoying off-site attractions, either on their own or as part of a group day trip.

Large Communities

Larger communities tend to be more self-contained, providing recreations, social events, restaurants, and other services. Some may even feature their own retail centers, medical facilities, and places of worship. This environment offers more diversity for tailoring your own active adult lifestyle. However, because there is so much available on-site, residents may spend less time exploring off-site attractions and activities.

Rural Settings

In rural settings, there may also be little to do outside of the community. In either setting, the allure of an active adult community is living among peers who share common interests. Community is a key aspect of an active adult lifestyle. A close-knit community offers support in times of trouble, celebration during joyous moments and companionship in the day-to-day.

There is no right way to create an active adult lifestyle. When comparing potential retirement destinations, look for the amenities and features which appeal to you. Remember, the way you define an active adult lifestyle is entirely up to you.

Written by
Edward Welsh