8 benefits of moving to a retirement community earlier than you thought you might

It’s a question we hear all the time: What’s the best age to move into senior living? The answer: Maybe sooner than you think!

Many people make the move to a retirement community when they’re in their 70s, but the average move-in age for senior living is trending even earlier. 

Why? For one, today’s retirement communities are tailor-made for seniors living active lives.

They’re designed with great amenities that cater to their residents’ vibrant lifestyles, and for a growing number of seniors, it just makes sense to move in earlier and take advantage of those amenities for as long as possible.

With that in mind, here are eight things that may make senior living worth a closer — and earlier — look.

A lively in-house social scene

Among the biggest perks of life in a retirement community: the friendships you’ll find there.

Two women laugh while standing next to a body of water.

Though you never have to give up the friends you’re close with now, senior living offers up a brand-new network of fascinating neighbors.

Seeing friendly faces every day, whether in the dining room or while checking your mailbox, can be a real mood booster!

Having a great social life can also protect your health: Studies indicate that strong social connections can lower the risk of heart disease, stroke, dementia, depression, and anxiety.

Experiences to explore

Many retirement communities have a full-time staff dedicated to creating a full slate of events and activities — think art classes, lectures, discussion groups and cultural outings — for residents with a variety of interests. You may even discover an unexpected new passion through one of these activities!

These packed community calendars create opportunities to get to know fellow residents better, and they keep life exciting with opportunities to do something different every day. 

“The best retirement experiences offer both structured programming and informal engagement, with common spaces and amenities that give seniors opportunities to live life in ways that are meaningful to them,” said Tony Galvan, Vi’s assistant vice president for Living Well. 

Physical wellness to fit your lifestyle

The term “wellness” means so many things, depending on who you ask — and senior living communities understand that.

Many communities offer ample wellness and fitness amenities: well-equipped fitness centers, swimming pools, golf, and courts for tennis, bocce and even pickleball.

Lifestyle calendars never overlook wellness programming for seniors of all activity levels, from upbeat Zumba classes to gentle chair yoga classes and everything in between. Some even have personal trainers on staff who specialize in functional fitness.

“Research from around the industry and within our communities points to seniors placing a premium on a wellness experience that centers on autonomy, affiliation and achievement,” said Galvan.

Wellness in the form of preventive care often comes standard, too: Some communities offer walk-in clinics with a nurse on staff and various open events for annual vaccinations and more.

Culinary options

Another benefit that may have you rethinking when to move to senior living is access to dining — and fewer meals to prepare yourself!

Of course, you’ll have your own kitchen in your residence, but a retirement community’s dining rooms can act as an extension of your home. They’re a great place to entertain visiting friends and family or just enjoy a made-for-you meal.

A table of diners receives their dinner plates.

Most senior living communities offer a wide variety of foods in their restaurants, including options for seniors with specialized dietary needs, from kosher to low-sodium and even gluten-free.

Plus, in some luxury senior living communities, the culinary programs are so high-quality that they compete with the local restaurant scene — with the added bonus of exclusivity for residents and their guests.

“We change menus every day. No one does that. No restaurants do that,” says Vi at The Glen Executive Chef Jose Luna. “I have 28 entrees I offer to my residents every day, and maybe next week they will be totally different.”

Goodbye, stack of bills

When you move to senior living, you’ll typically pay just one monthly fee for all your everyday services and amenities (with a few exceptions, depending on your community).

  • Your electrical and water bills? Covered.
  • Landscaping and home maintenance? Taken care of.
  • Your gym membership? Included. (Of course, you can also hang on to your country club or pickleball membership if you’d like!)

This is just a sampling of the paperwork and payments you won’t have to worry about in a senior living.

No more chores

Mowing the lawn, washing your linens, shoveling your snow: These tasks are parts of life we just get used to through the years.

But you can kiss them goodbye in senior living. These mundane tasks are handled for you, freeing you up to choose how you spend your days.

A housekeeper smoothes a bedspread.

An instant security upgrade

Every retirement community has a team of full-time employees dedicated to keeping life in retirement breezy and fun. 

But there are plenty of measures in place to ensure residents get to enjoy retirement living without the added worry of safety risks, including gated entrances to fully staffed front desks to manage the flow of visitors.

Worrying less about the safety of your home and belongings is another big benefit of senior living.

Access to inclusive care

If you’re considering when to move to senior living, another factor may be whether you want a plan in place for future care, should you need it.

A unique feature of Continuing Care Retirement Communities (CCRCs) is the offer of a full spectrum of care on the same campus: independent living, assisted living, skilled nursing and often memory support.

In Inclusive (Type A) CCRCs, residents have access to each level of care for little to no increase in their monthly fee. And while that means a higher up-front investment, it also means care costs are far more predictable down the road.

In other types of senior living, residents must relocate to another facility or pay market rates for their care if they need it.

A woman in a wheelchair shows a tablet to a care worker.
When is it time to move into a retirement community?

Are you still wondering, “Am I too young to move to a retirement community?” Bottom line: If senior living is a fit for your lifestyle now, and you meet the minimum age requirements for the community you love, it’s never too early!

An earlier move-in date means more years to explore everything the community has to offer, build more friendships, and enjoy the relaxing perks of retirement.