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Retirement Communities

Gordon Streib

Subject Sociology of Health, Aging, and Medicine » Sociology of Aging

Key-Topics age

DOI: 10.1111/b.9781405124331.2007.x


Retirement communities are residential areas designated by federal law requiring, for the purpose of excluding younger residents, that at least 80 percent of their occupied dwelling units must have at least one person of 55 years of age or older living there, and that the communities must publish and follow policies and procedures that demonstrate an intent to be 55 and older housing. This legal definition does not describe the wide range of communities housing older persons. There are two major kinds of retirement communities: (1) Planned Leisure-Oriented Retirement Communities, and (2) Continuing Care Retirement Communities (CCRCs). A third type is called Naturally Occurring Retirement Communities. These do not need to meet the precise legal requirements, but their age-dense populations qualify them as a type of retirement community. In addition, public housing projects primarily restricted to low-income older persons are mostly for retirees, although some projects permit younger disabled persons to live there. Demographic and political-economic social forces have shaped the context for retirement communities. The gradual increased in life expectancy in the US and the related increase in the older population has provided the base for specialized housing of many varieties. The political-economic factors are complex and provide basic economic security for many older persons. The ... log in or subscribe to read full text

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