Retiring in Maine
If you are thinking about retiring in Maine this is a very valuable article for you. Make sure to read through to the end. It’s chock full of information, videos, and links to articles that you can refer back to again and again.
It will discuss in-depth the differences between a 55+ Active Adult Community like Stevens Square at Baxter Woods and a Retirement Community. There are significant differences that we will discuss, citing industry experts, and we will offer some Helpful Facts.
Here you can watch a snippet of our upcoming and ongoing informative video series about Stevens Square through the eyes of its homeowners. In this short preview, Elizabeth and Larry Estey talk about the decision-making process that led them to choose Stevens Square.
Retiring in Maine and 55+ Communities
Many people thinking about retiring in Maine find that a search for a place to live a little confusing. For example, they may have searched online for “55 Plus Communities in Maine.” A plethora of results appear. But after further research, it turns out that most of these places are Retirement, Continuing Care, or Life Care Communities.
These tend to not appeal to people who are in their 40’s, 50’s, 60’s, and 70’s. Many say they do not find their contemporaries in these places. There are a lot of services for which they do not want to pay.
A 55+ Active Adult Community like Stevens Square at Baxter Woods is part of a whole different segment of the housing industry. The confusion is understandable. While 55+ Active Adult Communities are ubiquitous throughout the country, they are a new concept in Maine, especially Portland.
Helpful Fact: In a 55+ Community, 80% of its households must have one resident above 55 years of age, and there are no permanent residents under the age of 19.
So for example, a couple in their 40’s could live at Stevens Square so long as they do not have a child under 19 and the community census conforms to the 80% fair housing rules. Given the desirability of Stevens Square’s location in Portland, Maine’s trendy Deering Center neighborhood, its contemporary condo homes, and its access to green space, this is a likelihood.
What is a 55+ Active Adult Lifestyle Community?
“When people first consider the term ‘Active Adult’, they may confuse the concept with housing for the elderly or traditional senior living,” says Bill Ness, founder of 55+ Places, a national resource for Active Adult Living.
“Active Adult Lifestyle Communities are age-qualified planned developments that offer independent, relatively maintenance-free living to residents primarily aged 55 and over. They promote friendliness, convenience, and an active social and cultural lifestyle along with some amenities. They may be nearby excellent medical care, but they do not offer assisted living,” says Ness. (Full Active Adult vs. Retirement Community article here.)
Helpful Fact: a 55+ Active Adult Lifestyle Community draws people in a wider age range and from a larger geographic radius than a traditional Retirement of Continuing Care community.
55+ Active Adult Communities vs. Retirement Communities
Senior Housing is one of the largest segments of the U.S. Housing Industry. Within the industry, there is a clear differentiation between 55+ Active Lifestyle Communities and Retirement Communities.
“At its most basic level, ‘active’ means independent, so 55+ Active Lifestyle Communities offer no assistance with daily living activities, such as meals, medication, housekeeping, programmed entertainment, and personal care,” says Jane O’Connor, a nationally known 55+ housing consultant and trustee of the National Association of Home Builders 55+ Housing Council.
Stevens Square at Baxter Woods is not one of the Retirement Communities in Maine. “In the industry, a Retirement Community refers to more of a traditional continuum of care environment with progressive care living, group transportation, congregate dining, medical care, and management employed activities coordinators. These communities tend to cater to the more needs-driven resident who has waited until they are in need of services to enter the community,” says O’Connor.
“Nationally, the average age in Retirement Communities is now 83-86 years of age. The traditional market segment for Retirement Communities is within a 20-mile radius of their campus. 55+ Active Lifestyle Communities attract customers from a much broader range of ages and geographic locations. They are seeking a new adventure for the next stage of their life. In short, it is all about lifestyle.”
Stevens Square at Baxter Woods has already drawn homeowners from nearby and from as far away as Illinois. Read about the Bensons here.
Baby Boomers and Gen-Xers: Active Adult Living
The target audiences for Stevens Square want choices. In fact, these generations are shifting the entire industry.
“The 1990s and early 2000s was a big explosion of continuing-care retirement communities, [where] design was predetermined, and you had to buy in early with a hefty deposit. They were tribal — like the country-club set — but boomers don’t like this model,” O’Connor of 55 Plus says.
“These are the children [raised by] the ‘Because I say so’ generation,” says O’Connor. In rebellion, and with many more options, “they’re going to retire just how they want.”
Helpful Fact: Many industry experts believe that the traditional Retirement Community model will continue to decline while the Active Adult segment will continue to grow for all ages.
In short, “Boomers and Beyond” do not want to be locked-in to services. They want lower-maintenance living and convenience. They want amenities that allow them to stay active with new friends who share common interests from a wide range of locations and ages. This is how they will derive their wellness and live longer. And if the occasion arises that they need services, they want to stay in their homes and bring those services to themselves.
Here is what the Esteys had to say about their experiences with Retirement Communities vs. their decision to move to Stevens Square 55+ Active Adult Community.
Going the Way of the Dodo
Maine native Rich Hutchinson is Owner and CEO of Discovery Senior Living. Based in Florida, Discovery is the 12th largest developer and operator of Retirement Communities in the United States. “Senior housing is at an inflection point, and providers that are in denial about this likely won’t survive as the industry enters its next phase,” says Hutchinson, whose traditionally service-based company is shifting further into the Active Adult segment.
Some developers are moving toward a more service-based model. Others are moving toward a more independent, Active Adult, choice-based model.
“Much the industry made the mistake, in my opinion, of really focusing on the care aspects of the industry,” says Hutchinson. He says there is a need for “sharper elbows in the Active Adult space,” as these generations want choice and flexibility. About developers, he says: “You have to figure it out, or you go the way of the dodo.”
Read Senior Living 2.0 is Here with Rich Hutchinson for a real deep dive with this expert.
Stevens Square Condominiums in the Sweet Spot
Condominiums, in general, are a popular choice for Boomers looking to live a lower-maintenance lifestyle, to right-size, and to simplify their lives. Condominiums with amenities even more so. You can read more about how this is affecting the industry here.
Stevens Square homes offer one-floor living, under-building parking, elevators, and bright, open airy homes. These are perfect for aging in place.
All in all, Stevens Square at Baxter Woods is a perfect combination for those thinking about retiring in Maine. It’s a 55+ Active Adult lifestyle community. It is condominiums with amenities. It’s right at the sweet spot of up-to-date industry trends and the want and needs of those looking to stay active.
Stay tuned for many more from the Esteys, many more videos, stories, and information!