Age-qualified, age-restricted, age-targeted, or active-adult – four different ways of saying “Life is great!” If you\’re tired of hearing the pitter-patter of little feet in your existing community or longing to be surrounded by like-minded neighbors, you may want to explore living in an active-adult community. If a more age-homogeneous lifestyle with facilities and social activities that allow you to do as much or as little as you\’d like sounds like your cup of tea, there are many choices, often close to your present home. Some of these communities have age restrictions, such as that at least one resident must be 55 or older and that no one under 19 may live full time in the community. Other communities are marketed to people over 50, without age restrictions. There are about 1,500 active-adult communities in the United States, and this number is increasing!

Today\’s active-adult community residents are more affluent, more educated, more computer literate, more intellectually curious, healthier, and more physically active than ever. Most active-adult communities have a wide range of housing types and price points; homes can often be purchased beginning around $200,000. Four of the “big guns” in active-adult living are Del Webb, Hovanian, Leisure World, and Robson.

Del Webb, now owned by Pulte Homes ( or 800-808-8088), is the country\’s largest builder of active-adult communities for those 55 and better. There are three types of Del Webb communities: active adult (which are age restricted), country club (which feature a resort setting), and family living (which cater to all ages). Amenities may include golf, tennis, fitness centers, swimming, special-interest clubs, and numerous planned activities. Del Webb\’s communities are located in 22 states, and more than 200,000 residents live in Del Webb communities.

Hovnanian Enterprises ( or 877-HOV-HOME), building communities since 1959, has active-adult communities in Arizona, California, Maryland, Minnesota, New Jersey, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Texas, Virginia, and West Virginia.

Leisure World, a concept that began in California in the 1950s, has several active-adult communities; they are located in Mesa, Arizona; Laguna Woods and Seal Beach, California; Silver Spring, Maryland (near Washington, D.C.); and Lansdowne, Virginia. All Leisure Worlds have gated security, full-time professional management, and a plethora of facilities and activities that cater to virtually every desire and need. The Leisure World in Laguna Woods incorporated as a city, becoming one of California\’s newest (in terms of cities) and oldest (in terms of population) places!

Robson Communities ( or 800-732-9949), headquartered in Arizona, has five communities: Robson Ranch (Texas), Robson Ranch (Arizona), Quail Creek (Arizona), Pebble Creek (Arizona), and Saddle Brooke (Arizona). Amenities may include golf, fitness facilities, swimming, tennis, organized activities and clubs, shopping, medical facilities, banks, etc. More than 30,000 people call a Robson community home.

So, if you\’re looking for this type of lifestyle, you\’ll have many choices. And, a final hint: Consider buying into a newer active-adult community if you\’re younger. People tend to stay once they move in, so the older communities have a much higher average age than a newer one!

Jan Cullinane is the co-author of The New Retirement: The Ultimate Guide to the Rest of Your Life (Rodale, 2007). She gives seminars on the (primarily) non-financial aspects of retirement through her company, "Retirement Living from A to Z."