Active Adult Communities are Creepy

By paulswansen, Flickr Creative Commons

One of my last acts as a community news reporter was to write an editorial calling out the town for its insistence on trying to make the downtown “more walkable” by approving “Active Adult” communities far away from the actual downtown (a word that I use loosely here). I get it: towns want to attract older people who don’t bring their kids to town to suck up resources like schools and the police. But it never made sense to me that you’d expect people with bad knees and hip replacements to liven up your downtown. And, frankly, their exclusive nature made me downright angry. Why couldn’t I develop a 30-and-under community if they can have a 55+ community?

Well, as it turns out, those annoying communities may be going the way of the Dodo. The Courant reports:

The number of these “active adult” communities in the state mushroomed — now at 200, by one estimate, representing thousands of single-family houses and condominiums. It worked well for many: Developments flourished and sold out.

But as the housing recession deepened, a growing number of the developments were left unfinished. Some developers have fallen into bankruptcy, others are struggling and looking for a way out.

Apparently, some of these communities have managed to get rezoned. I was ready to start looking to buy a condo in a 55+ community just for laughs when I read this:

“Will older adults have the adequate number of communities that they will need?” asked Milner, who has been consulted by the White House on issues involving aging. “It’s still up in the air.”

Um… Is anyone else uncomfortable at the idea that the elderly need their own little ghettoes? I mean, we’re not talking about assisted living facilities here. We’re talking about perfectly normal housing or condo complexes where no one under the age of 55 is allowed to spend more than a few days at a time. Are old people completely incapable of living among the youthful? If so, can’t they just move to Florida or Arizona?

Most importantly, how are the Gay Guru and I ever going to find Sugar Daddies if they’re all hidden away in gated communities for the arthritic?