Retirement communities are one of the best ways to enjoy your golden years. However, many people often associate 55-plus communities with senior living facilities which have many restrictions. The truth is senior communities are great places to live in your retirement years as they offer many amenities other neighborhoods don’t. Having helped dozens of people move into 55-plus communities during my three decades as a real estate agent in the Valley here are a few common myths people associate with 55-plus communities and these neighborhoods.

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You must be retired

While many 55-plus community residents are retired, you can still enjoy the benefits of these neighborhoods while continuing to work full or part-time. What you do with your time while living in a 55-plus community is completely up to you. So even if you aren’t retired you may want to consider a 55-plus community for your next home.

Children and grandchildren aren’t welcome

Depending on where you decide to move in your golden years, you might be farther away from family and friends than your current neighborhood. A common misconception of 55-plus communities is that you can’t have overnight guests. This simply isn’t true. Your grandchildren, children, and other family and friends are more than welcome to visit you, even for extended periods of time. The home you purchase in a 55-plus community is yours to use just like any other home anywhere else. You and your visitors are free to come and go. Don’t let the fear of not being able to have family over deter you from purchasing a home in one of these communities.

You lose your independence

Many people confuse 55-plus communities with senior living homes. In a 55-plus community you are allowed to do what you please when you please. You are not restricted to curfews or following anyone’s schedule but your own. In a 55-plus community you will never be micromanaged. Your independence is always respected within these communities.

You can’t have pets

Pets are members of the family. While some communities may have restrictions on certain breeds most neighborhoods allow you to bring your furry friend with you when you move-in. Many 55-plus communities have dog parks for your pet to run around and play with other dogs and some even hold meet and greet events for your pets. For the most part the main restriction you may face is keeping your dog leashed while on walks and cleaning up after them. It is always best to check with the HOA for pet specific information before moving in.

You must comply with age restrictions

Although there are certain age requirements for 55-plus communities they aren’t as strict as they may seem. For instance, if you are over the age of 55 and your spouse is below you don’t need to be concerned you can’t move into one of these communities. For most 55-plus communities only one homeowner must be over 55. Often, these neighborhoods even allow children and grandchildren over the age of 18 to live there as well. Lastly, in the case of a death the younger resident doesn’t need to worry about being kicked out of the home due to their age. Each community is different when it comes to age restrictions, so it is important to read the community guidelines before selecting a 55-plus neighborhood.

55-plus communities are great for people getting older as they offer beautiful homes, great amenities, and provide many activities in the neighborhood. If you are approaching retirement age, consider a 55-plus community to live out your golden years and don’t listen to all the myths.

Author: Rebecca Hidalgo Rains is the Managing Broker for Integrity All Stars @Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices. She has worked in Phoenix, Arizona Real Estate for nearly 30 years helping Arizonans find their dream home.