In the US, the baby boom generation is reaching retirement age, and one in five Americans will be elderly by 2030 according to the US Census Bureau. This is one of the largest demographics of seniors and it is increasing the number of senior neighborhoods around the nation. This type of senior living service allows seniors to live in a close-knit, secure community of other seniors with similar health, social, and daily needs. Learn more about how senior neighborhoods are set up and how to find such a community in your area.
What is a Senior Neighborhood?
A senior neighborhood is a senior community that offers more than just senior living services or housing. It encompasses an entire neighborhood where seniors can have independence coupled with programs geared at this age group. Seniors live in single-family homes that are within a designated neighborhood. The neighborhood is formally organized and provides services that benefit seniors. Examples of services available in these types of neighborhoods include:
- Exercise classes, such as arthritis swim, flexibility training, Zumba Gold chair, Tai Chi, and chair yoga
- Hobby groups, such as quilting and book discussions
- Health classes, such as lunch and learn seminars about nutrition
These programs are provided at an onsite community and wellness facility so that seniors have easy access to everything. In general, senior neighborhoods are best suited for active seniors or those who are independent without major mobility or health issues. Memory care and assisted living services are not typically provided.
Where are the Most Seniors Living?
One way to find out where the most senior neighborhoods are likely to be located is to consider where all the seniors are living in the US. While these locations are not guaranteed to offer senior neighborhoods, there is an increased opportunity due to the high rate of the elderly population there. The Pew Research Center reported that the states with the most seniors are living in these counties and states:
- Florida, particularly in the counties of Sumter, Charlotte, and Sarasota
- La Paz County, Arizona
- Lancaster County, Pennsylvania
- New Mexico in Catron and Sierra County
- Alcona County, Michigan
- Northumberland County, Virginia
- Llano County, Texas
Some counties have experienced a decline of seniors including:
- Alfalfa County, Oklahoma
- North Dakota in Wells and Williams counties
In general, Alaska is the state that has the smallest number of seniors, with up to 29 percent fewer seniors per county compared to the rest of the US. Most likely, the cold weather and distance of the state of Alaska reduce the number of seniors who choose to live this far north.
Pocket Neighborhoods for Seniors
The concept of a pocket neighborhood is rather new. Architect Ross Chapin began building this type of neighborhood in 1995 with the Third Street Cottages neighborhood. Since then, other pocket neighborhoods that have emerged including Audubon Circle in Boston, Massachusetts and Salish Pond in Gresham, Oregon. Keep in mind that not all of these neighborhoods are strictly for seniors.
A pocket neighborhood is a type of senior living community that is designed around the senior neighborhood concept. By definition, a pocket neighborhood is a planned community featuring multiple single-family homes or duplexes. Homes are built on a smaller scale in what is commonly called a cottage. This allows for more homes and residents to live together in the neighborhood. For instance, in the first pocket neighborhood built in the US in 1995 on Whidbey Island in Washington State, cottages were limited to 975 square feet.
These homes are constructed around a centralized element, such as a common garden, courtyard, community center, or wellness facility. The goal with a pocket neighborhood is to provide a cohesive and collective community for residents. This encourages social engagement and the feeling of being neighborly. For active seniors who are looking for a more social type of senior living, a pocket neighborhood is a viable option.
The pocket neighborhood is zoned to protect the inner space. For example, there are no parking areas or public roads that go through the neighborhood. The neighborhood might also be gated to provide security and safety. As a result, the neighborhood becomes a private enclave where only residents come and go. This promotes a feeling of community that is a major draw for seniors interested in this type of senior living.
Are There Senior Neighborhoods Near Me?
To find senior neighborhoods near you, start by searching our directory for your zip code or state. You will see a listing of all the types of senior living communities available within close proximity to where you live. From here, identify those housing types that are senior neighborhoods. Don’t see any neighborhoods near you? Consider branching out to other cities in your state or to neighboring states.
Call the Senior Helpline for More Information
You can also call our senior helpline to speak with a senior living expert. We will help you research various senior neighborhoods, including pocket neighborhoods, according to your needs. Whether you are interested in senior neighborhoods on a budget or for pocket neighborhoods throughout the US, we will find these for you. Thanks to our extensive online directory of tens of thousands of senior living communities, we have the resources needed to help you find a senior neighborhood.