About 5% of American elderly now live in senior living communities. Florida’s The Villages is the country’s fastest-growing and largest retirement destination. Marketed as a community for active seniors, most subcommunities in The Villages require at least one 55-year-old in each residence; anyone under 19 (of school age) must limit visits to 30 days a year.
The housing stock and considerable leisure activities appeal to and reflect middle-American tastes. Residents organize and participate in hundreds of clubs and hobbies. They use numerous recreation centers, swimming pools, and golf courses, some of which are available to all residents with no additional charge. The infrastructure, landscaping, radio, newsletters, and advertising might best be described as upbeat or chirpy. There are plenty of classes and educational opportunities, though most focus on self-help and spirituality, with occasional historical re-enactors and other popular, rather than highbrow, programs. The same is true for music and other entertainment; there are heavy doses of dated pop music, and classical pieces are often abridged.
The development and popularity of places like The Villages is good, not bad, news.
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