What to know about this topic:
- Pros and cons of a 55 plus community
- 55 plus housing on Vancouver Island
- Moving to BC when you're 55 or older
In the Comfort Life Spotlight
For those 55 and older in the province of British Columbia, life has changed. The kids are out of the house, the mortgage is paid off (or mostly paid off), and for the majority of people, life has slowed down and even gotten easier. Your lifestyle is different, now. Having emptied the nest, many people travel more and many people consider downsizing their homes, using the equity they have built in their family home, to reduce or even remove mortgage payments. 55 and over communities offer a change of pace and lifestyle. Move into a community of your peers and change everything.
When you move from your family home into a more fitting home in a community of those like you, this has a compound positive aspect: you suddenly remove mortgage payments from your life, then you have extra money every month to invest in whatever you want, including anything from financial products to more real estate.
Pros and cons of a 55 plus community
The advantages of a 55 plus or 50 plus community are found throughout our site, and the websites of the communities. There are some cautions to this idea, though, beginning with the very idea of moving into a community where everyone is the same age, and there are no families and very little variety in the interests of people. That age sameness is considered the biggest selling point, of course, for most communities.
Aside from that, some of the biggest cons associated with active lifestyle communities are as follows (with a look at why these cons are not really that serious):
Maintenance fees. People who live in these retirement communities think the fees are well worth it. Paying someone else to do the dull old tasks of homeownership is way nicer than doing those yourself. Those tasks are covered by fees, and things get done by professionals with professional equipment and skills.
Homeowner's Association politics. Again, the Homeowners' Association (might also go by other names such as owners' council) is in fact a feature of active lifestyle communities, and the Association is there for your protection. The con in this may be that there is sometimes internal politics, and there may be some "special interest groups" within the community. You can choose to either stay out of it and not worry about it or get involved and lobby for your own interests.
The cost. Homes are priced based on different models, and it’s a popular model for builders or corporations of these retirement communities to retain ownership of the land, while you own the house. This frees you up from some responsibilities, for one thing. This also means that the entire community is consistently maintained; you won't have neighbours with uncut grass or garbage outside their homes, etc.
Resale. The resale market for homes in a 55 seniors' communities is, in fact, less limited by some factors, notably the resale price, which is most often considerably lower than market value for houses of the same size.
In the end, these "cons" are really just cautions that buyers should be aware of. None of these are hidden, and we have heard from many, many people who love life inside their 55 plus adult lifestyle community. Elsewhere, we have offered a somewhat fuller list of things to consider in a 55 plus community.
55 plus housing on Vancouver Island
Vancouver Island is home to an increasing number of active lifestyle and 55 plus communities. Some places here are among a short list of the best places to retire in British Columbia. Vancouver Island is home to scenery just as spectacular as anywhere else in the province, and the distance from Vancouver makes land development a little more reasonable than in that city.
The Island is also a destination due to the natural space, with spectacularly varied landscapes and scenery. Communities of those 55 and older, here, are often situated along the coast, with awe-inspiring vistas of nearby bays, inlets and sounds. The local wildlife includes sea lions, bald eagles and whale sightings, if you are in the right area. Summer time activities include beach time, windsurfing, and scuba diving off the coast of the Island, among many other things to do.
55 and over communities are one of the most sought after real estate investments, as the Canadian population ages and seeks alternatives to traditional seniors' lifestyles, and also in anticipation of a growing market over the coming years, for this kind of home. Inside many of these communities, the services are just another aspect of the appeal. Local services offered as part of the community include things like grass-cutting and landscaping as well as snow removal if there's any snow to remove.
A number of spectacular BC retirement communities feature onsite golf courses and a variety of similar luxury and sports amenities, including tennis courts, swimming pools, walking trails and (as you'll see in several BC active adult lifestyle villages near the coast) a marina. These features are all provided as part of the community, but services related will be provided by the community's hired staff. Some other typical services of a 55 plus community include recreation centres, casinos, spas, hiking and biking trails, and other features. These communities are quite often trying to outdo each other in terms of which attractive feature they can add in order to be better than other communities nearby.
Moving to BC when you're 55 or older
There are numerous positive health effects to moving to a more temperate climate. Many people who have spent their lives settled elsewhere crave the beauty and majesty of BC nature. Others move here specifically for the health benefits of the climate and the fresh sea air. BC is a retirement destination for people from around the world and across Canada. But before moving there from out of the province, you will need to know some important differences.
If you are moving to this province from another, you need to know about the variation in health care coverage. Anyone permanently moving to another province is expected to enroll in that province’s health-care plan. Learn all you can about how things work "if something happens," too. It's a good idea to learn how the province's healthcare system works, and how it is distinct from the one you are currently under. Especially as you age, you will need to be aware of how healthcare for seniors in BC is distinct.
BC Health and other authorities offer distinct information and resources for residents of the province. As you age, educate yourself, to take the best advantage of these. For example, in 2012, the BC Ombudsperson released a report advocating for residents' rights with respect to health care and seniors' care. This report, called The Best of Care, focused on the need for improvements in resident's ability to navigate and understand the health care system in BC. There are also annual updates on progress in these areas. You may think you're too young to be concerned about this but keep it in mind as your retirement years go on.
Are 55 plus communities legal? Yes, 55 plus communities are legal in the province of British Columbia. The province's Strata Property Act was helped into place through the work of some of the active lifestyle communities listed here. The Strata Property Act in BC allows corporations to "[set restrictions on] the age of persons who may reside in a strata lot." In other provinces, there may not be such laws in place.
Is life in an age restricted community perfect? Of course, not, but it is close. One member of a 55 plus community in Ontario says, "There are different personalities [living here, for sure]… You learn who you like to mix with." Many residents say it's all worth it. The locations and the lifestyles create a close circle of friends who share interests and backgrounds.