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Finding Your Niche Housing in Retirement — or Before!

The rise of affinity communities

A niche for au naturale

One thing the college-centered Kendal crowd doesn't do, however, is hang out in the buff. Not so for Paul Brenot, 66, who lives in one of seven connecting nudist communities near Tampa, Fla.

Niche retirement communities

— TIm Macpherson/Getty Images

He and other naturists are worried about their future. "There are thousands of us, probably well over 10,000, who are practicing nudists," says Brenot, a commercial pilot-turned real estate agent. "We have nowhere to go when we get older for services except outside our culture. The biggest misconception is that people think nudism is about sex. It's totally the opposite. It's about meeting the real person within, and it comes down to body acceptance," Brenot says. "I feel like a car getting dings here and there. I've put on a few pounds and don't have quite the Adonis figure I used to have, but who cares?"

Staff and assisted living residents certainly won't at the assisted living center Brenot and other naturists are hoping to build once the economy recovers. "Wouldn't it be nice if we had a local assisted living so we could continue to feel comfortable in our own skin?" he says. Supporters floated the idea and received enormous interest. Their day in the sun will come within the next few years, believes Brenot.

And that will mean yet another housing option for the Woodstock generation.

Sally Abrahms, a writer from Boston, wrote this article as part of her MetLife Foundation Journalists on Aging Fellowship in partnership with New America Media and the Gerontological Society of America.

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