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​Find the Best Place For Your Retirement 

Creative and innovative housing options to live your best life

spinner image two photos one shows a community outdoor area and the other shows a man in a woodworking shop
Courtesy Bridge Meadows / Courtesy Lasell Village

​ ​From tiny homes to learning communities, these creative and often innovative housing approaches show that anything goes in the pursuit of your best life. ​​

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spinner image the sea breeze a tiny home at little river escapes
Courtesy of Little River Escape

Little River Escape, Cloudland, Georgia ​

Built in 2016, this community of tiny homes (120 to 800 square feet) includes a pool, dog park, shared garden and river frontage. All but two full-time residents are over​ 50. Says Cyndi Yeakle, 63: “I know more of my neighbors than I ever did when I lived ​in Atlanta.” ​

spinner image bridge meadows a multigenerational community in portland oregon
Courtesy Bridge Meadows

Bridge Meadows, Oregon​

​When someone 55 or older moves to one of these three communities, “your expectation is that you will contribute with your time, talents and love,” says Executive Director Derenda Schubert. The program is for families with children adopted out of foster care and older people who offer support.​

spinner image cobb hill cohousing farming and sustainable living in hartland vermont
Courtesy Cobb Hill Cohousing

Cobb Hill Cohousing, Hartland, Vermont​

​This sustainable community contains a working farm, a maple syrup enterprise, beekeepers, a cheese-maker and a shiitake mushroom farm. The homes have solar hot water, composting toilets and electric-car charging stations. ​

spinner image village hearth cohousing an lgbtq enclave in durham north carolina
Courtesy Village Hearth Cohousing

Village Hearth Cohousing, Durham, North Carolina​

​This LGBTQ-focused, 55-plus community opened in May 2020. The cottages have large porches and are arranged around a central lawn. A 2,600-square-foot common house encourages neighbors to gather. Half of the residents are LGBTQ, and the majority of the others have a friend or family member who is LGBTQ. About 75 percent of residents moved here from other states.​

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spinner image a man woodworking in lasell village community in newton massachusetts
Courtesy Lasell Village

​​Lasell Village, Newton, Massachusetts​

​The retired residents living at Lasell University have to enroll in 450 hours of learning each year. That’s about nine hours a week, with a choice of undergraduate and graduate academic courses, fitness classes, community activities and cultural programs. ​

spinner image noho senior arts colony in north hollywood california
Courtesy NoHo Senior Art Colony

NoHo Senior Arts Colony, North Hollywood in Los Angeles ​

​This retirement community for residents 62 and older offers classes in acting, scriptwriting, choir and visual arts. It shares a building with a theater, home to the Road Theatre Company. “Opportunities to discover your passion, creativity and skills are wonderful in the second 50 years of life — when you have time to explore yourself and ask yourself, what is your legacy?” says Nancy Goodhart, chief operations officer of EngAGE, which runs the programs. ​

spinner image adawehi wellness village in columbus north carolina
Courtesy Adawehi Wellness Village

​​Adawehi Wellness Village, North Carolina​

​Residents of this community, set on 125 acres of woodlands, take classes in yoga, personal growth, tai chi, drumming and other disciplines. Holistic practitioners offer acupressure, massage, chiropractic care, astrology readings, reflexology and colon hydrotherapy. The property also has an organic grocer, a gym, gardens and greenhouses.​

spinner image a modern granny flat in san diego
Courtesy Modern Granny Flat

​​An ADU in Southern California​

​When Gaye Howorth, 78, lived in Texas, she saw her 11-year-old grandson once or twice a year. Now that she lives in a small house in her daughter’s backyard, she sees him every day. “I am so thrilled that I get to be a part of his life,” the retired educator says. Accessory dwelling units, also known as ADUs, have become increasingly popular in high-cost areas. Howorth had her 726-square-foot ADU built in 2018 for $200,000. ​

spinner image three smiling people standing in a garden in front of a pond
Courtesy ShantiNiketan

ShantiNiketan, a home for Indian Americans in Central Florida​

​ShantiNiketan is the brainchild of Iggy Ignatius, who decided that Indian immigrant boomers like himself would be drawn to a community designed for them. Food, he said, was the one of the biggest issues for observant Hindu retirees. “They want Indian vegetarian food,” says Ignatius, 66. They also “want to live with people of their own origins, talking in their native language.” The community’s large kitchen prepares only vegetarian Indian food. Instead of swimming and shuffleboard, the complex has yoga and Hindu prayer rooms. ​Today, there are three ShantiNiketan communities in Tavares, Florida — two across the street from each other and another 4 miles away that opened in 2018 and will finish construction in 2024. The 1,200-square-foot attached villas at the newest location cost around $250,000, with $300 a month in association dues. ​

Ronda Kaysen is a freelance journalist and New York Times contributor who reports on housing and real estate.

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