July 24


Retire Together: How to Start a Retirement Community

By Harrison O'Reill

July 24, 2023

Retirement communities are becoming increasingly popular among seniors looking for a comfortable and supportive environment to spend their golden years. If you’re interested in starting a retirement community, there are several things you need to consider.

What are they? Keep reading to find out!

Retirement Planning

When planning for retirement, it’s important to consider the various housing options available. Retirement communities offer a range of choices, from independent living to assisted living and nursing homes.

Independent living communities provide seniors with the opportunity to live in apartments or townhomes with access to amenities such as a pool, golf course, and fitness center. Assisted living facilities offer support with daily activities, while nursing homes provide medical care for those in need.

When researching retirement communities, it’s important to consider the location and proximity to family and support systems. Additionally, researching taxes and ongoing expenses can help determine the affordability of each option. Monthly fees for assisted living facilities and nursing homes can be expensive, so it’s important to budget accordingly.

Independent living communities often offer a range of activities and recreation options for seniors, promoting socialization and companionship.

Consider the target market and the types of activities that will be most appealing to potential residents. Some popular options include movie nights, meal prep, and transportation services.

When starting a retirement community, it’s important to have a solid business plan in place, including purchasing land, obtaining necessary permits and licenses, and advertising to potential residents.

Costs and Fees

Starting a retirement community requires a significant investment, and the costs and fees associated with running it can vary widely depending on the size, location, and amenities offered. Here are some of the primary costs and fees to consider when starting a retirement community.


Maintenance costs are an essential part of running a retirement community. These costs can include landscaping, cleaning, and repairs to common areas and individual units.

It’s important to have a maintenance plan in place to ensure that the community remains in good condition and that residents are happy with their living spaces.


Retirement communities typically charge fees to cover the cost of services and amenities provided to residents. These fees can include things like housekeeping, laundry, and transportation services.

It’s important to be transparent about these fees and to ensure that they are reasonable and fair for the services provided.


Utilities are another significant cost associated with running a retirement community. These costs can include electricity, gas, water, and internet services. It’s important to have a plan in place to monitor and manage these costs to ensure that residents are not overcharged for their utilities.


Many retirement communities offer meal plans as part of their services. These plans can include breakfast, lunch, and dinner, as well as snacks and beverages throughout the day. It’s important to offer a variety of healthy and delicious options to ensure that residents are happy with their meal plans.


Transportation services are another important part of running a retirement community. These services can include shuttle buses, taxis, and other forms of transportation to help residents get around town.


It’s important to have a plan in place to ensure that residents can access the transportation services they need to stay active and engaged in the community.


When considering starting a retirement community, amenities play a crucial role in attracting and retaining residents. Here are some of the amenities you should consider offering:


Retirement communities should offer a variety of recreational activities to keep residents engaged and entertained. These activities can include card games, board games, bingo, and more.

Additionally, offering outdoor activities such as gardening, bird watching, and nature walks can help residents stay active and healthy.


In addition to recreational activities, retirement communities should offer a wide range of activities to appeal to different interests.

These can include book clubs, art classes, cooking classes, and even educational lectures. Providing a diverse range of activities can help residents learn new skills and stay engaged with the community.

Fitness Centers

Fitness centers are a must-have for any retirement community. They should be equipped with a range of exercise equipment, including treadmills, stationary bikes, and weight machines. Additionally, offering fitness classes such as yoga, Pilates, and aerobics can help residents stay active and healthy.

Other amenities to consider include:

  • Pools: A pool can be a great way for residents to stay active and cool off during the summer months.
  • Golf Course: A golf course can be a great amenity for retirees who enjoy the sport.
  • Tennis Court: A tennis court can be a fun way for residents to stay active and socialize with each other.
  • Dining Hall: A dining hall can be a great way for residents to enjoy meals together and socialize with each other.

Support and Care

When starting a retirement community, it’s important to consider the various types of support and care that residents may need. This includes nursing care, assisted living, memory care, and socialization.

Nursing Care

Nursing care is essential for residents who require medical attention. This can include wound care, medication management, and other medical services. It’s important to have experienced and licensed nurses on staff to provide the necessary care.

Assisted Living

Assisted living is designed for residents who need help with daily tasks, such as bathing, dressing, and meal preparation. This type of care allows residents to maintain their independence while receiving the help they need.

Memory Care

Memory care is designed for residents with Alzheimer’s or other forms of dementia. These residents require specialized care and support to help them cope with their condition. Memory care facilities should have trained staff and specialized programs to meet the unique needs of these residents.


Socialization is an important aspect of retirement communities. It’s important for residents to have opportunities to interact with others and participate in social activities. This can include movie nights, game nights, and other group activities.

In addition to these types of care, caregivers and companionship are also important for residents. Caregivers can provide additional support for residents who need it, while companionship can help prevent feelings of isolation and loneliness.


Meal prep is also an important aspect of care, as residents need access to nutritious and delicious meals.

Overall, providing a variety of support and care options is essential for starting a successful retirement community. By offering nursing care, assisted living, memory care, socialization, and other forms of support, residents can feel safe, supported, and happy in their new homes.


Starting a retirement community is a challenging task that requires careful planning and execution. However, with the right strategy and approach, it can be a rewarding and profitable venture.

In this article, we have discussed the key steps involved in starting a retirement community, including conducting market research, developing a business plan, securing financing, and acquiring the necessary licenses and permits.

We have also highlighted the importance of creating a supportive and engaging environment for residents, as well as building a strong team of staff and healthcare professionals.

To ensure the success of your retirement community, stay up-to-date with industry trends and best practices, as well as continuously evaluate and improve your operations.

By providing high-quality care and services and fostering a sense of community and belonging, you can create a fulfilling and enjoyable retirement experience for your residents.

Remember, starting a retirement community is not easy, but it can be a fulfilling and profitable venture with the right approach and mindset.

With careful planning, hard work, and dedication, you can create a thriving and successful retirement community that makes a positive impact on the lives of your residents.

Frequently Asked Questions

Here are some common questions about this topic.

What is a retirement community?

A retirement community is a housing complex designed for older adults who are generally 55 years or older. These communities offer a range of amenities and services, such as housekeeping, transportation, meals, and social activities, to help residents maintain an active and independent lifestyle.

How do I start a retirement community?

Starting a retirement community involves several steps, such as identifying the location, obtaining necessary permits, designing and constructing the community, and hiring staff. It is crucial to conduct thorough market research and feasibility studies to determine the demand and competition in the area. Working with a team of experts, including architects, lawyers, and financial advisors, can help ensure a successful launch.

What are the benefits of living in a retirement community?

Retirement communities offer a range of benefits, including socialization opportunities, access to healthcare services, reduced home maintenance responsibilities, and increased security.

Residents can enjoy a sense of community and belonging, participate in various activities and events, and receive assistance with daily tasks as needed.

Additionally, retirement communities often offer a continuum of care, allowing residents to age in place and receive the necessary support as their needs change.

What are the costs associated with a retirement community?

The costs of living in a retirement community vary depending on the location, size, and level of services provided. Typically, residents pay a monthly fee that covers rent, utilities, and amenities.

Additional costs may include entrance fees, healthcare services, and transportation. It is essential to work with a financial advisor to determine the affordability and sustainability of the retirement community business model.

How do I market a retirement community?

Marketing a retirement community involves identifying the target audience, creating a brand identity, and developing a comprehensive marketing strategy.

Utilizing various channels, such as social media, print advertising, and community outreach, can help reach potential residents and their families. It is crucial to highlight the unique features and benefits of the retirement community and provide transparent pricing and contract terms.

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