Long Island Living: How to Choose a 55+ Community



MOVING FROM A private home to a 55-plus community is sometimes referred to as “downsizing.” But Michael Dubb, founder and CEO of the Beechwood Organization of Jericho, prefers to call this kind of move “rightsizing.”

Rightsizing, he says, is when you’re ready to get rid of the big home – the stairs, the maintenance, yard – and go to a community where most of the living is on a single level and the big chores are done for you. “It’s that turnkey kind of living. It frees up your time to enjoy your life and your home, worry-free,” Dubb says. Dubb’s company set the benchmark for luxury, resort-style communities for active adults on LongIsland, first in Westbury, then Medford, and now with new communities in East Meadow, Plainview, Smithtown and Yaphank.

As you age, staying healthy, socializing and doing things that enhance your life take on greater significance. A development with an activity director and calendar of clubs, classes and events is a big plus. A well-equipped gym is also essential. Generally, bigger communities offer more amenities, such as indoor and outdoor pools, tennis courts, bocce, pickleball and open space for walkability with more opportunities for socializingand a greater diversity of activities from which to choose. Make a list of what is important to you and see ifthe community includes these things. Consider the location and make sure it’s close to things that you value. In many instances, family and grandchildren are the main reasons why people want to remain on Long Island. Is the community near things you want to be closer to, such as beaches, golf, farm stands or shopping? Security is also something to check off your list. A manned gatehouse and 24-hour roving security are more desirable and personal than card access. Residents can be assured their belongings are safe and that everything is being taken care of, including snow removal.

It’s also useful to compare the cost of community life to the savings you may make without the need for security systems, homeowner insurance, landscaping, snow removal, gym membership and entertainment.


If you need to sell your house first, will the builder work with you on stretching closing dates or even help to find a rental during your transition?“It’s important to look at other communities by the builder and to see how the residents like living there,” Dubb says. “A reputable builder will also be there for any kind of warranty.”
Look for gourmet kitchens with top-of-the-line appliances, fixtures and countertops and good hardwood floors. “While you should not have to do much more to upgrade your new home (it’s an all-inclusive package), you should be able to hand pick kitchen and bath finishes with a visit to the builder’s design center,” Dubb says. Rightsizing also means moving to well-designed spaces inside and out. Does the community offer different style homes, for example, multi-level townhomes and single-level apartments? Do floorplans suit your lifestyle? Are layouts open with plenty of natural light? How far is the drive or walk to the clubhouse or shopping? Depending on your needs and time frame, you might prefer a home that’s ready to move into or one that can be built to your exact specifications. If the latter is what you desire, find a community that offers this option.