The results of a new survey may provide insights into ways independent living and continuing care retirement communities can compete for residents as the oldest baby boomers become more common as prospects.

The three most sought-after amenities for those looking at 55+ communities are swimming pools (77%), fitness centers (76%) and walking/biking trails (71%), according to the more than 3,200 boomers responding to the 2018 Survey of Homebuyers Researching Lifestyle Communities by Private Communities Registry.

“Today’s baby-boomer buyers want to maximize their independence while maintaining the ability to adapt to changes in lifestyle preferences, health conditions and financial position,” PCR President Marie Roberts said. “Proximity to healthcare, shopping, dining and recreation also are important.”

Eighty-eight percent of respondents said they planned to buy within a planned environment in the future — 77% within the next two years.

“Active adult” communities were favored by respondents, and 57% also want a gated community, according to PCR. Golf communities were third most desirable type of community, desired by 30% of respondents. Golf itself, however, ranked as the top type of membership of interest, at 74%.

Retirees and those beginning the retirement transition have found that a new focus on active lifestyles can improve quality of life and help make post-work-life more fulfilling.

Speaking with International Living magazine, Patti and Bob Jackson said that retirement has allowed them to experience a healthier lifestyle.

“Our whole lifestyle changed for the better. Life is up to us. Our social life went up exponentially because we have time and can afford to be out and about. If you simply talk to people here you’ll end up meeting new people, the expats have open arms and are so accommodating,” Bob said. “I play golf and tennis (which is a new sport for me) almost every day, and Patti plays more tennis here than she ever did at home.”

Another benefit to this active lifestyle is that Patti and Bob have each lost almost 10 pounds without even trying. “It’s amazing really because between the golf and tennis, Bob has had more beer in the last three months than in his entire life,” Patti said. “We love the social aspect of life here.”