The notion of what exactly constitutes a retirement community is undergoing a transformation as baby boomers move into their golden years. Increasingly, there are people reaching the end of their careers who are out there living and loving the single life. For those people, a big fear of moving to a retirement community can be that everyone there will already be paired up. Nobody wants to live out the rest of his or her days as a third wheel.

Deciding on a place to live for a single senior can be difficult, but if you’re looking for a place with a vibrant dating scene, there are a few rules of thumb. First, if you’re looking to relocate after your career is over, bigger is better. It may seem self-evident that there are more opportunities to meet a wider variety of people in a bigger city, but so many people look for small towns in the country, in the mountains, or by the beach. There’s nothing wrong with choosing a secluded location, of course, but a limited populace means limited retirement community options.

Single seniors looking for a retirement community might also evaluate their options based on non-romantic interests, hobbies, pastimes, and passions. For example, if you plan to spend your days surfing, find a place that affords ample opportunity to do so. Are you interested in painting, sculpture, or other creative endeavors? Find a place with a vibrant arts scene. Even if you only have an inkling, a notion that you’d like to do something with your new-found free time, you’d be well-served by putting stock in the availability of opportunities. Not only will this give you a pastime, but it will also open up your social circle to meet other singles who share your interests.

If you plan on relocating to a new town or city to move into a retirement community, you might want to consider relocating in stages. As discussed above, the town itself has a strong bearing on what the social scene will be like in any active adult community. Even if you are very interested in the amenities and structure of an active adult residential development, you might want to rent a place in the town and evaluate the space and your fit in it before committing. Even if you decide to jump right into a senior living facility, temper your optimism and dip your toe into the water by renting before you buy. Remember, people are living longer and longer these days, and many retirees can look forward to decades of repose. Rather than committing to something on impulse, give yourself a chance to test the social scene and the singles scene at your chosen locale. If you find it to your liking, then enjoy, but don’t be afraid to change course if you find it’s not for you. It’s your retirement, live it how you want.