This web site aggregates real-estate news by area like a Craigslist for over-55 living. Advertisements are marked clearly and there is basic information about most of the communities, though you will have to dig to find faith-based or other communities of interest like http://www.villageontheisle.com/, where Denise's Mom lives.
Typical listings specify whether the properties are new or resale and give information about the distance to the beach or specify if it is a mobile home. The web site also gives basic price range and the type of recreational amenities. Many of the condos and facilities in Sarasota County start at about $100,000.
Retirement communities are big business in Florida, and there is strict oversight in the state. Recently Florida passed a law which requires detailed disclosure of financial information to prospective residents at countinuing-care facilities. An estimated 30,000 Floridians live in assisted-living communities and the industry generates $2 billion.
About one-third of Americans over the age of 65 move, though only a small percentage leave their home state. But of those who move, according to AARP, about 25% will end up in Florida, more than any other state.
AARP is one of the most trusted organizations with information about housing for seniors and retirees
access here: http://www.aarp.org/home-garden/housing/
The Retirement Housing Council is an association of retirement housing owners and operators for seniors in Florida with articles like “5 Ways to Avoid Outliving Your Retirement Savings” and “Workers Saving Too Little to Retire.” access here: http://www.rhcouncil.org/
Chambers of Commerce sites typically have a section to assist prospective residents who are considering moving to Florida with links for housing, healthcare, taxes and driver's licenses. The community of Venice where Village on the Isle is located has a list of basic re-location information to access at: http://www.venicechamber.com/VisitorInformation/TheVeniceArea/RelocationInformation/tabid/97/Default.aspx