Dreaming of the perfect retirement community? Here are 14 to consider

Seniors are increasingly looking at the traditional nursing home as a last resort for their later years. Instead, a new generation of workers looks to retirement as a kind of hard-earned, long-term vacation. They are, justifiably, getting more choosy about where they want to spend their considerable retirement savings and last years.

If they bother moving out of their homes and communities, retirees nowadays want it to be for something better, something special. They look for communities that will keep them engaged and entertained. Personal connections are the most important, so if they leave old friends they want to move to a place where they can make new ones. They want to be able to bring their pets. They often want to be near -- but not too near -- loved ones.

And they want to be able to go out and do things, whether that's classes, prayers, golf or dining out. Mostly, they want a place that's attuned to their individual needs.

Here are 14 retirement communities with something special to offer: