The other option, as mentioned, is to buy in an elevator building...preferably with covered or underground parking - a short walk from the elevator.
In a townhome, you can often get to your car from your attached garage....a highrise building offers more "hotel like" living... involving taking the elevator to the lobby and possibly waiting for your car if there is valet service.
A townhome complex can offer a nice lifestyle........some are gated, and offer a clubhouse, pool, exercise and card rooms, tennis, etc..............you'll love not thaving to be responsible for lawn care or snow removal, too!
Make sure the complex is solvent, and has strong financials. Also make sure to read the bylaws (rules regulating the complex) as they vary from community to community...some are very stringent..some very lax. I live in a townhome - I am not allowed to have a hanging plant outside my front door!! Like I said......read those bylaws ahead of time, as what you are responsible for will also vary from complex to complex.
Prudential NJ Properties
PS Mack......as far as AARP, well, I'm "qualified" for that, too.......but the grey hairs??? NEVER (thanks to my colorist!)
The big disadvantage of a townhouse, condo, or co-op is this: Noisy neighbors you hear all the time. They live in the same building and like things louder than you do. With an individual house you can have more space without much noise. Plus, HOA fees. Those can add up. In a duplex even maintenance could be split among the various owners. But what happens if your roof goes bad and the other owners won't, or can't help to pay for it?
Also, look for how many steps to get into the place. Could you easily put a ramp in? I have bad legs now, later in life they could be worse. I will have be considering the same exact things when I buy. It makes sense to buy once and remain there for your entire retirement, or at least as long as you can live independently. Moving is to difficult and expensive to want to do it several times after retiring.
So! How's your mobility? Townhouses are, almost by definition, not ADA compliant - a little knee surgery, a hip replacement here and there, and scooting up and down becomes even more difficult.
If there's space for an elevator, which is highly unlikely, that'll save you.
You can't deny that it's a great time to buy! I would recommend one floor living for a retiree, looking ahead so that you may remain in your home for many years. The right home for you may be a ranch or a condominium if you don't like to keep up a yard. You have to decide what's right for "you"!