I’ve had several conversations recently surrounding retirement communities. Some centered around choosing a retirement community for themselves or a family member. Others focused on the potential costs and advantages for a future move. What should you know about retirement communities to choose the right one for you or a loved one?
Your Housing Needs May Change
At different stages in life, your concerns about your house vary. At one point, the proximity to work and good schools may take precedent. Later, having enough space for a stamp collection or football memorabilia could be more important!
Over time, living in the same house can provide a sense of continuity and community. Also, living in a house that’s paid for has its advantages. For some, a house anchors a sense of stability.
But what if you don’t need as much space now? What if friends or family members are no longer nearby? What if you’re tired of mowing the yard?
The Retirement Community Enters the Picture
Retirement communities (AKA 55+ communities) may offer an attractive way to downsize. Some are solo complexes, while others span many neighborhoods. You could choose a condo-style setting or a single-family home. (Note: you must have at least one household member 55 or older for most communities).
Retirement communities differ from assisted living facilities (ALFs). These communities offer an independent lifestyle for healthy and active adults. On the other hand, assisted living facilities benefit those needing help with activities of daily living.
What Should You Consider?
Relocation of any kind requires a careful assessment of the possible pros and cons. Before selling your home to move to the newest 55+ community in your area, here are some important areas to explore and think about:
- Security. Retirement communities may offer security that a typical neighborhood would not. Generally, they have security guards at the entrance of the neighborhood or building. With this added protection, you may feel more comfortable in your surroundings.
- Recreation. With people living longer, retirement can be an active and fulfilling phase of life. Like sports? Some communities offer top-notch fitness centers, outdoor pools, and tennis courts. Prefer indoor activities? Find one with a recreation center that organizes movie nights, lectures, and day trips.
- Maintenance. You might have once enjoyed mowing the yard and pulling weeds. Then you came to your senses (I kid. Sort of). Independent living communities often take care of the needed landscaping. And for those living up north, snow removal might provide a huge selling point!
- Costs. These amenities obviously aren’t provided for free. You must understand any entrance fees and monthly maintenance costs. Can you afford these costs along with the price of the home and monthly bills? How much could the costs increase in the future? How much do you (or your heirs) get back when you no longer live there?
- Limited socialization. With some residents losing their ability to drive, what public transportation is available? Without good transportation options, you could be stuck interacting with the same group of people. If it’s a great group you’re in luck; if not…
What’s Right for YOU?
Choosing where to live in retirement is a big decision. There are positives of choosing to stay in your current home. A retirement community might provide the best environment. Other options like moving near (or in with) loved ones could work for you.
My recent conversations reinforced the value of getting outside help. Planning ahead and making an educated decision should help you find the best choice for you or a loved one!