In my experience, I have learned you can always find a reason not to move. Making a change is difficult at any stage in your life, and leaving a home after 50+ years of memories is not an easy task. However, as the aging process begins, many people come to the realization that living a simpler, more manageable life is desirable. But that doesn’t mean you need to compromise your lifestyle in your retirement years.
Wouldn’t it be ideal not to have to shovel snow or worry about home maintenance? How about living amongst your friends in a safe and secure environment? Retirement communities offer the peace of mind of maintenance-free living along with added benefits such as security, social enrichment and convenience.
Regardless of all the benefits of living at a retirement community, there are still several common misconceptions. Let’s take a look at a few:
“I will be around all old people.”
Active adult retirement communities typically have an age requirement of 55 or 60+. Those who move into these communities live an independent lifestyle and are in fairly good health. The key word is “active.” These communities are no longer considered the “home” where you’d go once you needed help. They are designed for those leading an engaging, dynamic lifestyle, and offer amenities like a golf course, clubhouse for dining and wellness options. Many are building close to a college or university to offer intergenerational programs and educational opportunities.
“I will be bored … there will be nothing for me to do!”
This couldn’t be further from the truth. Today’s retirement communities offer various social and recreation options daily for their residents, whether it be a book club, tai chi classes, movie night, a picnic or a bus trip. The great thing about living in a retirement community is you can enjoy the advantages of the socialization, or you can choose to remain private in your home.
“There won’t be enough room for all my stuff.”
Today’s retiree wants to maintain their quality of life. They are turned off by the thought of residing in an institutional setting with small rooms and closets and little to no storage. Retirement communities are designed for ease of living, not lack of living. Some offer homes with up to three bedrooms and two-car garages. Many have updated their designs to include open floor plans, sky lights and modern fixtures.
“I can’t afford it.”
Many communities offer flexible payment options which suit the needs of an individual or couple. When looking into a retirement community, it is important to consider what is included in the fees. For example, often fees will include all or part of the utilities, real estate taxes and maintenance both inside and outside the home or apartment, as well as other financial securities. Take the time to review the information at each community to better understand what the payment options provide. Sometimes it’s difficult put a price tag on the peace of mind and other value added services.
“I can still manage in my home … so why move?”
The best time to make a move is when you are still able and healthy. Many people have told me they want to make the move while they can make the decision and not have someone make it for them.
Moving to a retirement community is certainly a proactive decision, but a difficult one, nevertheless. Be a planner and consider all your options. Educate yourself on available choices close to home. Take advantage of tours and open house events to spend time at the community with staff and residents.
If you’re not ready yet, that’s okay. Communities often have waiting lists so you can plan ahead. When planning for your next move, take all your needs and desires into consideration, do a little research and always keep an open mind.