Planning for retirement? What are you imagining? – Travel? Playing ten frames or 18 holes every weekend? Maybe you’ve done your time working a 9 to 5 and now you’re just ready to kick back and relax.
Whatever your vision, chances are, you’ve put at least some thought into future living options. And, if you’ve ever considered community living, then you’ll know you’ve got more than a few choices.
Retirement communities come in all shapes and sizes. Some offer more than others. Naturally, you’ll want to shop around and do some comparing before you commit. But, for now, let’s talk some basic pros and cons to get you started. After all, you have to start somewhere!
There’s no “one-size-fits-all” description for care within a retirement community. Even the smallest development will offer some type of health enrichment, whether it’s a fitness center or periodic home visits from nursing staff. Independent living communities will often employ staff trained in first aid and CPR. The same staff, plus PCAs are employed in an assisted living facility.
Because there’s no “one-size-fits-all,” you have to keep current and future medical needs in mind. Long-term care insurance or other types of savings should be maintained for those “unknowns” life throws at you. And, for those needing immediate care but seeking active living, a continuing care retirement community (CCRC) can be great, but especially pricy, as you pay upfront costs for care you haven’t even used yet.
Retirement communities are literally developed for aging adults. There will always be safety features! ADA-compliant accessibility is usually at the forefront of all designs. And, you can usually expect homes to have plenty of handrails, low cabinets, and even senior-friendly bathrooms. Gated access and key-entry are also pretty common.
Increased safety measures will sometimes mean less freedom in other areas. Because of this, things like visitation times may be limited. Or, pets may not be allowed.
Retirement communities are cheaper than nursing facilities. Also, when you think about amenities, services, and lifestyle – you may find that your overall cost of living is now cheaper.
Costs like entry fees or homeowners association (HOA) fees can be a lot. Entry fees can start at as much as $300,000 in communities like a CCRC. And, HOA fees, on top of that, are usually monthly (around $1,000).
A retirement community can be great. They’re low maintenance, quieter, and many feature resort-like atmospheres. But, this type of place can also feel restrictive, with HOA rules, curfews, and even a lack of diversity.
Make sure to tour lots of communities before making a decision. It might even be a good idea to take a family member with you to help look for certain features and remember to ask questions!
Originally published April 17, 2023