At some point in life, many people face the decision of moving into retirement communities or welcoming in-home care. Living in these retirement communities can be a step up to aging in a place, where there is actually more independence. This is because you are not busy caring for a house or being confined to a solitary life in a private home. In fact, according to the article “The Many Faces of Aging” from Harrisburg Magazine, it can be a very dynamic option.
Deciding to buy or rent a home in an age-restricted retirement community is a major step toward achieving a new lifestyle. It’s important to consider a number of factors, so you can make the right choice. Here are some questions and answers to consider.
What’s your budget? Make sure that you have the numbers right. Consider additional expenses, like yearly or monthly resident fees. Some luxury retirement communities have equity memberships, which require extra financial investment. Don’t forget taxes.
What are the rules and covenants? Every community will have some kind of homeowner’s association that governs what residents can and cannot do. If you want to have grandchildren stay with you for an extended period of time, make sure that this is permitted in the communities you are considering. The homeowner’s association will implement and enforce restrictions, so know what they are beforehand.
What are the neighbors like? Your future social life is key to your enjoyment of the new community. If you are seeking like-minded people, be sure you’ll know what kind of people live there. Get a sense of the general vibe and personalities. Will you feel included and accepted?
What will a different climate feel like year-round? If you are thinking about moving far from your current home, be sure the new climate suits you. Rent before you buy, if at all possible. A southern home is great during the winter, but if you’re too uncomfortable with summer heat, or living most of your summer in air-conditioned spaces, it may not be for you.
Are there activities you’d enjoy? Make sure the activities you like are offered. If you are a reader, you’ll prefer a community with an active lending library and book groups. A golfer will, of course, want a high-quality golf course (although there will likely be additional fees).
Is good medical care nearby? Every community is different. In large retirement communities, there may be on-site health care services. Some may rely on local ambulance companies and hospitals for all medical care. Medical services that are five minutes away may be a better choice, than those that require a one-hour transport to a hospital.
One of the biggest questions is, can you imagine yourself being happy in the community? If it represents a chance to thrive and grow safely as you age, then it just may be the right place for you.
Reference: Harrisburg Magazine (Nov. 8, 2019) “The Many Faces of Aging”