By: Darleen Mahoney
Now that we have that in the open, what do baby boomers want in their retirement homes? How do you go about getting not only what you want, but what you need?
The best advice: do copious amounts of research on what is available in the location that is ideal for you – including additional support nearby and social opportunities available – and be realistic about your long-term physical needs, your financial resources. “It’s important to align the emotional, social and financial parts of retiring,” says Denise Leish, a financial adviser in Silver Spring, Maryland.
The basic foundations in a retirement community that you should look for:
- Transportation – Senior transportation programs
- Parks nearby and walkable neighborhoods
- Safe neighborhoods-check the crime rates
- Health care- Available health care nearby with doctors that accept Medicare, specialists, and hospitals
- Other services – Meals on Wheels and other Senior focused services
- Shopping, Grocery Stores and Restaurants – Close enough that you will be able to get out and enjoy the community and social activities without a long drive.
- Social Integration – Neighborhood activities, programs, travel opportunities, etc.
Sara Little, 68, and Barbara Shaver, 69, offer a few pieces of advice on making a move into retirement especially if you decide to relocate to a new area, make sure you like the area before you buy and do it while your still young and can enjoy it. They moved to an over-55 community in Sarasota, Florida, they rented nearby to make sure they’d like the area. At the core of their decision: They had “some grounding” there, Little says.
“We had friends who already lived here, and more were moving here,” Little says. “We also got involved in church right away and in activities like swimming and sailing” https://www.cnbc.com/id/100549801.
In response to baby boomers’ demands for a different kind of retirement lifestyle, many developers are designing communities with a village feel to them to include shopping, dining, professional services and community programs. One good example is The Villages in Central Florida, which calls itself the “premier active adult community”. It is quite large, with an estimated 157,000 retirees, it touts its own zip code and daily newspaper. Another example, The Classic at Hillcrest Greens, is built on the site of a former golf course in the western Wisconsin community of Altoona. Its amenities include a restaurant, yoga and fitness studio, game room, library and a salon.
Its fair to say that there is something for everyone if you are entering the age of retirement and a 55+ community is an option. You no longer must settle for a retirement community whose only activities are shuffleboard and golf, there is so much more! Spend some time and do your research. Know what is available and don’t be afraid to ask questions and visit these locations and get to know your future neighbors.