In Which Community Do I See Myself Living in Older Age?

A study by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services says that “people who reach age 65 will likely have a 40 percent chance of entering a nursing home.  About 10 percent of the people who enter a nursing home will stay there five years or more. This year, about nine million men and women over the age of 65 will need eldercare. By 2020, 12 million older Americans will need eldercare.  Most will be cared for at home; with family and friends as the sole caregivers for 70 percent of the elderly”.

The Fact is with the technology available today living in one’s home with help is a completely viable option. However I had to laugh at the retiree who exclaimed” no way I’m staying put with family under foot. I just can’t bear it I’m nobody’s burden. “

Other retirees may be motivated by a need for change, adventure and excitement . Today the choices are many. I personally found assisted living to be a good solution for many. My Aunt Ethel moved to an assisted living community at age 94 and found it ideal. She had her independence, new friends, old friends, precisely as much care (help) as she needed and drivers to get her around town. She especially enjoyed her visits to the senior center twice a week helping out the older folks. However what worked for my Aunt Ethel will likely not work for my generation. Generationally speaking it’s a whole new ball game.

A few options worthy of consideration:

Active Adult Communities – These are being developed all over the country. I visited the Del Web Community in New Mexico and I must admit I was impressed. Plenty of things to do, groups to be a part of, cultural performances, field trips and plenty more. The care and health services are scalable and exceptional.

Senior Adult Communities – These communities are challenged with meeting the needs of future retiring Boomers. In the past a resident would rent an apartment or condo, have a place to go for meals, and van shuttle services. Today a boomer would likely need more to be persuaded to move in. I visited one located right on the beach in La Jolla California, extremely expensive, full service, fantastic ocean view but frankly not particularly appealing to a boomer.

There are plenty of communities around the country that are not age exclusive but offer opportunities that appeal to retirees. Perhaps living on a golf course is your cup of tea, in the desert or maybe living on a lake. Assuming cold weather is not a problem perhaps a condo development near a ski resort or near a national forest. Enjoying a mix of people at varying ages in these types of communities is a positive experience for most retirees.

Today there are communities aimed at attracting single boomer women (Golden Girls Housing) and folks that want to live in a college towns. There are also communities downtown in our cities typically high-rise condos, my grandmother lived in one in Sarasota Florida and was happy in that community.

Other options include living on cruise ships, and the RV lifestyle. Regardless of which community you decide to live in older age, even if it is your current residence and current community, I encourage folks to research and visit different communities. This is especially important if you are certain you know exactly what you are going to do. The market is a quickly changing and growing in various directions all over the country. Friends can also be great sources of leads on different types of communities.

I believe you owe to yourself to perform exhaustive research on this important topic. This approach ensures wherever you choose to live you won’t be faced with wonder if’s, shoulda’s, coulda’s, and potential regrets. The best time for research is in your 50’s and early sixties. There is real peace of mind knowing you will be living in the right place at the right time. Excluding what you don’t want is just as important as knowing what you do want and can afford.

Typically at some point in a retirees life one is required to make this important decision. Family and friends will have good intentions but ultimately one’s freedom and happiness is in one’s own hands. Having a thorough understanding of exactly what one’s options are and what community one wishes to live in before one’s asked; is priceless.


About Roger O'Keefe

My background is in education and finance. I'm a published author and photographer, former radio talk show host, and creative retirement planning expert. My work is a love of labor, I do not sell any products of any kind. I've appeared as a guest on more than 50 national and local television and radio shows. With a Masters in education, I'm a licensed educator and author of the “Future Bright Program” and the California State Department of Education “Teacher Appreciation Program.” I'm a member of the American Association of Retired Persons and the National Care Planning Council NCPC. I'm currently writing my second book and reside in the Rocky Mountains of Colorado. My mission is to reshape retirement planning one person at a time. Please visit my website and take advantage of the many complimentary online seminars, resources, and retirement planning tools.
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