Robin Cruson
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by Colin Milner, CEO, International Council on Active Aging


Retirement communities are a living option welcomed by all kinds of people today. Outdated views can stop some men and women from seeing retirement communities as many of them really are today. But others choose these communities for the vibrant lifestyles they offer as well as the services and support. In fact, some people become more active after they move to a community because everything is there and easily accessed.

Here are four things to consider about making the move.


1. Why do you want to move?

There are lots of reasons to make the move. The word “community” attracts people who want to connect with others. Some people want the lifestyle. Others need ongoing assistance or care. The only reason that matters is your own personal reason.

2. Where do you want to live?

Do you want to stay close to family and friends or move to another part of the country? Do you want to live in the suburbs, city, or countryside? You’ll find everything from downtown loft apartments to countryside cottages available today. Also consider what kind of community will meet your needs, wants, expectations, and desires. Some options include active adult, independent living, assisted living, and long-term care communities. Continuing care retirement communities offer all these services on one campus.

3. What do you want out of the community?

People often feel reenergized when they move to a retirement community. To make the most of your opportunities, research the lifestyle options and services available. Ask how a community will support you if you want to connect with others, become fitter and healthier, train your brain, learn new things, or experience new adventures. Does the community have qualified staff to help you meet your goals—for example, fitness instructors, nutritionists, or life coaches? If you need ongoing assistance and care for yourself or a spouse, ask what services are available on campus. Examples include physical and occupational therapy, assisted living, nursing, and memory care services. No matter what drives a move - lifestyle or care support - it is best to plan for all life’s possibilities.

4. What is your bottom line?

Can you afford that house or apartment in a retirement community? That is another key question. The answer is not always simple. Why? It’s not just a matter of whether you can buy the place, but whether you can live in it based on your lifestyle and expenses. Ask each community to break down its fees, as well as any additional amenities they offer for an extra charge. Be sure you understand all the financial implications before buying. There is nothing worse than finding out you can’t afford to live in a home once you’ve bought it. Also, look at contracts in detail. These may vary based on services provided. Finally, remember to check a community’s finances to make sure the organization is stable.

As the saying goes, hope for the best and plan for the rest. Then make your move.


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Glossary of senior living terms: Learn about commonly used terms and the different senior housing and care choices available. Visit the official U.S. government site for Medicare.


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