For seniors hitting retirement age, retirement centers have a great deal of appeal. Retirement centers, or communities, are dedicated apartments or housing communities for people 55 years or older. They are designed for seniors who are still living independently but would like to live without the burden of home ownership maintenance. Retirement centers typically offer services such as light housekeeping, recreational activities, transportation and meals. Freedom is a key ingredient at retirement centers, and residents come and go as they please. Included in most retirement communities are nearby staff who are available in case of emergencies twenty-four hours a day.
There are few factors in considering retirement centers.
- Lifestyle & Activities
Retirement Center Activities
Not all retirement centers are created equally and many offer different levels of service. Being active is very important for people as they reach the golden years, so it is important to find a retirement center that offers activities you will enjoy. When visiting retirement centers, speak to current residents to find out what activities they participate in at the center. Centers typically offer different activities like aerobics classes, book clubs, gardening groups, live performances, community socials, or even planned outings in the area. Some retirement centers around the country offer very unique activities for their residents: the Henry Ford Village in Dearborn, Mich., offers a resident-run television studio; the Carlisle Naples in Naples, Fla., offers a Summer Olympic Challenge; and Laguna Woods Village, in Laguna Woods, Calif., holds a month-long clown college. The best thing to do is to seek out a place that offers the activities you desire.
Retirement Center Locations
The location of the retirement center is probably the biggest decision to make. Balancing between living close to relatives and loved ones with living in the climate you most enjoy can be challenging. There are several things to consider when making your choice.
- Is this a place you can see yourself living for many years? Most seniors over 55 would like to limit the number of times they will move.
- Distance from family – Many seniors choose to live within a reasonable amount of time from family members. Is it convenient for you to visit family or for them to visit you? Is the retirement center close to the different activities you may want to do on your own?
- Climate - Is the climate one that is comfortable and you could see yourself living in for a long time? Have you lived in this type of climate before? Does the climate fit your lifestyle?
Retirement Centers Amenities
Not all retirement centers offer the same amenities. Do they offer the activities you most desire? Does the cost include meals, housekeeping and local transportation? Some seniors make assumptions about what services are or are not offered. Ask current residents their favorite amenities from the center and if they are happy with the level of service they receive.
Retirement Center Cost
Not surprisingly the cost of a retirement center is a common question seniors most ask. There is no straight answer, as so much of the cost is dependent on location and levels of service. Retirement homes are nearly exclusively paid out-of-pocket by the resident. What needs to be considered closely is the amount of services, food and rent that is included in the price. For some, the cost is not as great when you consider that the retirement center can provide many of the expenses you would otherwise incur, such as food and entertainment.
Written by senior housing staff writer