The amenities, activities and services available in today's active retirement communities are varied and stimulating. Knowing what is most important to your sense of well-being during retirement is the first consideration. Thinking carefully about daily activities that positively impact your state of mind is a good place to start.
You might want to begin with the AARP June 2003 article, The 15 Best Places to Reinvent Your Life, which credits "baby boomers for redefining retirement and leading the move to a new generation of dream towns." Reality might be different from the dream, but planning for the dream is the first step in moving forward.
Choosing an Active Retirement Community
The first thing to consider is the location of your Active Retirement Community. What is most important to you and how close do you want to be to outside recreational activities including hiking, golf, tennis, skiing, a marina and the beach? Some communities offer their own groomed nature trails, nearby mountain hiking and a one-hour drive to skiing.
Fitness, health-promotion classes and recreational exercise will be of primary concern to people considering active retirement communities. Most communities will have some or all of the following on site:
- workout facilities
- woodworking shops
- media rooms
- movie theaters
Check the availability of continuing education classes if you have always wanted to become a wine connoisseur or pursue your love of history. If you view yourself as a life learner and want an array of scheduled classes readily available, visit osherfoundation.org to learn about the focus of this excellent institution and the states in which it is available.
How important are planned activities? Many active retirement communities employ full-time Activity Directors to plan events such as:
- day trips
- shopping excursions
- special-interest groups
- book clubs
Many active retirement communities offer a wide variety of travel options, including day trips, member excursions and private travel agencies on site. Many also recognize the importance of activities that are age-appropriate for visiting family and friends.
If you plan to volunteer now that you may have more time, consider your area of interest, whether it is mentoring a student, volunteering at a hospital or environmental concerns.
Find Active Retirement Communities
Preparing for this transition can be daunting, but if one considers the array of activities and learning opportunities that are available in active retirement communities, it becomes easier to pack up the memories and prepare to add many more. Browse our international directory to find active retirement communities near you.
Written by senior housing writer Marky Olson.