Senior Communities: How to Find Your New Home

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4 minutes

Now that you’re retired, you may be thinking it’s time to downsize your home or spend more time playing golf rather than mowing your lawn. Do you simply move into a smaller home or maybe consider a senior living community? Maybe you just stay put? It may seem like a daunting and emotional decision, but we’re taking a look at all the pros and cons and how to help you find your new home, or if you should stay home.

Related: Making the Most Of Your Golden Years

Staying Home

Let’s face it, moving isn’t cheap. And once you leave your home, it’s not likely you’ll be able to move back into it down the road. It’s a big decision. You likely have emotional ties to your home, especially if you’ve lived there for a long time. You know what your current expenses are, especially if your home is paid off. Many people are choosing to age in place. But what about long-term maintenance, being able to maintain a yard, or keeping the home clean as you age?

It’s important to keep in mind the costs associated with making your home more senior-friendly with such things as ramps or walk-in tubs. And, as a fact of aging, we often require the assistance of a caregiver. Those costs add up. Another consideration is whether or not where you’re living is really where you want to be. Goodbye snow, hello sunny Florida!

So, the upsides to staying home are keeping memories, close friends, and a familiar city. However, the additional costs down the road could add up. As a bonus of moving, you may be moving to that dream beach town or mountain retreat – that’s something to get excited about!

Tips for Making Your Home Senior-Friendly

If you’ve decided that staying in your home or downsizing to a new one is what’s right for you, we’ve pulled together some tips for making your home senior-friendly so your home can adapt to your changing needs:

  • Add non-slip flooring in the entryway inside and non-slip strips on the outside as well.
  • Make sure you have a covered entryway into your home.
  • Add rails on both sides of the stairs if you’re not in a single-story home.
  • Increase the lighting in your home.
  • Install pressure-balanced valves on faucets to better regulate temperatures regardless of pressure changes.
  • Switch to a microwave drawer for easier access.
  • Make sure your appliances have easy-to-read controls and simple-to-use buttons.
  • Add non-slip or non-skid bath mats to your tubs and showers.
  • Install grab bars in the shower or tub.

By planning ahead with simple modifications, you can feel more safe and secure aging in place.

Moving to a Retirement Community

Retirement or senior communities have many advantages, especially if you’re alone. Not only do you not have to think about yard or home maintenance, you have the added benefit of consolidation of expenses. In one monthly billing statement, you see rent, food, utilities, and even entertainment.

Senior communities also offer a wide range of amenities that can make you feel like you’re in an upscale resort. From swimming pools and spas to putting greens and tennis courts, there are so many options for staying active and entertained. Speaking of entertainment, a huge plus for senior communities is the rich social life they promote. Staying connected is important, especially as we age. Many communities offer book clubs, classes, coffee meetups, and morning brunches. Some even have volunteer opportunities! It’s a wonderful way to meet new people.

Retirement communities also offer a sense of safety and security in the event of an accident. They also offer personal care services to help you continue to live a more independent life as you age.

Tips on Finding the Right Senior Community

Think resort and lifestyle
First things first, think of a resort community rather than a retirement home. These communities provide a plethora of benefits and services and are anything but industrial feeling. Take into consideration your lifestyle and look for a community that lets you live as you choose.

Keep continuing care in mind
The need for continuing care may not be something you wish to think about, but it’s something you’ll likely face. Make sure you understand what type of medical or caregiving services are provided.

Stay within your budget
Budget is always a primary concern whether you stay home or choose to move into a retirement community. Talk with a trusted advisor regarding your finances and long-term savings. Be sure to factor in any additional fees like a buy-in fee.

Consider the location
In real estate, they always say, “Location. Location. Location.” The same holds true for finding the right home for you — whether that’s staying at your current home, moving to a smaller home, or living in a retirement community. So if you’re tired of rainy weather, then opt for a sunnier location.

Staying Home or Moving to a Community—What’s the Right Choice?

When it comes to aging in place or moving to a senior living community, the right choice is the one that’s best for you. Taking time to consider your options early and weighing the pros and cons carefully can help make a choice easier and help you shape the retired life you always wanted.

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