As retirement approaches, or later as signs of aging limit mobility, people have several choices to consider. Depending on health and finances, retirees can consider staying in place, selling the home and moving to a retirement community, or even moving to an assisted living housing choice.
Choosing A Retirement Community
For those who want to move to a retirement community, it is important to choose wisely. There are several types of independent living choices including Senior apartments, age-restricted communities, continuing care retirement communities, and senior co-housing.
Senior apartments often require residents to be at least 55 years old. They are apartment complexes that offer different levels of independence and amenities. These communities can be basic or offer different levels of luxury.
Age-restricted communities are similar to senior apartments except that seniors can purchase their own properties and share amenities with the other community residents. There may be a choice of stand-alone homes, town houses, or apartments.
The continuing care retirement communities are meant for seniors who want long-term living arrangements that can change as their needs change, such as independent living to assisted living to skilled care services. People stay in the same unit, the service level changes as needed.
Senior co-housing is a new choice for senior living. Here the senior community consists of privately-owned homes with residents living independently and working together to maintain the community, socialize, and meet resident’s needs. The co-housing communities are designed to let seniors age in place and not have to move to a nursing home care facility.
What do People consider When Choosing Retirement Communities?
What makes a retirement community right for you? Before deciding on a retirement option consider if it is close to family and friends, makes it easy to have visitors, and have the right level of care for you? Is there transportation to grocery and other shopping locations or doctor’s appointments? Can you afford it? What is included in the basic monthly charges? Are pets allowed? And finally, has the community or facility passed recent state inspections?
Choosing The Right Retirement Option for You
Personal and financial factors must be considered when choosing retirement housing. What are the needs of the couple or individual seeking retirement housing? Levels of independence, and care include:
1. Independent living is for people who are healthy and active, can manage their own personal care, finances, and medications. These people may want to travel and socialize.
2. Assisted living maintains the senior resident’s privacy and independence in an apartment setting. This setting offers assistance with personal care and safety, cleaning and maintenance, meal preparation, and mobility issues. They offer socialization opportunities to avoid isolation.
3. Memory care is the type of care and setting people with Alzheimer’s disease or other types of dementia may need. This setting offers around-the-clock supervision and management of behaviors affecting safety, such as aggression or wandering. Supervision is enhanced in this setting and involves medical care, meals, help with personal care and needs, and more.
4. The continuing care type of community is meant for people who can live independently now but anticipate changes in care requirements in the future. This is good for couples that want to stay together but have different care requirements.
Each retired person or couple, along with their families, must decide which senior living arrangement meets their needs. The family physician may be able to help. Retirement community management often has councilors to assist families.