5 Things You Need to Know About Retirement Communities

June 03, 2014

Remember when you thought retirement communities were strictly for the old and the sickly? You certainly weren’t alone in your thinking. When it comes to senior living, such negative perceptions have been widely accepted for a long time.

If you’re in the early stages of a search for a retirement community, don’t be surprised to learn that current realities and past perceptions are not synonymous. Here are 5 things you need to know about today’s senior living communities:

1. Possibility of lower living costs

Your home may be paid off, but monthly expenses to maintain it could be higher than you realize. A senior living community can provide more predictable costs that are comparable to – if not lower – than what you are currently responsible for.

2. Resources for selling your home

Surprise! More and more retirement communities can arrange for the cash sell of your house in as little as 30 days. Some will even buy your single-family home. These communities provide professionals to advise you throughout the process, from listing your home to selling it. You may also get help with market analysis and selecting a Realtor.

3. Broader range of places to live

“Old folks homes” are not your only options:

  • Continuing Care Retirement Communities (CCRCs). A combination of independent living, assisted living and skilled nursing home, CCRCs accommodate residents’ evolving needs. Healthy seniors can live independently in apartments or condominiums. If help with Activities of Daily Living (ADLs) is needed, seniors can move into assisted living facilities or nursing homes.
  • Low-income or subsidized housing. Across the country, you can find senior housing complexes, subsidized by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), for those with low incomes.
  • Retirement homes/retirement communities. These communities are groups of housing units restricted for those over a certain age, usually 55 or 62, and older. These residences can be single-family homes, duplexes, mobile homes, townhouses or condominiums. 

4. Fewer instances of isolation

According to the 2012 NIC/ASHA Seniors Housing Construction Trends Report from ASHA and the National Investment Center for the Seniors Housing and Care Industry, an estimated 2,099,616 seniors housing units are in the top 100 metropolitan markets. Now that there are more choices, you are less likely to be limited to a community located far from entertainment, shopping and other leisure-activity options.   

5. Now common to ‘try before you buy’

Many communities can be “sampled” as part of a free trial, or respite care, stay. That way, you can become acquainted with the services and amenities that full-time residents enjoy. Equally as important: You get access to those residents. It’s a perfect opportunity to get a head-start on making new friends.

A 2009 Independent Living Report by ProMatura Group LLC shows that when you become part of a senior living community, you’re more likely to make new friends and try new things. In fact, most seniors report a better experience than they expected. You could be one of them.

For more information on senior care, download our free guide, Regaining Your Confidence After a Life-Changing Injury.

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