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  Friday, July 21, 2017  
   
 

 
Senior Living: Retirement YOUR Way

 

Whether you dream of spending your days golfing, sailing, taking classes or simply enjoying a maintenance-free lifestyle, retirement your way is within reach with a little bit of planning. Imagine having easy access to state of the art fitness centers, three meals professionally prepared for you each day, and a variety of social opportunities available right at your doorstep. If you’re picturing a resort vacation, think again. Although a quick internet search will lead you to stories of people who have opted to spend their wiser years living in a luxury hotel or even in some cases aboard a cruise ship, you do not need to be quite that adventurous to get the most out of your retirement. Seniors are enjoying all of these amenities at dozens of independent living and active adult communities all across the region.
There are many factors to consider when deciding if an independent living community is the right choice for you. Thinking about where to live years in advance may seem unnecessary, but proactive planning is one of the most important factors for a smooth transition into senior living. With careful planning, life at an independent living community is something to look forward to.
Independent living communities, sometimes referred to as active adult communities, are housing arrangements designed specifically for seniors. There are some variations between each of these facilities, but they all offer a variety of options for seniors wishing to live a more worry-free existence.
 Contrary to popular belief, the term retirement community doesn’t necessarily imply cookie-cutter, mass produced homes. With this style of living, there is truly something for everyone. For the more adventurous senior, there is a remarkable variety of themed communities, ranging from neighborhoods on golf courses to even more specific pastimes such as horseback riding, and even a wilderness-themed community where staff members dress like park rangers. For those considering the possibility of moving into one of the many active adult neighborhoods, there are many questions to consider. Examine your current lifestyle and consider the choices.
If you find that regular home maintenance is becoming too difficult to tackle or simply an inconvenience that you might like to eliminate, if you are missing out on social opportunities because you live in an isolated area or have a lack of transportation, or if you are simply ready for an easier way of life where the hassles of daily living are taken care of, an independent living community is an option worth considering.
While many may view the prospect of moving into this type of community as a loss of freedom, it is often much the opposite. Living alone at home, while it is the right choice for some, can at times become more of a hindrance to independence than a help. An independent living community is not a medical facility or a nursing home and should not be viewed as representing a loss of privacy or independence. In these communities, your house or apartment is yours to come and go from as you please, and how you spend your days is up to you.
Seniors who transition to an independent living facility often find that they become more active than they were when living in their own homes. With so many activities and amenities close at hand, there is always something to do. Not to mention the social advantage of these communities, where you will be surrounded by other active seniors with whom to enjoy this satisfying way of life. An active lifestyle has been shown to increase the mental and physical well being of seniors, which can lead to a longer, happier life.
As with many life changes, the cost of independent living communities is a major concern for prospective buyers. The average monthly cost of independent living communities in Virginia is just under $4,000, but keep in mind that this figure includes all costs of living. One of the most convenient aspects of senior living communities is that very often, the majority of expenses are included in the monthly rent. Instead of having to keep up with separate bills for expenses like cable, internet, heat and water, there is simply the monthly fee that covers it all. Not many types of insurance provide help with the cost of these communities, but it is always beneficial to check with your insurance company to see what your options are.
For those who are considering making the transition to an independent living community, the steps that are taken can determine whether the experience is a stressful headache or an exciting new adventure. Perhaps the single most important factor in making the right decision for senior living is doing the required research. Choosing the wrong place and having to make a switch can skyrocket the cost of the process, not to mention the stress of moving all over again, so it is imperative to start the process early enough to allow time for an informed decision. There are many factors that affect cost of these facilities, such as the location of the community and what type of amenities it offers. Many facilities offer services from which you can pick and choose, so be sure to explore all that a potential home has to offer and consider your personal needs and desires to choose a menu of services and amenities that fit your needs and your budget. Conversely, in some circumstances the all-inclusive route can be the most cost effective, so be sure to weigh your options carefully.
Another thing to keep in mind when exploring your options is the prospect of a continuing care retirement community. These facilities provide independent living, assisted living, and nursing home care all on one campus. Having all of these options in one place eliminates worry about having to make another big move as your needs change later on. This choice can be beneficial to some because it eliminates worry about changing needs in the future, but remember that this is a long-term commitment that should be considered carefully.
Discussing this process with family can be intimidating because of the potential for tension, but keeping everyone informed can lead to a smoother passage into this new phase of life. If spending your golden years enjoying exciting social opportunities in a place where the hassles of daily life are taken care of sounds appealing, an independent living community may be something to consider. Imagine breakfast, lunch, dinner and dancing with friends every day, with no grass to cut and no light bulbs to change. What better way to enjoy a well deserved retirement after a life of hard work?