Retirement Village

A retirement village can be a delightful place for retirees to be active, social and at home in a community that serves their needs. When planning for retirement, seniors must consider their housing options carefully. Even without a mortgage to worry about, the cost and labor of maintaining a house may be more than you want to deal with when your working days end. Private residences can give retirees a sense of isolation. A retirement village is a planned community of people with similar interests and attractive amenities to make retirement a luxury rather than a burden.

Many seniors fear the day they will be sent to "a home." Retirement communities were once simply nursing homes where residents had little autonomy and were treated as patients rather than community members. For the healthy, vibrant retiree, such care is overkill. Active seniors are looking for a place to socialize and live independently without having to worry about the perils of home ownership and the loneliness that can accompany retirement. A retirement village comes in one of many forms, and there is a place that will suit your needs and interests as you transition into this stage of life.

Types of Village

Moving into a retirement village does not mean abandonment of independence. A popular set-up for these communities is neighborhoods of single-family homes anchored by a community center and amenities like tennis courts, golf courses, swimming pools, theatres and more. The largest of these resemble self-contained communities with shopping, worship and medical care on site. Their homes are their own with no roommates or omnipresent staff to worry about. Residents here can live their lives just as before while communing with like-minded people.

A condominium village is similar, with connected private housing that often surrounds recreation and leisure amenities. These are often more affordable than maintaining a house, and residents can usually enjoy services like housekeeping, laundry and dining facilities. These exist in most major cities, though many people take retirement as an opportunity to relocate to sunnier locales. Another popular destination for retirees is college towns, where they can enjoy the youthful vibe, endless activity and offerings of continuing education.

Neither type of village resembles a hospital. Residents can be as independent as they wish. Many offer assisted living when necessary, but an independent-living retirement village does not pathologize retiring. Aging is not a disease, and finding a village that lets you live as young as you feel can increase longevity and improve satisfaction in later years.

Choosing a Community

Housing is one of the most costly expenses of retiring if you do not own your home. Budgeting properly for your housing during the financial retirement planning stages ensures there will not be upheaval and uncertainty regarding your living arrangements once your retirement is underway. You must be realistic about your means, and you and your financial advisor should balance cost and quality to find a place that suits you without depleting your retired benefits.

The first step is to take a retirement village tour. Visiting several communities will give you an idea of what is available and at what cost. Next, budget generously for housing, taking into account other expenses like groceries, medical care, activities and utilities, and retired income and how cash flow will change over the years. Living above your means is not sustainable, especially for those on a fixed income, so discuss your budget candidly with your financial advisor.

Finally, prioritize what you want out of a retirement village. After decades of working hard, you probably don't envision yourself in a bare-bones facility with four walls and a roof. Retiring is a milestone and an earned time for enjoyment and leisure. Staying active and engaging in activities that you enjoy can greatly improve physical and mental health in seniors.

If staying physically fit is a priority, find a village that offers a gym, swimming, tennis or other challenging fitness activities. If you prefer social leisure, look for golf, poker or bridge. You have earned the time for relaxation, and many facilities offer yoga and massage therapy, full-service spas and beauty salons for residents. A retirement village can offer intellectual stimulation as well with seminars, special interest courses and discussion groups to engage your cerebral side.

Of course, budget is paramount. Don't settle for a lackluster facility if there is a better village out there within your price range, but don't break the bank with luxurious living outside your means. Daily zumba classes may sound like a great idea, but don't pay for services you will never use. All-inclusive villages may be attractive, but they could also be money pit. Finding a retirement village that will make your retired years comfortable, enjoyable and stimulating will improve your quality of life, a provision you deserve after decades in the working world.

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