Retirement Communities: The Good and the Bad

Source: Thinkstock

Source: Thinkstock

Retirement can be a fun time filled with new opportunities for relaxing activities and adventures. However, determining where you want to live after you retire can be difficult. While maintaining a home or living in an apartment are two possible ideas, other people move into retirement communities. Retirement communities are housing areas designed for retired (or partially retired) individuals, many of whom can take care of themselves with little or no assistance. Many people enjoy retirement communities because they foster a sense of safety and community. As all the people are retired, people living in these communities can often find things in common.

However, retirement communities are not entirely positive; like all housing options, they have pluses and negatives. If you are considering a retirement community, read on to get a big picture of the many sides of retirement communities.

There are many different types of retirement communities, from large apartment buildings, homes, and also mobile homes, or RV communities. Some communities encourage home care assistance, whereas others house people who can primarily care for themselves. Many communities have specific age requirements, and often include staff members or committees that oversee community involvement and activities. Meals also differ at different communities; some communities eat at least one meal together (and often more), whereas other communities basically involve people living and completing all parts of life separately, except occasionally coming together for specific events or activities.

The first thing you would want to determine if you are considering a retirement community is which type of community you would want to live in. If you are looking for limited interactions with others, but you feel comfortable being around others your age, then you might want to an independent community. On the other hand, if you prefer a lot of entertainment and amenities, you should consider a community that is more in-line with that type of lifestyle.

Source: Thinkstock

Source: Thinkstock

Each of the different community types have their own costs, and some are generally more expensive than others. Community care retirement communities can be very expensive. Many require initial entrance fees of several thousands of dollars and up; these fees guarantee that you will have access to care for the rest of your life. The monthly cost can also get very expensive, often starting at $1,000 or more after the initial entrance fee. The cost for community care retirement communities, as well as independent living communities and other retirement communities, will vary depending on where you live and which options you choose, but the truth remains that this type of living can get very expensive. For some people, this is one of the bad parts about retirement communities, especially because Medicare and insurance plans often don’t help with the cost.

Another negative is that many people feel that retirement communities as a whole lack qualified and kind staff who work well with the elderly. The staff may be underpaid, or just prefer to work somewhere else. Even those who are trained and truly enjoy working at a retirement community occasionally get exhausted or worn out, and may not be as caring or as helpful as necessary.

Many retirees and families agree that it can be nearly impossible to find someone to help care for you or your family member who can ever match a son, daughter, or beloved family member. In addition, even if the community you choose has loving staff members who are practically family, a retirement community just isn’t for everyone, especially if you choose a retirement community that is too independent (or not independent enough.)

Source: Thinkstock

Source: Thinkstock

On the other hand, there are many positive aspects of retirement communities. For some people, retirement communities allow for independent living, or some assistance, without feeling cramped or watched all day. In addition, many people enjoy living in retirement communities because of the activities and the company that they come with. More structured communities also offer more choices for entertainment and activities, which helps fight boredom.

For those families that cannot have a retiree live with them, retirement communities can offer a safe and fun place for their family member to get the care that they need, while still maintaining some independence. For those people who need constant help, a community care facility can also be ideal. Although retirement communities sometimes help the elderly, they can just as easily help those people who have retired recently. Many people enjoy retirement communities at a young age because of the many options they offer.

Retirement communities, like any housing option, include positives and negatives. Before you choose one for yourself or your loved one, make sure that you are choosing the right kind that fits the needs of the person who is going to live there. You may find that a retirement community is perfect, and you may find that other retirement housing is a better fit. You may also decide that staying in the home you are in (or helping a loved one to do so) is your best bet. Whatever your plan is, just make sure that you are planning for retirement.

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