As area residents age, we grow wiser—at least we hope we will. If we take good care of ourselves, are lucky enough to have inherited good genes, and have some luck, too, we hope to be able to stay physically and mentally active long past many of the birthdays that used to mark old age—or even “advanced old age.”
But if wisdom does actually accrue along the way, even the spryest of local seniors eventually begins to consider whether it might not be a good idea to explore some of today’s alternative post-retirement residential directions. Advil or not, the most physically active seniors will tell you the morning after a full round of golf or a couple of sets of tennis: ouch! Even copious amounts of positive thinking can’t match the persuasive power of aching joints and muscles. Some accommodations to Father Time are going to be called for…
It turns out that on this front, there is a lot of good news developing out there. Probably because the massive wave of Baby Boomers is sweeping into traditional retirement age, more and more residential options are opening up. Town residents approaching retirement have more choices than ever before. Some of the major headings include—
- Staying with family. This used to be the hands-down leading choice when infirmity was at hand: moving in with care-taking relatives (or the reverse). This can be a terrific solution when the family situation fits and doesn’t create unworkable demands on family members.
- Roommates. Sometimes sharing living quarters is an alternative that isn’t given much consideration, but a homeowner who could use help with daily living chores can choose to share their home in exchange for help with shopping, cooking, cleaning, etc.
- Board-and-Care Homes are usually small-scale: residences that provide room and board and varying degrees of daily activity support.
- Congregate Housing caters to seniors able to take care of themselves; providing meals, communal activities, and/or housekeeping services. Retirement Communities can add resort-level facilities and activities into the mix.
- Assisted Living residences—all the way to full Nursing Homes—provide levels of care from minimal all the way to skilled nursing support.
- Continuing Care Retirement Communities—are designed to meet the reality that residence and assistance needs change over time. CCRCs consist of separate apartment-style or condominium units as well as full assisted-living facilities. Residents can move from one to the other if more independent living becomes impractical. Residents pay an entrance fee and monthly charges (they can be hefty)—but CCRCs have the advantage of allowing residents to remain in a familiar community at junctures when a greater dislocation would be much more stressful.
Of course, many local seniors are not about to even consider moving away from town, choosing instead to simply look into downsizing—or switching to a more [knee-friendly] stairless neighborhood home. For those and other real estate endeavors, I’m here to help!