A major consideration for many people as they get older is giving up their home and moving to senior retirement communities. Priorities change. The house and garden are just too much. The house is too quiet. Health problems start creeping in. Finances are starting to pinch.
The decision to move to a retirement community can be quite difficult. Often requiring delicate family negotiations to either understand or support the parents decision.
There are now many varied housing possibilities available for seniors with new communities opening every day. These senior retirement communities range from those where residents live independently through to full care nursing homes.
These facilities are characterised by older residents living in an area in which there is some combination of shared services, amenities and support. Providing a wider range at a cheaper cost than one could enjoy living in your own home.
The exceptions are upmarket golf, ocean view or country estate communities where the maintenance fees for the facilities are relatively high.
Types of accommodation and care
The size and facilities and services provided in senior retirement communities range significantly. This also results in a wide range of costs.
Some communities are subsidised for those people with limited incomes either by the state, charity or faith-based groups.
The smallest and most basic of these senior retirement communities is a home sharing arrangement in a single home or apartment. Where more than one person lives and shares the kitchen and communal living space. This arrangement will suit you if you are reasonably independent but are looking for company or additional income.
The other community living options will be considered on the basis of cost and individual preferences.
Ranging in size from a few houses or apartments up to virtually independent villages. These villages will usually provide a range of accommodation. The range of services will often be related to the size of the community. Many of these senior retirement communities will be age based and may include people who are both retired and those nearing retirement.
The five options of living and care
- Independent, healthy residents will live an active self sufficient lifestyle.
- The next category of residents will be provided with some degree of assistance or shared services such as housekeeping and meals. The personal assistance will be limited to daily personal care and dressing. Accommodation is usually in closely located rooms or apartments to facilitate the sharing of services.
- Continuing care communities, also referred to as "life care communities", provide contract specified services, usually for the remainder of the resident's life. The types of services provided range from housekeeping services to skilled nursing care.
- Rehabilitation facilities may be offered within the senior retirement communities for residents recovering from an accident or a medical incident such as a stroke. Rehabilitation centers may be affiliated with another health care organization, such as a hospital or nursing home.
- Nursing and dementia care facilities have fully trained medical staff and certified nursing staff available 24 hours a day to manage and care for the patients. In addition they may also provide other specialised medical care.
Shared services, facilities and benefits
This is often a major consideration and most senior retirement communities provide access to medical services such as nurses, prescription medication delivery and other help.
You should also consider the safety of living in a retirement community as you begin to age; this factor alone can be worth a tremendous cost to many individuals who are without others to care for them in their own homes.
It becomes more and more inconvenient to prepare meals for yourself as you age. As a result old people may become disinterested in food as they either find it too much effort or just can't be bothered to prepare meals.
Malnutrition in aging people is a growing problem. For this reason certain communities require residents to have a minimum number of meals and the cost is included in the monthly levy.
These meals are designed to be nutritious and healthy. Meals times also ensure that residents have some daily social interaction.
Other Cost Savings
Services like cable and internet will usually be cheaper in senior retirement communities. Utilities like water, electricity and gas will also normally be cheaper as they are required for a smaller space.
There is a number of insurance savings you can make if you live in a senior community. Your home owner's insurance will be eliminated. Your automobile insurance can decrease significantly if you rely on the community provided transit the majority of the time you travel. Many seniors even get rid of their cars once they move into a community with transport services.
Whilst there may be some resistance about moving from ones own home to one of these senior retirement communities, many people I've spoken to regret the time they wasted in resisting the move ... so often the move will provide a welcome lifestyle boost.