Retirement-communities, a wide variety of choices

The phrase retirement-communities covers a wide variety of housing types for retired persons. In fact, the word “community” can cover a wide variety of areas of population from a village to a neighborhood or city. A nursing home or assisted living facility can also be called a retirement-community and some include that phrase in their name.

I consider nursing homes and assisted living facilities more as senior health care facilities or health campuses rather than communities. While most assisted living facilities are more residential, both nursing homes and assisted living facilities provide 24-hour supervision, three meals a day, and assistance with everyday activities for a more “dependent” elderly population.

My preferred definition of a retirement community is based on the ability of residents to live independently. Many such communities typically provide a variety of social activities, travel opportunities, health and wellness programs, spiritual programs and good nutrition. The important reason for these amenities is not just to keep residents busy but to keep them involved, active and healthy. The ultimate goal is to maintain health and independence for as long as possible.

Housing communities without services or age restrictions often serve as retirement housing. Included in this category are senior friendly, market rent apartments, condominiums, and single family housing communities.

Most housing communities for active seniors are age restricted and specifically designed for that purpose and very often with the input of prospective residents. They can be in the form of apartment homes (sometimes called congregate living), garden homes, or single family dwellings. These communities usually have special amenities designed with the needs and wants of retirees in mind. Those amenities may include:

  • A wellness center some staffed with a certified exercise physiologist.
  • A club house for social and educational activities and public information events.
  • Restaurant style dining facility
  • On-site theater facility with current movie productions
  • A swimming pool
  • Retail outlets or community store
  • On-site banking services
  • Clinic services some including physician and dental services
  • Emergency response services
  • Free scheduled transportation services
  • Access to golf courses some free such as at the Villages in Florida

Continuing care retirement communities (CCRC’s) are a good choice for many people because they provide active independent living with supportive and health services as needed. Some CCRC’s require an entrance fee and some a simple market rent lease. Many also offer on-site:

  • Assisted living
  • Skilled nursing care
  • Memory care and
  • Home health care.

There are many varieties of retirement-communities in the market. Your choice will depend on what kind of lifestyle and security that you want or need.

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