If you’re reaching retirement age you might be wondering if moving is the right decision for you. There are many choices available in retirement homes. But, with so many choices, how do you know which is right for you? You may be asking yourself: where do I even begin to find retirement homes near me? And what kind of retirement home should I be looking for – should I be searching for assisted living homes in my area, or do I need to find nearby senior apartments that do not provide any additional assistance services? Or, you may be at a stage in life where you need 24/7 skilled nursing services and are looking for nursing homes in your area . Or, perhaps you are looking for all of the amenities that a senior community will offer you and are better suited for senior communities near you. Whatever your situation is, it’s important to know the different types of retirement homes, their costs, how to find a retirement home near you and what to expect with each.
Many people think of a retirement home as an old age home. The Baby Boomer Generation has really turned the notion of aging on its ear. Seniors today aren’t content to grow old and then naturally move to a nursing home.
Seniors today have a lot of options. Time takes its toll on every body, but today seniors have the ability to ease into retirement gracefully, while still maintaining their lives. A retirement home provides a middle ground between totally independent living and a nursing home.
A retirement home is usually a multi-resident housing facility. It is usually apartment-style. These retirement homes might be for rent, just like an apartment, or they might be purchased as a condo unit. These units might house an individual or couples.
A retirement home includes more central common areas than a normal apartment building. These are areas for serving meals, social gatherings, and recreation activities.
A retirement home might be one building or part of a retirement community. A retirement community is made up of multiple buildings in a development complex or campus.
Retirement homes and retirement communities fall into a housing category called age-restricted communities. The Fair Housing Act and Housing for Older Persons Act allow these designations and they are completely legal if the development abides by the guidelines and exceptions.
An age-restricted retirement home stipulates a minimum age of 55 years of age for at least one of the residents, in a 55+ Community. 62 Plus Communities are more restrictive and require all residents to be at least 62 years of age. Neither category of age-restricted housing allows minors less than 18 years of age to be a permanent resident.
All retirement homes should be designed with the senior citizen in mind. Aisleways and doorways should be wide for wheelchairs and walkers. There should be well lit corridors and large lettering for rooms and exits. Bathrooms especially should have built-in safety features like wall handles and non-slip surfaces. Door knobs and water fixtures should be levers to assist arthritic hands.
An average retirement home might suit your needs just fine, but a luxury retirement home will have added perks to add to your comfort and wellbeing. A luxury retirement home will add extra aesthetic touches, like contrasting paint choices, textured surfaces, automatically adjusting lighting depending on the time of day to help residents prepare to rest at night or invigorate them in the morning.
An average retirement home should provide 2-3 healthy meals per day. A luxury retirement home will provide better choices of meals, using a better selection of ingredients for the discerning palate.
One of the benefits of living in any retirement home is having close neighbors. As we age, we can become isolated and less social if we are not confident in our mobility. Having neighbors in such close proximity who might also have the same issues can make seniors share more of their experiences.
A quality retirement home will encourage and make social activities easy to participate in. Retirement homes often use the common areas of the building to hold events to increase the social interaction of residents. These might be primarily social, but they might also include wellness or informative meetings.
One distinction between the average retirement home and a luxury retirement home is personal enrichment. Luxury retirement homes and luxury retirement communities will have a more extensive variety of social activities. A luxury retirement home will tend to hold a higher quantity of activities, and might also have higher quality activities, such as professor lead lectures from the local university or trips to cultural centers.
A primary concern of many seniors is cognitive decline. This decline begins earlier than most people realize, but it becomes more evident in retirement years. Keeping the mind active and engaged is recognized as being a deterrent to cognitive decline. A quality retirement home will recognize this and provide some sort of activity. Providing social interaction and physical activities are acceptable as minimum activities if budget is a limiting factor. This is an area where luxury retirement homes demonstrate their value by providing specialized activities to keep seniors’ minds sharp.
Daily medical care is not normally provided in retirement homes, but daily assistive services might be available for additional fees, depending on the location.
It is an understatement to say that retirement living expenses can be high. There is a wide range of pricing. Retirement home pricing can start as low as $1,500 per month and extend to $10,000+ per month. This range includes luxury retirement homes which can be $5,000 and higher per month. The average retirement home is $2,000 per month.
Retirement home pricing is like any type of housing. Location plays a significant role in the costs. Many seniors move south as they age to avoid harsh northern winters. This makes for a more competitive market for retirement homes in the south.
The northeast has the 5 highest states for retirement home costs, New York, Massachusetts, Connecticut, New Hampshire, and Maryland, at $3,400 or higher per month.
The five least expensive states for retirement home costs are Minnesota, South Dakota, Utah, Illinois, and Mississippi at $1,900 per month or below.
These per month costs do not include a possible one-time entrance fee to become a resident of the retirement home or retirement community. These might start at $50,000 for an average retirement home or go as high as 1.5 million or more for a luxury retirement home. This will depend on the location and services made available to residents.
Medicare does not pay for room and board so do not expect it to cover your retirement living costs. It only pays for medical services.
There’s something special in a person who is willing to risk their life in service to their country. A career of serving in the armed forces demonstrates a dedication which the U.S. government and American people strive to repay.
In 1991, Congress combined the U.S. Naval Home and U.S. Soldiers’ and Armed Services Home together into the Armed Forces Retirement Home (AFRH). In 2002, the two facilities were renamed again to include their specific locations, Gulfport, Mississippi and Washington, (D.C.).
These two federally run facilities are restricted to only honorably discharged veterans. Married couples may become residents, but both must qualify individually. A spouse, widow, or widower of a service member is not entitled to a residence here unless that individual was a service member and qualifies themselves. There are privately run, independent veterans’ retirement homes that will allow spouses, widows, and/or widowers who are not veterans themselves.
The AFRH homes provide for an independent lifestyle with safety, comfort, and personal enrichment.
Provided by AFRH:
All residents must be a minimum of 60 years of age at time of application. All applicants must be capable of independent living at the time of applying, have no felony convictions, with no current drug or alcohol addictions, or psychiatric problems.
Those veterans meeting the initial application criteria may increase daily assistive services as required. The federal government classifies these as Independent Living, Assisted Living, Independent Living Plus and Long Term Custodial Care.
Costs for the Armed Forces Retirement Homes are set on an annual basis with cost adjustments for inflation and cost of living adjustments (COLA).
As of last year:
Resident income amounts are taken from the most recently filed tax return, but include sources of taxable and non-taxable income.
Retirement is a life goal for many of us, but it always seems so far in the future that it’s easy to put off. Planning for moving during retirement is very important in addition to planning for other aspects of retirement, and should be done ahead of time. Many put off retirement planning and then are rudely surprised when they are faced with a shortfall of funds.
It used to be that companies paid a secure and reliable pension, but that trend has been declining in favor of defined contribution plans (401K). Some states and municipalities which have traditionally provided pensions are starting to phase in 401K plans due to the high overhead of pension plans.
For those workers lucky enough to receive a pension it can still be unreliable. Companies deposit money into a pension fund to invest and grow over time. However, many pension funds are far from reaching their obligations due to the long period of low interest rates.
A company will “freeze” a pension plan if it decides to disallow new employees from the plan. This is the case where companies or governments transition to a 401K. A pension freeze does not necessarily affect all pension recipients.
It seems that everyone has heard of Social Security and has a distorted view of the funds that will be received. Social Security can’t be expected to pay all the costs associated with retirement living. The average social security monthly check is currently under $1,200. You can check the Social Security Association’s website to confirm your estimated social security benefits as part of your retirement planning.
Having a financial plan is rewarding and makes life less stressful because you can prepare to meet life’s milestones. Set realistic goals and then create a plan to achieve those goals. Periodically assessing progress will confirm that you are on the right path to retirement or will inform you that a change is required.
Most seniors would prefer to live in their homes for the rest of their lives. The family home might be paid for so it’s easy to overlook housing in a retirement plan.
A move to a retirement home can be due to a change in goals or due to physical or financial changes. Seniors who have raised families might find that their large family home is no longer needed and creates unnecessary maintenance and expense. Many seniors find that downsizing provides them with more freedom and mobility. If there is a lot of equity in that family home, this can provide a good-sized lump sum to invest in a newer smaller retirement home that will meet their changing needs.
Aside from the financial aspects of planning for retirement is how to physically prepare to move. A retirement home is still a home, but it will probably be smaller than a senior’s current home. That current home is probably full of items that will no longer be needed or won’t fit in the smaller space.
Decide what items you want to keep and that will fit in your new space. What will you do with the remaining items such as extra bedroom furniture, décor items, lawn furniture? Are there family members who could use them? Items can also be sold or donated.
Prepare for this reduction so it’s gradual and not all at once. Doing this gradually will also help family members who often accept items that are of no use to them, solely because they couldn’t cope with the idea of seeing something leave the family during your move into a retirement home.
No one wants to face the fact that time stands still for no one. Even an active senior will have to face the fact of age eventually. Moving to a retirement home is not a sign that you are giving up on living or that you are in mental or physical decline.
Moving anywhere can be stressful, but moving to a retirement home can be one of the less auspicious milestones in life. This is true for the senior who is moving, but also for the family.
Remain positive about moving to a retirement home. Looking at the bright side of things helps to highlight several positive aspects of retirement homes.
Maintaining a home can be expensive and time consuming, such as shoveling snow, mowing the lawn, painting the shutters. A recent study shows that the average woman spends approximately 2 hours per day preparing food, cleaning, doing laundry, and maintenance. The average man spends approximately 1 hour per day doing some variation of the same tasks. Moving to a retirement home can free-up 2 hours of time per day that can be spent on more enriching activities.
Retirement homes and retirement communities can provide camaraderie. These retirement homes and retirement communities house seniors who are in the same age group and probably in similar circumstances.
Retirement homes can and will prevent isolation and cognitive decline. Organized social interaction and enriching activities can keep residents from social withdrawal. Whatever your reasons for moving into retirement homes may be, do your research diligently and find the best retirement home near you that’s perfect for your situation.