As you approach retirement age, it seems like you suddenly have a set of new things to think about. Whether you want to keep working and where you want to live will likely be two of your biggest concerns. While some people prefer to stay in their homes as long as possible, others may find that downsizing feels like the right decision.
Pro: Amenities and entertainment
Depending on what activities you enjoy, you may be able to find a retirement community that caters to your interest. You may be able to find a community near a golf course, for example, or ones that include a swimming pool or game room.
Con: Paying for services you don’t use
Some retirement communities offer assisted living services. However, depending on which community you choose, you may be unknowingly paying for these services—even if you don’t use them. You might not be able to opt out, either.
Pro: Fixed costs
You’ll have a fixed cost per month that includes rent, utilities, maintenance, and other services. While this can get expensive depending on what package and community you choose, it does make it easy to budget.
In many communities, residents pay an entrance fee when moving in. These may or may not be refundable, and they may cost more than you expect. You can also expect monthly community fees that go toward community maintenance.
Pro: Accessibility options
Living spaces in retirement complexes are designed with more consideration for people who use wheelchairs, walkers, or canes. This will also make your home safer should your physical condition change over time.
Con: Fluctuating annual rates
It isn’t uncommon for retirement communities to adjust their rates for inflation. This means residents could be paying more from one year to the next.
Pro: Friendly faces
You’re guaranteed to be surrounded by people with whom you share at least one thing in common. You’ll probably enjoy the company of other mature adults in your neighborhood—a nice change if you’re currently surrounded by busy young families.
Con: An aging community
It’s nice to be around people with whom you share common traits. However, it can also be difficult to be part of an aging community. Witnessing the mental/physical decline of others can take a toll on your mental health.
Pro: Aid when you need it
If you choose to move to assisted living, you’ll have access to care when you need it. This can take an enormous burden off of you!
Con: Less privacy than you had
If you require assistance, staff members will likely have to enter your home. Some communities also require wellness inspections. Both of these things can mean you have less privacy than you’re accustomed to in your home.
Pro: Fun atmosphere
Many retirement communities are meant to feel more “fun” than a traditional neighborhood. You can participate in as many of the activities as you choose, or you can sit back and enjoy your well-deserved retirement.
Con: Less freedom
Some retirement communities have strict rules about everything from decorations to curfews. If you enjoy late nights or going all-out on holiday decorations, a retirement community may not be the place for you. Sometimes these rules also include age restrictions on visitors.
Pro: Less to maintain
As you get older, it can become more difficult or even dangerous to work around the house. However, in retirement communities someone else performs maintenance and repair tasks so you don’t have to.
You may not need much space, but retirement community homes and apartments are typically fairly small. While this may not matter if you live alone or with a spouse, it can be difficult to manage if you enjoy entertaining guests.
Do you live in a retirement community? Are you considering it? What do you like or dislike about it? Let us know in the comments!