Growing up I had two very different grandmothers: one was vivacious, played on her work softball team, traveled with seniors groups, and wouldn’t leave the house without a perfectly made up face and every hair in place. My other grandmother was the complete opposite; she always seemed frail, she had an intimate circle of a few friends, and her style was simple and unassuming. There is one common lesson that I learned from these two women… age is relative (no pun intended!). Let us explore some tips when look for 55 plus communities for seniors.
Age is not a number, an expectation, or a sentence to slow down. Seniors nowadays are not just living longer, but are living more. Because of this new standard, 55 plus communities need not be sleepy facilities with Friday Bingo nights and annual trips to Branson.
Here are five tips towards finding the perfect community that fits your lifestyle:
- What do you want to get out of it? – These specialized communities are for those obviously over the age of 55 and want the freedom from home maintenance. Many have superb amenities including swimming pools and golf courses, but what else are you looking for? Do you wish to have laundry service and prepared meals? Would you like to have a concierge to assist with your requests? Would you like to pursue certain hobbies nearby such as dance classes, painting studios, or gaming activities?
- Count the cost – Most 55 plus communities average between $2,000 – $5,000 per month after the initial one time buy in fee. Find out what’s included to see if you are getting the biggest bang for your buck. The discrepancies between communities vary greatly depending on location within the state, if meals are included, if it’s a profit or non-profit community, and the size of the unit.
- Atmosphere – What is unique about senior living is that you aren’t just looking for a home but an entire community. You’re searching for people who are in the same season of life as you, but also like minded and have similar hobbies. Do you want a large community with more amenities and more opportunities for social activities? Do you want it small and intimate? Do you want to stay in or close to the community most of the time?How far are you willing to go outside the community for activities such as church functions or shopping or even doctor’s appointments?
- Rules?!?! – Rules seem rather elementary, but undoubtedly there will be a list of rules to maintain peace in the kingdom. Are pets allowed? Are there guidelines for home colors, home additions (such as sheds and awnings), and gardening parameters? Is there a limit to how long guests can stay with you? Is there a noise curfew? Know the rules before you move into any community.
- If you build it, they will come – Find out who the builder is, if the company has a good reputation, and what the warranties are. Also, is the community growing? Will it be under construction adding homes or units and do you want to live through that inconvenience? Is homeowners’ insurance needed or provided in case of mold, fire, or flooding?