Anyone considering downsizing is probably weighing the pros and cons of moving into a small space versus living in a community geared to retirees, says Next Avenue in the article “Retirement Living Myths and Must-Know Facts.” Here’s what you need to know to make good decisions.
Myth: No one can afford to live in a retirement community. Well, they wouldn’t be so popular, if that were true. When you total up a mortgage with taxes, utilities, upkeep, and what you may be paying for fitness and hobbies, that one payment would be covered when you move into a retirement community.
While there are monthly costs to a retirement community, many expenses are included and many other expenses—like paying someone to shovel snow, maintain lawns and gardens, fences and sprinkler systems—are gone. Not to mention the opportunities to meet new people and jump into hobbies and activities.
Myth: Retirement living is for sick people. Nursing homes and rehab centers are for sick people. If you move to a continuing care community, those services will be available to you, if and when you need them. However, an active adult community is designed to suit the needs of active, mobile people. There are sports-oriented communities, with golf, tennis, fitness centers, and swimming pools. Others have performing arts spaces, art studios and classrooms.
Myth: Staying at home is good to retain close ties with your existing friends. Sadly, social networks dissolve, as people move away to live closer to their children, need to go to a nursing facility or die. Those who are left behind are more likely to become isolated and that can lead to depression. Making the transition to an active community leads to more connections and that leads to a better quality of life.
Myth: You’ll never see a young face again. There are always ways to engage with members of different age groups outside of your home. Some communities even have formal mentoring or volunteering programs.
Fact: Traveling is easier, when you live in a “lock it and leave” setting. There’s no worrying about mail, the lawn, or security. Common areas are maintained, and someone keeping an eye on your property.
Fact: You’ll meet many people in their mid-60s. That’s the most common age in active communities. They are social people seeking a carefree and active lifestyle.
Fact: You’re still in charge. Depending on the community, you can keep your car and your beloved pet. You can have the children for overnights. You own your own home, and you own your independence.
Many people find that downsizing is a liberating experience, freeing them of the constraints of home ownership and opening up a whole new world.
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Reference: Next Avenue (Nov. 5, 2018) “Retirement Living Myths and Must-Know Facts”