10 Important Facts about Living in a Retirement Community

Living in a retirement community can be something that you may consider when you reach the age of 55 or above. Many older adults start looking at options as they reach the age of 55 years old. If you are 55 years of age or an older adult, the idea of living in a retirement community might appeal to you. They can help you more easily enjoy your retirement with community activities and amenities that you will be interested in.

If you are considering moving into a senior living community, there are some important facts you need to consider, let’s take a look.

Choosing the Right Type of Housingretirement community

When you are considering downsizing your home, you may want to look at what type of housing will be ideal. Before you look at which senior living communities are right for you, you need to understand the type of housing you want to live in. Do you want to live in a single-family home, or will a condo be better? There are many benefits of living in a condo. Keep in mind if you reside in a condo, you are living one wall away from your neighbor. If you have a barking dog, or like a loud television, it may disturb your neighbor.

There are pluses and minuses for each, with more privacy with a single-family home but more maintenance and upkeep expenses. You will have less space with a condo, but less to take care of, saving you some money. Additionally, condo communities generally provide home insurance for the structure as that expense is included in your monthly HOA dues. Most retirement communities will also have an HOA that will cover the cost of maintaining the common areas.

Make Sure the Retirement Community is Well Managed

The management of the community needs to be working in a way that improves the area and works in the best interests of residents. Unfortunately, this isn’t always going to be the case.

You should speak to the management company themselves as well as residents so that you can find out if there are any problems with the running of the community.

Retirement Community Living

These communities frequently have activities available for the residents, so you need to find out what the community offers and if it is right for you. If a senior is used to living in their own home, making the transition to a retirement community may come with its challenges. It can be a difficult transition to move to a retirement or senior community. Most senior adults have a routine with their activities of daily living and moving into a new location may disrupt this.

They could also have amenities like tennis courts or swimming pools, but if you don’t play tennis or like swimming, these are things you were paying for that you won’t be using. Many facilities also offer swimming pools for the residents and fitness classes as well. There are generally daily activities to keep the residents occupied and offer a higher quality of life.

retirement communityFollowing the Rules

When you join a retirement community like this, you will have to agree to abide by their rules. This could limit the things you can do with your home and require you to keep the front yard well-maintained to ensure it has good curb appeal.

If you haven’t lived in a homeowners association area before, this could feel very restrictive. Be sure that you understand their rules before you decide to move into a particular community because if you aren’t happy, it could make living in the home very difficult for you. There are pros and cons of an HOA.

Take your time to research the community and understand the rules and regulations before committing. The last thing you want to experience is regretting your move.


Levels of Care

It is important to understand the levels of care in senior housing or a retirement community. Some residents will require a higher level of care than others. Most retirement communities offer a skilled nursing facility or nursing home that will offer 24-hour home care. Most skilled nursing facilities will offer rehabilitation including physical therapy and occupational therapy for someone who has undergone a knee or hip replacement. If a patient has a disability or has chronic conditions, they may require long-term care in a skilled nursing facility.

Another level will include the assisted living community which offers care for someone who can no longer live independently.

There are some retirement communities that do offer single-family homes and an independent living community for seniors to move into, which will offer the most independence. There are some residents who prefer to stay in their own home and utilize a primary caregiver to attend to their needs.

Memory care is a level of senior living that provides specialized care for people who have memory issues. A patient or resident may require the care of an assisted living facility. There are nursing homes that have created special memory care units for patients with dementia or Alzheimers.

Depending on the level of care, if the resident is receiving assistance, most facilities will offer medication management to assist the resident with their needs.

Checking the Costs

Before you decide on which of the retirement communities you want to live in, you need to understand the costs involved. You may be required to purchase a membership to live within the community and this is unlikely to be cheap. There may be upfront entrance fees to consider when moving into a senior retirement community. There are also monthly fees that residents or their families will be required to pay, so it is important to budget for the expense.

The required fees will be used to pay for maintenance, management, and cover the costs of the amenities in the community. You need to be sure that these fees are going to be within your budget.

Is the Location Right for You?

Make sure the location of the retirement community is close to the places you frequently visit. Perhaps you want to be near to family or a big city with all the things that offers. You may decide you want to reside in the same location as you live in. Many seniors already have relationships with their physicians and do not want to change which is understandable. Seniors will want to have access to medical care.

Does the Home Offer Enough?retirement community

When you are buying a home in retirement communities, there are more things to consider. While no one really wants to think about health conditions when you get older, you should when it comes to a retirement property. A single-level home, with the main level entry, is ideal for anyone above the age of 55. As seniors get older, it is common to see knee or hip replacements, and having a home free is barriers is beneficial.

A condo in a retirement community is an ideal place to age in place. It is common for older people to have mobility issues, so is the house going to be suitable should that affect you?

Amenities Offered at a Senior Living Community

Depending upon the type of community you are seeking, there are many different options. Many retirement communities do offer meal service and either it is a room service type of arrangement or the senior can meet and greet others in a dining room. These facilities do offer nutritious meals and many different options. Other activities include social activities for seniors to keep them occupied. There are some retirement communities that do offer a fitness center which will help to keep the level of activity up. Some communities may have tennis and golf options as well.

Financing a Retirement Home

It is more common for seniors to purchase retirement homes with cash, but if this isn’t the case, you need to have a good understanding of your financial situation. There are options to obtain a mortgage for a property that may work for a senior including the family opportunity mortgage.

If you are 62 or older, a reverse mortgage might be right for you. A reverse mortgage is a way of financing your retirement by using the equity you have in your home.

Meet the Neighbors

retirement communityIf you plan to take advantage of living in a community, you’d better meet a few of the neighbors first. This should give you an understanding of what the community is like and whether you will get on with people in your neighborhood. You will definitely want to pick the best community to live in that is suitable for your own needs.

Though you can’t expect to make friends with everyone, being on good terms with people in the community will make your retirement living better.

Ideally, you will want to have visitors as well. Be sure to find out when family members can visit so you can enjoy having company. You may even decide on a multiple-bedroom condo so your family members or adult children can visit and stay over.

Getting Approved

Depending on the type of retirement communities you are looking to move to, they may have some barriers to entry. The management of the community might want to check that you are the right sort of person that will fit in with the community. You will want to be comfortable in your new community, so it is important to perform all your due diligence before you hire a mover and move in.

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This might mean that they want references or to check your financial records. Check with the management, or ask your real estate agent if you will have to go through an approval process before you will be allowed to buy.

Final Thoughts

Living in a retirement community may not be for everyone, but it does offer a sense of community. Keep in mind it is stressful to move to a new city. Seniors may be stubborn and choose not to move to a new community. Some communities will offer a meal service as well. There can also be safety checks to ensure a senior is safe in the current home they are residing in. There are many activities for a senior to enjoy as well, and it is good to get involved to avoid the sense of isolation.

About the Author

Top Newport Beach Real Estate Agent Sharon Paxson with Newport Beach Real Estate has written the article “10 Important Facts about Living in a Retirement Community”. With experience since 2005 representing clients with their real estate transactions including home buying, home selling, and working with lease clients. We welcome the opportunity to share our knowledge and expertise and guide you through the home selling or buying process.

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Sharon Paxson is a full-time REALTOR® with Compass and has been specializing in residential real estate throughout the Newport Beach area since 2005 assisting Buyer’s, Seller’s, Landlords and Tenants with their real estate needs.

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