One of those decisions is where you want to spend your retirement years. Some people will choose to remain exactly where they are; some will opt for other locations or other living arrangements. Another post will explore prime locations for retirees, but before you even make that decision, it is wise to consider a few criteria.
A Tale of Two Women
This post was prompted by a recent visit to two relatives, each of whom is living in a popular retirement area. Both are 84-year-old widowed women. They both began living in their current homes when their husbands were alive, and now they are living alone. As I visited with each of them, I started to think that the choices we make in early retirement or even pre-retirement are going to impact us long after those early fun-filled active retirement years so it’s wise to think ahead when making those decisions.
One woman lives in a single-family home in a quiet neighborhood near shopping and amenities. Her neighbors are mainly young families with children; most of her time is spent inside her house except when she walks her small dog. She has a yard with nice plantings, a fish pond, and a pool and lanai. When she and her husband bought the property, they considered it easy maintenance compared to their larger home in the north, but now this house requires maintenance that the woman is not able to do. And although she is in a warm sunny locale and can accommodate visitors, she doesn’t have frequent company.
The other woman lives in an age-restricted community in a single family home. The community takes care of the exterior maintenance and a service is available to help with inside chores. She is close to many people her own age and can participate in a variety of activities. She has frequent visitors because friends and family enjoy the lifestyle as well as all the amenities that are available.
Neither situation is perfect, and people must decide what is best for them. Some never want to give up neighborhood living and will simply hire people to do the work; others would prefer to have it done for them. Some enjoy their solitude, while others enjoy the company of others. So here are just a few things to consider, in no particular order:
Do you want to live in an age-restricted community?
Some people want to be around people of all ages so they opt for a neighborhood or a non-age-restricted complex, thinking that the sound of children’s voices will be always welcome. But it’s important to remember that even age-restricted communities have children visiting, and often under joyful circumstances (vacations). In addition, an active adult community may offer the activities, social interaction, and support that will be positive factors in older adulthood.
Do you want to be responsible for exterior maintenance?
Whether you pay a monthly fee to the community, you hire someone to do it, or you complete the work on your own, exterior maintenance must be done. Some people think they can handle it themselves, so why pay someone to do it. But as we age, it becomes a chore that we might not want to do ourselves. Do you want someone to worry about it or do you want to arrange for your own maintenance people?
Do you want easy access to social activities?
Some people are solitary sorts while others want to be surrounded by people of like interests. If you don’t take your own personality into account when you make your decisions, you may feel frustrated or depressed by trying to fit into a situation that doesn’t suit you. If you are not a social person, you wouldn’t want to pay a premium for living in a highly social environment. If you enjoy constant companionship, you will feel isolated in a more remote location.
Do you have easy access to health care and other services?
You may not have a problem driving distances to various appointments now, but that may change as the years go on. When deciding about where you will spend your retirement years, consider whether you will have easy access to health care, shopping, and other services. If you can’t get to your appointments yourself, how easy will it be to arrange to get there?
Do you want to be close to family?
Some people stay where they are because of family, while others move to be closer to family. If you can’t be close to family, are you in a place where it is easy for them to visit? One of the women I mentioned above doesn’t live close to family but she is on a route that people often pass through so she has plenty of visitors; the other one doesn’t have frequent visitors because she is farther from destinations that people travel to or through.
Of course, there are many other questions to be asked and answered before making a decision about where to spend your retirement years, but much thought should go into what type of environment suits you best. Well-thought out decisions will not only make life more enjoyable now but will also make life less stressful in later years.
Peggy Chirico, REALTOR®
Serving the Greater Hartford Area
Prudential Connecticut Realty
If you are buying or selling a home in Hartford County or Tolland County, please call me at 860-748-8900, , or use the Contact Request Form. I would be happy to help you with your home search or answer any of your real estate questions.
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