If you’re in retirement, or fast approaching retirement age, perhaps you’re wondering about where you want to live during this next stage of life. Many women over 60 are reinventing retirement by working longer, dating new partners, traveling and retiring abroad, and otherwise living life with a new level of vitality and purpose.
One of the ways we’re reinventing retirement is by giving new definition to the concept of a “retirement village.”
In the “old days,” retirement homes were often synonymous with nursing homes – places where people lived when their health conditions no longer made it possible to live independently.
Today, there is a much broader continuum of possibilities and options for people in retirement who want to live in a more communal setting. Today’s “retirement villages” offer co-housing for seniors who want to save on living expenses by living with smaller apartment homes and larger shared public spaces, or gradually increasing the level of assisted living help and medical care that is available onsite at the home.
It’s possible to retire and move into a “retirement village” even when you’re completely healthy and active, and then gradually “age in place” and get the care you need at each stage of life for as long as you live. Here are a few pros and cons of living in a retirement village:
Save money on living expenses: Many women over 60 today would love to downsize to a smaller home. Moving to a retirement village is one way to downsize by selling your larger house and moving to a smaller apartment with communal spaces to share with the neighbors. (Some retirement communities also offer houses, duplexes or other living arrangements – there are many options depending on your preferences.)
Save time on chores: Living in a retirement village will likely save you a lot of time on yard care, cleaning and home maintenance – leaving you more time to explore your other interests and hobbies.
Onsite skilled nursing care: Once you get to a point in life where you need medical care or nursing care, a retirement village has all of the resources and amenities right there outside your door.
Social activities: Retirement villages often have active social calendars with concerts, wine tastings, cultural offerings and other fun things to do with your fellow “older adults.”
More expensive: If you need skilled nursing care, living in a retirement village might be more expensive than staying in your own home. If you or a loved one has gotten to the point in the aging process where your health is struggling, there might be some hard choices to make about whether it is more cost-effective to keep living in your own home with the help of home health aides and other resources, or to move to a retirement village where you or your loved one can get the care and attention that you need.
Less independence: Some people love the idea of communal living and socializing regularly with other people; others are more independently-minded and love the idea of waking up each day in their own home where they have peace and quiet and feel more in control of their schedule and activities.
No kids around: One of the unusual things about a retirement village is that everyone there is “of a certain age” – there are no young families with children living there. If you live in a diverse generationally-mixed neighborhood, it might be hard to give that up to move to a retirement village.
Doesn’t “feel” right: If you’re still feeling healthy and active, it might just not feel “right” to you to move to a retirement village. Before moving to a retirement village, ask yourself, “Does making this move feel like an opportunity to do more of what you want with your life, or does it feel like a defeat?”
Try to make the right decision for yourself and your family. Making a move in retirement is never easy, because we all tend to have emotional attachments and sweet memories of the places where we’ve spent so many years of our lives. But whatever you decide, know that there are more options than ever before to make a good life in retirement. You can have the life you want and get the care you need when the time comes.
Where did you decide to live in retirement? Do you know anyone who lives in a retirement village? What do you think? Let us know in the comments section below.
Watch my interview with Dr. Dale Atkins to find out about the benefits of downsizing in retirement.