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Locating a retirement community
Old 03-15-2010, 08:57 PM   #1
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Locating a retirement community

I'll be 60 this year.

My house is falling apart.

I've started looking for a retirement community: independent living, assisted living...

I don't want to go. They all look so ---middle class, suburban, perfect dead-zone lawns---

Eventually I can't stay here. How shall I live without critters, compost...?

"Hope I die before I get old..."
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Old 03-15-2010, 09:03 PM   #2
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Start your search for a community near the next generation of your family and, ideally, where you have friends. The former is more important than the latter.

The only community that I am personally aware of in your state is Twin Towers in Cinci (my Mother's cousin lived there). I visited several times and was impressed by the variety of resources for all age groups.

There is a certificate program for continuing care communities which assesses programs and financial stability. If not Twin Towers then use that resource to begin your search.
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Old 03-15-2010, 09:09 PM   #3
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Start your search for a community near the next generation of your family and, ideally, where you have friends. The former is more important than the latter.

The only community that I am personally aware of in your state is Twin Towers in Cinci (my Mother's cousin lived there). I visited several times and was impressed by the variety of resources for all age groups.

There is a certificate program for continuing care communities which assesses programs and financial stability. If not Twin Towers then use that resource to begin your search.
I have no family I want to be near.

Will look at Twin Towers.
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Old 03-15-2010, 09:32 PM   #4
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Kahn, some of them allow pets, some are in urban areas. Indoor gardening? I've had a huge variety of flowers indoors.
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Old 03-15-2010, 09:36 PM   #5
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Twin Towers: Life Enriching Communities - Home

Minimum age is 62 but doubless you will be there before you have sorted this all out.
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Old 03-15-2010, 09:38 PM   #6
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Kahn, some of them allow pets, some are in urban areas. Indoor gardening? I've had a huge variety of flowers indoors.
Good to know.

Will have to visit & observe & ask.
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Old 03-15-2010, 09:50 PM   #7
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Don't know if I want to move to a retirement home that has crappy web presence.
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Old 03-15-2010, 09:58 PM   #8
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Khan , 60 is not that old . If your house is falling apart fix it and modify it for older living . My Mom stayed in her house until 92 with some modifications . She had the bathroom made into a walk in shower with rails .
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Old 03-15-2010, 10:05 PM   #9
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The continuous care facility where my mother spent her last quarter century wasn't in your area, but it was pretty nice and I am sure there are equally nice facilities in your location. Hers had a garden (not the type you can plant in, but with walking paths, a little stream, lots of plants, and benches). Also she did a lot of container gardening on her balcony and in her apartment.

It didn't seem so bad at all. At least at hers, you didn't have to socialize a lot unless you wanted to. Her companion, Bill, had an apartment right down the hall from hers. They had cable TV and high speed internet available in all the apartments.

There is a lot to say for a place where you don't have to cook unless you want to! They always had a variety of fresh, healthy food prepared and available.
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Old 03-15-2010, 10:17 PM   #10
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Khan, I wouldn't pre-judge assisted living communities. Just slices of life with a lot to offer those with the right perspective.

When DW was looking for an assisted living apartment for her mother some were so nice that she came home half joking that she wished we could move into one. Two hot meals, private appt, common areas to socialize but only if you wish, happy hours for the drinkers. Activities are totally optional and many sound like a blast (it's not just bingo - when DW was there, a professional jazz guitar player was entertaining the residents). Maybe better for some than Sun City.
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Old 03-15-2010, 10:54 PM   #11
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I don't want to go. They all look so ---middle class, suburban, perfect dead-zone lawns---

Eventually I can't stay here. How shall I live without critters, compost...?

Khan, I may be reading something into your posts that isn't there, but do you possibly have a dread of losing your independence that might be driving you to make a move prematurely? Do you have an urge to just "get it over with?" You might be jumping the gun given what you've been saying about your preferences and desires in lifestyle. You're not a cookie cutter person and might not be ready to go live in a cookie cutter world. (No disrespect meant for those who would prefer an early move to a continuous care or managed retirement community.)

I understand and respect the desire of some of our friends on the board to relocate, while still relatively young, to a retirement community that includes independent, assisted and full nursing living all on one campus. It's a tidy solution to an untidy problem. But that's not for me, and I'm getting the feeling (perhaps incorrectly) it might not be for you either.

Here's what we're doing. At 62 and now that our retirement portfolio has somewhat recovered from the recession, we're beginning work on the house to put it into good shape for the next decade or so. We need a roof, a driveway repave, some landscaping and to finish some redecorating we started last year. And there will be an item or two, like the HVAC system, that I'll have to keep an eye on. That all costs money but we're happy here and now that we've added the costs up, we're staying.

Depending on how long our health and our energy to take care of our own place last, we'll look things over as we go along and consider a managed retirement community in our early or mid-70's. We're not ready to give up the yard, DW's quilting room, my shop, having a place to store the kayaks, fishing gear and all that "crap" yet.

If you don't want to move, don't. Go get estimates on getting repairs done. If, as you say, your place is "falling apart," fix it. If it is beyond repair, that's another issue. But I wouldn't hesitate for a minute to put some substantial money into the current homestead if you're happy there and with your current lifestyle as long as you can afford it. Will it really make a difference in the end if some charity gets $20K - $30k - $40k less from your estate because you spent it on repairs and services in order to stay where you're happier?

The reward for spending a lifetime building retirement resources is the ability to spend your retirement years more or less as you wish.

Just my thoughts Khan.
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Old 03-15-2010, 11:00 PM   #12
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My father moved into an independent living community a few years ago. His house was falling apart and he could not handle (emotionally) dealing with the issues any more. They are very nice apartments that allow small pets. Nicely landscaped area in the suburbs, with a lot of optional community activities. I didn't expect to like the place but have been really impressed each time I've been there. It's a nice, upbeat place and everyone seems to keep as busy (or not) as they want. Some people keep plants on their balconies.

If you spend enough time looking, you might find something that meets most of your criteria. Alternatively, what about establishing a good relationship with a couple of reliable contractors in your area, and turning over more of the home maintenance and repairs so you can stay in your home?
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Old 03-15-2010, 11:16 PM   #13
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The reward for spending a lifetime building retirement resources is the ability to spend your retirement years more or less as you wish.

Just my thoughts Khan.
Youbet, this is a perceptive and loving post. I have been home shopping lately and I am trying to give some thought to what my biases and underlying ideas may be, even the ones that I don't articulate clearly to myself. Maybe I see a unit that I would really enjoy, in my price range, but on the 3rd floor with no elevator. Should I cross it off in favor of a less attractive unit that does have an elevator? At present I climb a water tower just for exercise, so stairs have never bothered me. How much should I give up on the chance that stairs might bother me sometime in the future? lots of things might happen before stairs ever became a problem- a giant earthquake, absolute economic collapse, a sudden fatal heart attack, or getting run over in the street. Maybe I should give some weight to future possibilities, but not an untoward weight. If I start to allow for all the things that might go wrong, I have just ruined my life because that is not me.

When I lived up north I knew some old bachelors who lived in shanties down along the rivers or slews. Somebody was always trying to stick them into a nursing home, "because they are old and are all alone", and unspoken, because they are untamed. Most of them stoutly resisted. Maybe some time one would be found dead on the river bank. Big deal, they were usually 90, they lived long lives pretty much exactly the way they wanted to and they never had to listen to some damn fool talking to them with condescending, manipulative baby talk.

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Old 03-16-2010, 05:39 AM   #14
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Khan, a lot of patio home communities are cropping up where I live. They vary in many ways: some are 55 plus in age(others not), some have amenities like pools, clubhouses with exercise facilities, golf courses(others not). Some are in towns where you can walk to stores, others more out in the countryside. One is being built in a community of single family homes near a university. I have heard of a building in our county seat(an old bank) that is going to be redone into loft apartments. I think parking might be a PITA for these lofts however as it would involve a several block walk. Here in western PA, I think most of these patio homes would sell anywhere from $150,000 to $300,000 for a two or three bedroom unit with one or two car integral garage. In all of these places you could have a dog or cat or two.
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Old 03-16-2010, 08:03 AM   #15
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Hi Khan. I am 61 so I understand the desire to make sure your future years are assured. But I too wondered if there was something unsaid that was driving you to look for a comprehensive retirement community now rather than later. If you are experiencing early Alzheimer's or a degenerative disease that is likely to make independent living difficult in the near future it could be a good idea to make the move at 60. If you are worried about problems that may develop in the future you might want to consider alternatives.

DW and I recently helped to move her parents into an Erickson facility in Silver Spring, MD. Like R-I-T, my daughter was so impressed with the place (activities, multiple restaurants, nice apartments) that she joked that she wanted to live there. I reacted the same way. But now that they are in place and DW and I regularly visit I get a slightly different perspective. The place offers lots of activities and possibilities for friends but everyone is a decade or two older than me. I would feel a lot more comfortable there in about 15 - 20 years. So my plan is to re-evaluate my health in the coming decades and consider such a move if I see a need approaching.

If you do conclude that you should move now you should consider researching widely. If you don't have ties to your present community you could consider moving anywhere. You can make all the friends you want in place. Also, try to find out about the financials. Some of these communities got hard hit by the recession.
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Old 03-16-2010, 08:21 AM   #16
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As the Bunny would say, Khaaaaaaaaaaaaannnn!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

What a great thread. But then you also started the "What Did You Do Today?" thread, which averages 200 new posts per month. You seem to have a real talent for asking the right question.

Back on topic, I can only echo what has been said above, particularly Youbet's thoughtful comments. Carefully consider all your alternatives before making what may be a premature decision on moving to a continuing care community.
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Old 03-16-2010, 08:34 AM   #17
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Back on topic, I can only echo what has been said above, particularly Youbet's thoughtful comments. Carefully consider all your alternatives before making what may be a premature decision on moving to a continuing care community.

I have been to and worked with residents of lots of assisted living communities and the average age is more like late 70's unless someone has a serious health problem at a younger age . So Khan ask your self will being surrounded by people at least fifteen years older than you bring you down mentally and also you do not seem to like social contact so group dining could be a nightmare come true .The happiest residents at these places are usually people who like the social contact and need the security of health care near by . If you are worried about something happening and no one finding you buy one of those alarm buttons and think long and hard about making this decision .
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Old 03-16-2010, 08:52 AM   #18
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There is a big difference between a retirement community, designed to cater to the social and activity needs of seniors plus take care of some of the hassles of home ownership like lawn maintenance or provide smaller homes/townhouses etc., and assisted living community to continuing care community which is focusing more on declining self-care/health issues.

Personally, I can see wanting to get away from dealing with an aging home and moving to something simpler and smaller - especially if you live alone. I think you can do so without losing independence, etc.

But you might have to make another transition later as needed for health issues.

FWIW - even though our community is 55+, it seems as if most folks are are late 60s to 70s. I think we are the only ones around in our 50s - not that it bothers us as we've been retired for a long time and we are used to being the youngsters. Just noticing..... And everyone is really active here - they really like to play.

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Old 03-16-2010, 09:03 AM   #19
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Khan,

Are you planning on retiring in place(RIP) or going on a great new adventure? I suggest one of those non-financial retirement planning books. We've investigated places we visited and found one that matched both of us, had what we needed, and bought a house there. There is also a retirement community in the same place, and when we move next year we will make possible arrangements for that place for when we are 80 as opposed to 62.

For us its a great new adventure. We see the adventure as a way to stay young, stay focused on maintaining our own needs, and not having things taken care of for us.

Z
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Old 03-16-2010, 09:13 AM   #20
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Don't know if I want to move to a retirement home that has crappy web presence.
I wouldn't reject a place simply because their web design doesn't suit my taste. And as with any brochure photographs a lot can be left out so a visit is the only way to get some idea of what the place is like.

My mother moved to a continuous-care facility and lived there for eleven years. It was a terrific move for her. All of those homeowner maintenance issues that she didn't like dealing with went away. She cried when her house was sold but six months later said she wished she had moved ten years sooner.

I would think that the ones with detached houses allow gardens if that's what you want, and I can't think of any reason why they would disallow pets, though they might reasonably draw the line at raising pit bulls. A telephone call would answer those questions.
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