As published in the Savannah Morning News - 17 March 2013
Choosing the Right Active Community
We are living longer, staying healthier and enjoying life to the fullest. Many seniors are “still in the game” with active lifestyles, and choosing the right community for your retirement home means finding the right fit.
For young retirees, it may mean turning a dream into a reality...moving into a second home that was planned for retirement. Or perhaps, you are thinking about buying the perfect vacation home that will one day serve that purpose. Some tips to help you decide on your second home and community:
- Affordability on retirement income
- Visit community during all seasons before buying
- Snow…walking and driving on ice
- Access and road conditions
- Traffic congestion
- Year round services and shopping
- Always stuff to do
- Noisy or disruptive peak season visitors
Top Considerations for Active Communities
- Range of services
- Social events
- Sports: golf, tennis, fitness centers
- Social and recreation programs
- Community center/club house
- Fitness facilities
- Computer labs
- Hobby facilities
- Gardening plots
- Cultural arts programs
- Continuing education
- Information and counseling
- Restaurants and meal programs
- Health care programs
- Walking & jogging trails
- Outdoor spaces
- Lakes, ponds, streams, open water
- Boating/RV facilities
- Business centers
Once the community or area has been chosen, the second home may need changes to accommodate a full-time life style, such as larger closets, or certain physical needs. Last week we talked about aging-in-place considerations and incorporating Universal Design into your retirement home. Barrier free entry, ground floor living, wide doorways and hallways…all are important to age gracefully, without the need for major renovations.
My mother had a beautiful home in a lovely community in North Carolina, but it was mountainous and most building lots were not level. It is a fantastic active community with golf courses, ponds and lots of amenities, but because the ground was not level, the early retirees were forced to move away within 7 to 10 years because they could no longer negotiate the mountainous terrain. Driveways, yards, sidewalks, roads…all required the strength and stamina to climb hills on a daily basis. Food for thought!
There are many communities that have the aforementioned features without the restrictions of banning children from full time residency, as well as limitations on visitation. If you want to live within a mix of ages, then you will want to avoid age restricted communities. Or, you can choose a community that does have those restrictions in place, just check out the rules to see if they will be acceptable with your desires to entertain your family and grandchildren.
The Scoop on Age Restricted Communities:
- Age 55+: 80% of units must be occupied by at least one person 55 or older per unit.
- Age 62+: all residents must be at least 62.
- Rules and Regulations apply, and these communities must provide certain services and amenities to be able to age discriminate.
The support, friends, activities and opportunities to socialize, without the stress of owning a home that requires ongoing maintanence, is the main attraction of these communities. Call me to find out about more and what Savannah's retirement communities have to offer.
Next week in Moving Mom…Savannah’s Active Retirement Communities! For those looking for fun, action and sports, we’ll cover what Savannah has to offer…Stay tuned!