Dallas 55+ Communities

One of the perks of growing older is getting clear on how you want to spend your time. For many people, the idea of spending long-awaiting retirement years on home maintenance and chores is unappealing. Independent living communities, also called 55+ communities, retirement centers, and senior living centers offer these folks relief from the responsibilities of housework and repairs. They also provide amenities that might not be available like an indoor pool, chef-prepared meals, group transportation and daily on-site fitness classes.

The city of Dallas is home to 3 dozen 55+ communities for active adults, including 2 SeniorAdvisor.com 2016 Best of Senior Living Award winners, Meadowstone Place and Grace Presbyterian Village. There are more options across the Metroplex, too, so you can find a place that helps you live well and devote your time to the things that matter to you.

How much do 55+ communities cost in Dallas?

Independent living rates are often slightly higher than local apartment rental rates but lower than assisted living and nursing home prices. For example, the October 2015 average rent for a 1-bedroom apartment within 10 miles of Dallas was $1,284, with rates closer to $2,000 in Highland Park, the Arts District, and the city center. The range of rates of one-bedroom independent living flats in Dallas was about $1,470 to $4,000 per month, depending on location, apartment square footage, resident services and community amenities.

How to pay for 55+ living

Expect to pay out of pocket for your new residence. If you’re planning to downsize after retirement, selling your home or renting it out can fund your new lifestyle. If you receive Social Security benefits or have ample retirement savings, you can put that money toward independent living rent.

Don’t count on using long-term care insurance, Medicaid, and other benefit programs like the VA Aid & Attendance pension for independent living. These programs may cover the cost of personal and home health care when you need it, but they don’t cover basic living expenses for able-bodied seniors.

If you’re interested in keeping your costs low, you may be able to save a few hundred dollars each month by splitting the rent on a 2-bedroom independent living apartment with a roommate. Give the roomie situation a trial run and make sure you both understand the community’s rental rules before you sign a lease.

What to look for in a retirement community

Before you start visiting 55+ communities, make a list of the things that matter most to you. If you have a pet, a pet-friendly place may top your wish list, and there are many in the Dallas area. Maybe your priorities are saving money and living near your grandchildren. Perhaps you want a country-club retirement in the suburbs, or a bohemian daily routine in the Bishop Arts District. You may want a low-maintenance place to hang your hat between trips abroad, or a cozy place you can call home for years to come, even if your care needs change.

Now you’re ready to start looking. As you research communities, collect recommendations from friends, read reviews, and visit properties, take note of what each community offers in these categories listed below.

The basics

Find out what utilities are included with the rent. Some 55+ communities cover cable TV, and most offer weekly housekeeping and linen laundry services. Many communities provide group transportation on a regular schedule to nearby grocery stores, medical complexes, and shopping districts. Look over the schedule to see if it fits your needs.

If there’s a meal plan, find out how many meals per day are included and whether snacks are part of the plan. Ask if there’s on-site security and on-call staffers available around the clock. Inquire about the pet deposit and any limits on pet size or breed.

The extras

Independent living communities usually offer many amenities for residents. Options you may want include an onsite salon, a pool (especially a heated or indoor pool for cold Dallas winter workouts), a fitness center, walking trails, and golf course access. Other perks offered by some Dallas-area 55+ communities are:

fitness and art classes, often part of a packed activities calendar

covered parking, virtually a must during 100-degree summer heat

game rooms

onsite pubs and general stores

free Wi-Fi in group areas

dog parks

garden plots for residents

onsite massage therapy

outdoor grilling and dining areas

The neighborhood

The city of Dallas covers more than 340 square miles, and the Metroplex is known for chronically congested roadways. Even if you’re comfortable with highway driving and crowded roads, you’ll save time and gas by choosing a 55+ community close to the places you go most often. If you no longer drive or prefer not to tangle with Dallas traffic, look for a walkable neighborhood near the places you frequent. The Dallas Morning News helpfully ranked the city’s most pedestrian-friendly areas in 2014. Downtown, Uptown, the Bishop Arts District, and Oak Lawn led the list. You can find the complete rundown here.

The future

Before you choose a 55+ community, ask yourself how much you enjoy moving your stuff. Some people really don’t mind, some folks have it down to a science after decades of relocating for work, and some people feel faint at the idea of packing, moving, and unpacking. People who can relocate without stressing out may want to focus on communities that exclusively provide independent living, like Meadowstone Place in the Preston Hollow area.

People who don’t enjoy moving may want to focus their search on independent living centers that offer a continuum of care, such as Grace Presbyterian Village. The community provides onsite assisted living, skilled nursing care, and dementia-care units in addition to its independent living cottages and garden homes. Communities like this make it easier for residents to remain in familiar surroundings (even if they have to change apartments or rooms) if they get sick or need more help with daily activities later in life.


 

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