What you want from your retirement and reality might not always match up, especially if you didn’t plan on spending your time mowing the lawn, cleaning the house, and doing other chores or tasks that come with home ownership. The good news is you don’t have to spend your free time taking care of these things if you consider moving to a 55+ community because they can handle them for you.
Senior living centers, retirement villages, and independent living communities are all forms of 55+ community living, and they all offer different amenities such as housekeeping, transportation, and meal plans to help you get the most from your retirement. Charleston is the home of many seniors which means there are plenty of options when it comes to these communities and you can even find award winning facilities like The Palms of Mount Pleasant, recipient of 2016 Best of Senior Living Award from SeniorAdvisor.com.
While it’s true that Charleston enjoys a lower cost of living than other parts of the country, 55+ communities tend to be a little more expensive than your typical apartment in the area. For example, a one-bedroom apartment in Charleston costs about $1,141 per month and a one-bedroom apartment in a 55+ community averages about $4,035 per month. It’s a big price jump, but total cost can vary based on your location and amenities. You can find places on the lower end of the scale, like $2,250.
Even though the cost is high, you will have to pay for a 55+ community mostly on your own. That is because things like VA benefits, Medicaid, and long-term care insurance only cover health care costs, not living costs. You do have a few options, though, when it comes to lowering or supplementing your costs. You can use things like a substantial retirement fund or Social Security payments to supplement your living expenses. Selling or renting out your home is another option if you’re looking for more cash flow. One way to cut costs of community living is to get a roommate. If you don’t mind living with someone else and your community allows it, this is a good way to cut costs in half.
When you consider moving into a 55+ community, you want one that will fit your lifestyle and needs so start thinking about what you want from your retirement. Would you like to be able to take care of your grandkids occasionally? You might want more space and kid friendly areas. Do you have a lot of pets? You are going to need a place that is pet-friendly. Are you a world traveler or spend a little time at home? You should look for a house or apartment that is low maintenance, so you don’t have to worry about it.
Now that you know what you want to do with your time start your search. Gather some suggestions from friends, family members, and even former coworkers. Make sure you visit each place so you can know for sure if it’s the right fit.
Based on your needs above, the amenities offered at each community are important. Each place has their own included services and those that cost extra so find out what those are ahead of time. You can usually count on utilities and things like cable, housecleaning, and laundry services to be included in your rent.
Other included costs might be transportation to town, grocery stores, and medical facilities. Meal plans are also often an amenity, and many places have a few different options to fit a wide range of dietary needs. You might also be able to save a little money if you decide you want to cook for yourself instead of using a meal plan.
Beyond these amenities, each community will have its own unique services. This might include a swimming pool or golf course nearby, but they could also be things like:
Gardening plots for each apartment Fitness center with exercise classes Dentist or podiatrist on site Access to physical or occupational therapy Massage therapists Salons and barbershops Restaurants Game rooms Dog parks Live entertainment
Take into account the surrounding area when you’re looking at each community. Charleston is near a lot of great activities and places like museums, aquariums, and the waterfront plus it has a low crime rate. However, if you don’t have transportation or your neighborhood isn’t easily walkable none of this will help you. Make sure you have access to the things you want to do, and the area fits the lifestyle you want.
Retirement is for free time and relaxation, but you want to prepare for any changes in your health as you age. While you might get around without any assistance right now, that could change in the years to come. Luckily, 55+ communities can change with you and give you independence when you want it and help when you need it.
Continuum of care is often offered at many places and will help transition you to new rooms or daily routines as your health changes. This service is a great thing for people that hate moving and want to stay in one spot as long as possible. If you’re okay with moving and want to live a more independent lifestyle, you don’t have to worry about nurses hovering around, if you choose a place that places emphasis independence.
Find assisted living in Charleston near you.