Retirement is your chance to relax and enjoy life the way you want. You can travel, spend more time with family, or move somewhere you have dreamed of your whole life. If your dream is to live without the worry of cleaning, cooking meals, worrying about house maintenance or any other issue that could come with homeownership, then you might want to look into 55+ communities.
These include independent living communities, senior living centers, retirement communities, and other assisted living facilities. 55+ communities can offer a few amenities like house cleaning or laundry while others offer more like food and meal prep, swimming pools, group outings, and onsite fitness classes. Charlotte has dozens of these communities including six SeniorAdvisor.com 2016 Best of Senior Living Award winners like Legacy Heights and Atria Merrywood. You can find exactly the lifestyle you would like with one of the many facilities here in Charlotte.
Since they can offer more to seniors, independent communities are usually going to be more expensive than a regular apartment in most places, including Charlotte. For example, a one-bedroom apartment in Charlotte is around $1,205 per month while a one-bedroom apartment in an independent community can average closer to $3,800 per month. The good news is that an independent living facility is generally less expensive than a nursing home and you can find a range of prices based on your location and the amenities offered.
You will have to pay almost entirely out-of-pocket to live in an independent community. Unlike nursing homes or in home care, most long-term insurance, Medicaid benefits, or VA benefits won’t cover the cost of your living, if you’re a non-disabled senior. However, that doesn’t mean there aren’t other ways you can supplement your lifestyle.
If you are moving from a home that you own, you can sell it and use that money to cover your costs or rent it out if it is still in good condition. You can also use your Social Security benefits to lower costs and if you have been planning for retirement and have a savings account, now is the time to use that money.
There is also the option to get a roommate, which can cut your costs in half but make sure you understand the rules for roommates at each facility. Also, give the roommate situation a trial run before you fully commit to signing a lease.
Before you choose a place to live, think about what you like. Do you want to travel? Are you looking for a forever home? Do you want a place that can offer everything you need under one roof or do you want the freedom to get out and enjoy the city?
Once you know the type of lifestyle you’re looking for, start researching communities and asking for suggestions from friends. There are plenty of options so you should be able to find a home that fits your needs.
Before you sign a lease, make sure you know what utilities are included in rent. Many places will include things like cable or housekeeping and laundry services, but you can find others that will include transportation to places around town like the grocery store or the doctor. Meal plans are also options at many communities and if you’re interested in having meals prepared for you look into their meal options. You can also choose not to use their meal plan and cook for yourself, which might cut costs.
If you have a pet, make sure the place you want is pet-friendly and if they require a deposit for your animal. Other basic amenities to ask about are onsite security and what type of staff will be on hand to help you with any problem.
You can also opt into a lot of different extra perks at many communities. Some facilities include onsite salons and fitness rooms while others might have a golf course or pool. You might also find a community that has:
Art or cooking classes Separate covered parking Game rooms On-site general stores or restaurants Gardening facilities Massage therapy Physical and rehabilitation therapy Free Wi-Fi in group areas
These sometimes cost extra, and you can pick and choose which things you might like to do and make sure they fit your budget.
Another important thing to keep in mind is the area of your community. If you no longer drive and there is no transportation provided, can you get around easily? Do they have enough amenities on site that you don’t have to worry about getting around town or do you still like to get out and enjoy Charlotte? You want to choose a place that will suit your needs.
It’s important to think about what your future holds. If you’re in good health and still relatively mobile then an independent community that allows you to do what you want when you want will be the best option. If you don’t want to have to move when you become less mobile or like to have a structure to your day, then a facility that provides a continuum of care could be a better choice.
The key to independent living is designing your life around the things that bring you joy and will keep you happy and comfortable for years to come. There are enough choices here in Charlotte to meet all of those requirements and allow you to get the most from your retirement.
Find assisted living in Charlotte near you.