Your retirement is meant to be relaxing and full of time to explore new hobbies, spend time with family, and enjoy the things you love. For many seniors, this does not include doing yard work, keeping up with household chores, or taking care of house repairs. Instead of worrying about those things yourself, you can live in an independent community specifically designed to handle all of that. Sometimes called senior living centers or retirement communities, these places offer things like housekeeping, laundry services, house repairs, and more to help your retirement be as enjoyable as possible.
Greensboro has plenty of choices when it comes to independent living including places like Heritage Greens and Carolina Estates which won SeniorAdvisor.com’s 2017 Best of Senior Living Award. There are even more communities that have something unique to offer seniors; you just need to decide how you want to enjoy your retirement!
You will probably pay a little more to live in a 55+ community than you would in a regular apartment. The average rent for a one-bedroom place in Greensboro is around $690 a month while a two-bedroom can be as much as $812 per month. The average cost for a one-bedroom home in a retirement community can range anywhere from $661 to $3,026 per month. Remember that these prices also include extra services and amenities and can vary based on the location and size of the community as well as the number of services you use.
If you decide to live in a senior living center, you will have to pay for everything yourself. You can’t use programs like Medicaid or VA benefits to cover this type of lifestyle. These programs, as well as Medicare and other benefits services, only cover the cost of personal and home health care, not daily living expenses for healthy seniors.
There are a few ways you can help lessen the cost of these communities without benefits programs. Social Security payments can help and if you have a large retirement savings account, you can use those funds for your new home. If you own your house, you might consider selling it to get money to pay for a retirement community, or you could rent it out and use the monthly income to defray your costs.
Another solution to cut down on cost could be a roommate. If you live with someone else in a two-bedroom apartment, you could cut costs in half and make it more affordable. If you decide to go this route, make sure the community allows it and give it a trial run to make sure you don’t mind living with someone else. If everything goes well and everyone understands the rules, have everyone sign the lease.
It might seem overwhelming when you first start looking for a new community but with a little thought, you can make it much easier. Before you start your search, make a list of all the things that are important to you during retirement. If you hate yard work, make sure you find a place that takes care of it for you. If you like to travel, find a home that doesn’t require a lot of maintenance. If you don’t drive anymore, then you want a place that offers transportation. If you have pets or your grandchildren visit a lot, look for a place that allows both of those things.
Once you have your list, you can start looking at local communities. The local paper or retirement magazines can be helpful, but you can also ask for suggestions from friends and family. Online reviews from current or former residents might also help you find the right place. Visit each location you’re interested in to get a better feel for the environment and see what services they offer.
Each community you look at will have a set of essential services included in the total cost. Some offer things like utilities and cable included in the rent and might also have housekeeping and laundry services. Many communities will also have some form of transportation that goes to local shops and medical facilities in the area so check their schedule to see if it meets your needs.
Check to see if there is a meal plan and how many meals per day you get. Ask if you get snacks between meals and if you’re allowed to supplement with your own food. You might be able to opt out of the meal plan if you would prefer to cook on your own. Other things to look for would be on-site security, what type of staff is available, and if you have pets, ask if they have a size limit or require a pet deposit.
One of the main draws to independent living communities is the extra amenities they offer. These services will vary from place to place but can include things like fitness centers, indoor swimming pools, golf courses, and on-site classes. You might also find things like:
Salon and barber services
Onsite medical services like podiatry and massage therapy
Restaurants and shops
Make sure you ask about the cost of these extra services because often they won’t be included in the total cost. You don’t want to pick services you can’t afford or don’t truly need.
Greensboro is a beautiful place to live, and you want to make sure your community is in an area you love. If you know you’ll be venturing out often, ensure your favorite places are close or you can get to them easily with transportation. Greensboro is close to many major cities in North Carolina, but if you don’t have a car or drive, consider your transportation options. Also check for noise levels, security issues, and what would happen in emergency situations.
It’s important to plan for your health when you consider where to live during retirement. Even if you’re healthy now, things could change and where you live can make a difference. If you hate to move look for places like Heritage Greens, which not only has independent living but an assisted living facility and an Alzheimer’s care facility. These services mean you can age in place and your retirement home will change as your needs do.
If you don’t mind moving or would rather have more privacy and less assistance, than communities like Carolina Estates are a better option. These communities come with all the amenities of independent living as well as allow you to live your life as freely as possible.
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