Retirement means different things to different people. Perhaps it’s a time to travel all over the world or explore new activities or relax with friends and family members, but not many seniors plan to spend their time cleaning the house, doing the laundry, or repairing broken appliances. Luckily, independent living communities, sometimes called 55+ communities, senior living centers, or retirement villages can solve this problem. These places provide services like housekeeping, chef-prepared meals, transportation around town, and maintenance, so you don’t have to worry about it.
Lincoln is home to three winners of SeniorAdvisor.com’s 2017 Best of Senior Living Award. Brentwood Estates, Savannah Pines Retirement Resort, and Gramercy Hill all offer exceptional service and unique amenities to their residents.
If you compare the cost of typical apartments in Lincoln and independent living community apartments, the independent lifestyle is going to cost more. Standard one-bedroom apartments in Lincoln cost $744 a month, and two-bedrooms cost $902. A one-bedroom apartment in a senior community can cost between $1,500 to $3,010 per month. That price is higher because it includes things like amenities and extra services in the total cost. Prices can also vary based on location and the size of the facility.
The cost of your new home will come entirely out of your pocket because you can’t use benefit programs. Medicaid, VA benefits, and long-term health insurance are for seniors that need personal or home health care. These programs won’t cover your living expenses in a retirement community.
You can use Social Security to help pay for your expenses. If you have a substantial retirement savings account, that can lessen the cost as well. Homeowners might want to consider selling or renting out their house to use the funds for their new home.
A roommate might also help cover the cost of community living. You can get a two-bedroom place and cut your costs in half. Some communities have rules against roommates, so make sure you check that before you use this option. Give the roommate situation a trial run before you both agree to sign a lease.
Finding any new home can feel like a burden but searching for a new community can feel even tougher. The best advice is to sit down and think about how you want to spend your retirement and what you enjoy. Travelers might want a modest home that is easy to maintain while they’re traveling, while homebodies might want a place that has everything they need in one spot. Seniors who still have their cars may not mind driving a little to do their errands while seniors without a car will want a good transportation system. Pet owners will need a pet-friendly space and grandparents might want a home that can entertain their grandkids.
After you create your list of desires, seek out communities that meet those needs. Read local newspapers, magazines, and ask for suggestions. Online sources can offer descriptions along with reviews from residents. When you have a few prospects, visit each community and ask about the services and amenities they offer.
Each community will have a set of covered services. Many places include the cost of utilities, laundry services, and housekeeping in their rent and a few will add things like cable. Transportation is another basic service and if you plan on using this, ask to see a map and ensure their route includes the places you need to go.
You should ask about meal plans and find out how many meals they include per day. Ask if they provide snacks or if you can supplement with outside food. You should know what kind of security measures they use and if there is a staff member on-site always. If you have a pet or plan to get one, ask about size limits or breed restrictions. They might also require a pet deposit.
The extras are considered the amenities and perks of living in a 55+ community and they will vary from place to place. Some places might have a golf course while others offer on-site fitness classes or a swimming pool. These extras might cost more money than the rental fee, so ask about that. More amenities might include:
Cooking or art classes
Outdoor areas with grills
Hiking trails and dog parks
Onsite restaurants and shops
Salon or Barber services
Dentist or podiatrist on call
You might spend most of your time within your community, but you will probably have to go outside at some point. You want your neighborhood to fit your needs just as much as your new home. Is your community located near the places you want to visit? Lincoln might be a major town but places are spread out, and if you don’t have a car, you need to make sure you have access to transportation services. Noise levels can also be a little high in populated areas, so if you’re looking for a relaxing environment, consider things like nearby schools or businesses.
It’s easy to think about what you want right now from your new home but remember to plan for your future as well. Things like your health, mobility, and daily needs could change as you age and your community might be better suited for different things.
If you would rather live in a place that feels more like a home than an assisted living facility, places like Savannah Pines Retirement Resort and Brentwood Estates could be better choices. These communities allow seniors to have a certain amount of freedom while still enjoying the extra services and amenities of a retirement village. If you do need extra help down the road, you might need to move to a new facility, so be sure you’re ok with moving.
There are also places like Gramercy Hill that offer both independent and assisted living on the same site. This continuum of care allows you to stay in one place as you age and their services will grow and change as your needs and health change.
Find assisted living in Lincoln near you.