Retired seniors often look forward to the extra time that they now have. They can see friends and family more often, travel to new places, and spend more time on the hobbies they love. However, retirement might not always be fun and games, especially if you have housework to tend to, chores to accomplish, and a never ending to-do list of home repairs. If the sound of taking care of your house for the rest of your retirement isn’t your idea of a good time, then you should consider moving to a 55+ community.
A 55+ community can be called many different things like independent living, retirement village, or even senior living center but they all mean the same thing. This type of lifestyle allows you the freedom to enjoy your retirement while someone else takes care of all your chores.
55+ communities can also offer extra amenities like chef-prepared meals, fitness centers, or pools. New Orleans has a few options you can choose from, including Landing at Behrman Place, winner of the SeniorAdvisor.com 2016 Best of Senior Living Award. You can choose from the dozen or so communities here in New Orleans to find the right fit for you.
Independent living communities are usually going to cost more than a regular apartment, but that will all depend on where you live and how large of a home you choose. For comparison, a regular one-bedroom apartment in New Orleans in December of 2015 cost about $1,188 per month. A one-bedroom apartment in an independent living community can start around $900 but easily cost well over $2,000 per month. There are plenty of price ranges available in the area so just look around to see what will fit your budget.
Medicaid, VA bills, pension plans, long-term care insurance, and any other benefit program you use will most likely not cover the cost of your rent in a 55+ community. These programs are for seniors that need personal care or in-home health care, and as a healthy adult, you can’t use these funds for basic living needs. That doesn’t mean there aren’t other financial options out there.
If you’re looking to downsize your home, you can sell your house and use that money to pay for your new home. You could also rent out your house to help cover your rent. Social Security benefits and a large retirement savings fund can also help you out.
Another way to lower your living expenses is to consider getting a roommate. If you live in a two-bedroom apartment, this could cut all of your costs in half. Before you jump into a roommate situation, though, give it a trial run. Make sure your community allows roommates, and both you and your potential living partner feel comfortable with each other.
While many 55+ communities offer a few of the same things, each one has a unique set of values and amenities. That’s why it’s important to figure out what you want before you start searching for a new place to live.
Think about the things you enjoy and make a list. Do you have pets and need a place that allows animals? Do you have a large family that likes to come over often and stays overnight? Would you prefer to spend your retirement traveling and just need a place to stay in between trips?
Take all of these factors into consideration, and you will have a pretty good idea of what you want from your community. Once you have your list, you can start looking around your area. Your friends, close relatives, and possibly your neighbors can give you some suggestions on where to look. You can also search online for communities as well as look in newspapers and senior-living magazines.
Here are just a few of the things you can expect to find in a 55+ community and these lists should help you understand what to look for during your search.
Each place you look will have a set of basic amenities. Start by finding out everything included in your rent such as utilities. Many communities will cover laundry services, housekeeping, and cable or TV. You should also see if they have a transportation system and if their schedule works for you and your daily errands or appointments.
Find out about their meal plan and see how many meals they cover each day. Ask if they have snack options or if you’re on your own for that. You can also see if they will allow you to opt out of the meal plan so you can cook for yourself. See what kind of personnel they have on staff and how often they are there. Also, ask about security and make sure there is either an alarm system or security guard always on duty.
If you have a pet, ask about their animal policy. Some places will require a pet deposit while others might have restrictions on breed and size.
You can also find a lot of extra amenities at each place you visit. Sometimes these will cost extra, but they might also be included in the cost of your rent. The community may have an indoor pool, fitness center, or its own golf course. You can also find places that have:
Salons and barber shop services
On call dentists or doctors
Onsite grocery stores
Make sure you pick a community that has the things you want and need, but that also fits your budget. You might not be able to afford all of the extra amenities but can still live comfortably with what you can afford.
Don’t forget to take into account the surrounding neighborhood. While these communities are often in their own area, you will still have to venture out occasionally, and you want to like your neighborhood just as much as your new home. Make sure you can easily get to where you need to go whether that’s by walking, car, or some other form of transportation. See how loud or quiet each neighborhood is like and if visitors can easily reach you.
Finally, you want to think about your future and what will happen as you age or your health starts to fail. Many people don’t mind moving once they can no longer stay in their home and if that sounds like you, you might be more interested in a place like Landing at Behrman Place. This community offers you a little more freedom to do as you please and you don’t need to have someone around you 24/7.
If you would rather stay in place as you get older and not have to worry about moving, you might like a place like HomeLife in the Gardens better. This community has hospice available as well as nurses on staff so you can get the care you need. Also, as your needs change, they can adapt their services to better fit.
Find assisted living in New Orleans near you.