When you think of retirement, what do you picture? Time spent traveling, day trips with your grandkids, or free time to enjoy your favorite hobbies? What you don’t think about is all the chores you have to do around the house, the yard work that needs to get done, or repairing the damage that might come to your house. Seniors who don’t want to take care of these things anymore ought to consider living in an independent living community. These are also called 55+ communities, senior living centers, or retirement communities, but they all offer the chance to enjoy your retirement without worrying about cleaning your house, mowing the lawn, or fixing a leaky roof.
Newark has a few communities like Heritage Estates, but the surrounding areas of East Orange and Maplewood also have some excellent facilities like Winchester Gardens. Each community will have a set of services and amenities, so all you need to do is choose the right one for your lifestyle.
Cost is one of the biggest factors for seniors deciding where to live during retirement, and you will pay a little more to live in an independent community. Average rents for typical apartments in Newark put one-bedroom apartments at $1,251 and two-bedroom apartments at $1,529. A one-bedroom place in a 55+ community can cost anywhere between $1,150 and $2,300 per month. Rent in these communities is often higher based on the services included, the location, and the amenities you choose to use.
You will have to use your own money to live in a retirement community because most benefits programs will not cover these expenses. Programs like Medicaid, VA benefits, and long-term care insurance are for personal and home health costs, not basic living expenses for healthy seniors.
You can use your Social Security payments to help cover the cost, and if you’ve been saving for retirement, those funds can help lower the cost. You might also be able to get money from selling your house or rent it out and use the monthly income to pay for your new home.
You might also want to consider getting a roommate. If you get a two-bedroom apartment and share it with someone else, you can cut all your costs in half and make it more affordable. You will need to make sure your community allows roommates, and it’s a smart idea to give the whole situation a trial run before you make any final decisions. If everything works out well and both parties agree to the rental rules, then go ahead and sign a lease.
The best way to start your search is to think about what you want from your retirement. If you have pets or want to get one, choose a place that allows animals. If you like to have your family over for visits or your grandchildren often spend the night, make sure your new community allows that. Perhaps you travel a lot and only need a place to rest between trips or you like to stay at home and need a place that has everything you need near.
After you have figured out how you want to live during retirement, start looking for facilities that fulfill those needs. Your friends and family members can offer suggestions, and you can check local newspapers, magazines, and search online to find communities in your area. Make sure you visit each one you like to make sure it’s a good fit and ask about all the included and extra services.
Rent in 55+ communities will include a few core services but it could vary from place to place. Most will include things like utilities, housekeeping, and laundry services while some might also add things like cable. Other basic services could include transportation and if you don’t have a car, ask to see a schedule and ensure you can get to the places you need to go.
You should ask if there is a meal plan and how many meals you get per day and if there are snacks to supplement. Find out what kind of security measure they take and if there are always staff members on-site. Pet owners should ask about breed and size limits and see if there is a pet deposit they must pay.
There will also be additional amenities beyond the basic services, but these will be different in each community. Some places might have a golf course while others will have an indoor pool. These services will usually cost extra money, so make sure you ask about that before you use them. Extra services could include:
Cooking or art classes
Outdoor entertaining areas with grills
Dog parks and walking trails
Onsite dentists, podiatrists, and massage therapists
Game rooms and free Wi-Fi
Newark is the most populous city in New Jersey and the second most populous city in the New York Metropolitan area, so it is always busy. Make sure the neighborhood of your community fits your needs and suits your lifestyle. If you don’t drive, ensure you have transportation options or your neighborhood is easily walkable. If you want a quiet place to live, look for communities farther from the downtown hub and be mindful of crime rates and things like proximity to schools and businesses.
When you choose your new community, you also need to think about your future. While it might not matter now, your health could play a significant role in your choice. Do you like to move or would you prefer to stay in one spot for the remainder of your retirement? Does aging in place matter or would you rather keep your health and your home separate? If you like your privacy and don’t mind a move if your health changes, a place like Heritage Estates is a better option. You get the amenities of a senior living center but not the assistance of an assisted living facility.
For those that want to age in place, Winchester Gardens might be a better choice. You can live your independent lifestyle, but if things change, they have a continuum of care that will help you stay in one spot while still getting all your needs met. They have assisted living and memory care available as well as health services centers.
Find assisted living in Newark near you.