You have reached retirement, and you’re excited to enjoy your new free time. Unfortunately, you might not be able to if you have to deal with constant chores like housework, lawn care, and repairs. Most seniors don’t dream of regularly cleaning their house or fixing a leaky roof, but that is the reality for many of them. If you would prefer to enjoy your retirement rather than maintain your home, you should look into 55+ communities. These communities often called independent living, retirement villages, or senior living communities, offer you a place to enjoy your retirement while taking care of all the chores and maintenance.
Oakland is home to at least a dozen of these communities, and they include places like Grand Lake Gardens and The Lake Merritt. What these places offer that many other communities don’t are amenities like indoor/outdoor pools, meals prepared by chefs, and transportation around town for your daily errands. If this interests you, you should take a look at the 55+ communities right here in Oakland.
Since 55+ communities offer so many amenities that are geared specifically towards seniors, they are going to cost more than a regular apartment in Oakland. For example, in December of 2015, a one-bedroom apartment in Oakland cost about $2,351 per month. A one-bedroom apartment in an independent living community can cost anywhere from $2,300 to well over $4,000 per month. You can search around for a price that will fit your budget and depending on location, amenities, and square footage, you can find an apartment that is lower than these costs.
You are also going to have to pay for these communities all on your own without the help of any benefits program. Medicaid, VA bills, and long-term care insurance pay for personal and home health if you need it but healthy seniors won’t be able to use these funds for their rent.
There are a few ways you can lower your cost, though. If you own your home and are looking to downsize, you can sell your house for profit or rent it out and use those funds to pay for your new home. Social Security and significant retirement savings can also help supplement your rent cost.
You could also consider getting a roommate in a two-bedroom apartment. As long as your community allows it, you can cut your costs in half with this option. Just make sure to try the roommate option out before you sign a lease to see if you like it and if it will work out.
The community you choose should be a reflection of your values and interests, so start your search by making a list of the things that are important to you. If you love animals and want to have a pet, you will need a place that allows pets. If you have a lot of grandchildren that like to stay over, find a place that allows overnight guests. If you’re ready to travel and need a place to stop in between, find a home that is low-maintenance.
Once you have decided the type of lifestyle you want, you can start looking for communities in your area. Check out websites, newspapers, and magazines for listings or ads and talk to relatives or close friends to see if they have suggestions. Here is a list of some of the basic things you can find in most retirement communities as well as some extras. Let it help you figure out where to go.
Many communities will have utilities included in the cost of rent, and you should ask what they are when you’re doing your research. Cable TV, housecleaning, and laundry services are the typical costs included, but there could be other things added.
Meal plans are also a standard part of the rent in a 55+ community, but it can vary from place to place. Ask how many meals are included and find out if you can opt out of the meal plan if you like to cook for yourself. Also, ask about the policies on pets and if they require a pet deposit. You should know how they handle security and if they offer any transportation service around town.
There are always extra amenities at these communities, and some of them might be free for residents or come with a small fee. You can find things like pools, golf courses, and fitness centers all onsite as well as things like:
Free Wi-Fi in common areas
Shops and other stores
Salons or barbershops
Art or cooking classes
Again, find out if these are additional costs to residents and factor that into your final decision.
You’re also going to want to take into account the neighborhood the community is in because it could change your decision. If you don’t have a car and there are no transportations services, consider the walkability of your neighborhood. Also, are there schools nearby that might be loud during the day? What is the city like during the evening hours? Can visitors easily find your residence? All of these might change your choices.
Retirement isn’t just for enjoying your hobbies, you also need to think about your future and long-term care options. 55+ communities can help you with that depending on your preferences. Consider the idea of moving: does it stress you out or is it something you can do easily? If you don’t mind moving as you age and have different health needs, you might consider a place like Grand Lake Gardens. You can have your own home and a more independent lifestyle.
If you would prefer to age in place, then you should choose an option like The Lake Merritt. They have aging in place services that mean you won’t have to move if your health declines or you need extra care. Again, all of these options are up to you and the lifestyle you desire.
Find assisted living in Oakland near you.