Now that you have reached retirement you finally have the freedom to do whatever you want. For most seniors, they would prefer to focus on family, travel, and hobbies instead of worrying about cleaning their house, mowing their lawn, or fixing broken appliances. If this sounds like you, then you might want to consider 55+ communities.
These communities are also called independent living communities, retirement villages, or senior living centers, but they can all provide you with the opportunity to enjoy retirement without all the chores and maintenance your house might require.
These communities provide amenities like indoor pools, chef-created meals, transportation, and many other things in addition to home repairs and upkeep. Omaha has dozens of 55+ communities and two of them, Rolling Hills Ranch and Aksarben Village Senior Living Community, have won the SeniorAdvisor.com 2016 Best of Senior Living Award. There are many options, all you have to decide on is how you want to spend your time.
In general, 55+ communities are going to cost more than a regular apartment in the area. The good news is that these places are also less expensive than a nursing facility or assisted living facility. In December of last year, a one-bedroom apartment in Omaha cost around $765 and an independent living one-bedroom apartment can cost anywhere from $1,500 to $2,500. Now, these are just average prices, and some communities offer lower costs, but you should expect to pay a little more.
You’re going to have to pay for independent living with your money. Things like Medicaid, pension plans, VA bills, and long-term care insurance won’t pay for your basic living expenses if you are a well-bodied senior.
That doesn’t mean there aren’t ways you can save money or afford independent living communities. If you are moving from your current home to this style of living, you can use the funds from selling your house, or you could rent your home and use that money to pay your rent. Social Security payments and retirement savings are also a good way to afford this lifestyle.
Another way to cut your costs down is to find a roommate for a two-bedroom apartment in a 55+ community. Do a trial run of the roommate situation, and if your community allows it and you both agree to the rental lease, you could cut your rent in half with this option.
The best way to decide what community will work best for you is to sit down and think about the things that matter most to you. Do you like pets? Do you have a large family? Do you like to travel? Do you want a lot of amenities right onsite? Can you drive or will you need transportation? All of these questions will help you narrow down your choices and find the perfect community for you.
Once you have figured out what you want, you can start researching communities in the area. The best way to do this is to talk to friends and family you might live in a community like this, read reviews online, look in newspapers and magazines for ads, and get out and explore your neighborhood for independent living. Below are just a few things that many communities will offer and these can help you decide what you want or don’t want.
It’s a good idea to find out what utilities are included in your rent. Many places will offer things like cable, housekeeping services, and laundry services. You can also find places that include transportation services to local stores and medical buildings. If you need this service, check their schedule to see if it fits your needs and goes to the places you need.
A meal plan is also often offered under the basic amenities so you should see what would fit your needs. Find out how many meals are offered through their plan and if they have snack options. You should also ask about security and if they allow pets in their apartments. Some places might have restrictions on pet size or breed and require a deposit for any animals.
One of the perks of independent living is the amenities it can offer that other places won’t. These services might include onsite salons, fitness centers, pools, shopping, and restaurants. Other amenities that you might find include:
Golf courses and walking trails
Theme nights (bingo night, movie night, etc.)
Therapy options (massage, occupational, speech)
Various classes (art and cooking)
Places to garden
Access to medical care if needed
Make sure to ask what the extra amenities are and if any of them cost extra before you make your decision.
You should consider the neighborhood of your community as well as the amenities. Stores, malls, medical buildings, and any other place you might want to go can be a little spread out in Omaha, so if you don’t have a car, consider how far it is to walk or if the community has another transportation option. You also want to feel safe in your community so you might want to consider crime rates for the area and security options.
You also need to think about the future and what will happen as you age. Long-term care plans should factor into your decision on which community to choose. If you hate moving and want a place that can offer a continuum of care like Rolling Hills Ranch. Facilities like this can allow you to stay in one spot as you get older and accommodate any health needs you might have.
There are also places like Aksarben Village that have a more independent feel. You can have your own house or apartment and other than the usual amenities, go about your life on your terms. No matter what you choose, find a place that fits both your needs and your desires so you can enjoy retirement the way you want to.
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