When you retire, you will finally have the time to relax and enjoy both your family and your hobbies. However, you might also have to deal with less than relaxing things like cleaning, cooking, laundry, and general house upkeep and maintenance. If your free time is starting to look more like a never-ending chore list, you might be interested in moving to a 55+ community. Sometimes called retirement villages, senior living centers, or independent living, these communities can give you the chance to take back your retirement by handling all of the daily chores and to-do lists as well as offering additional amenities like fitness centers, daily activities, and chef created meals.
St. Paul is a great place to find a 55+ community that fits your needs and includes places like The Wellington and Pathways on the Park. Both of these places are highly rated and come with unique amenities. If you’re ready to give up your days of taking care of your house in favor of enjoying your time, start looking at communities in your area.
As you might expect, these communities are a little more expensive than say a regular apartment in St. Paul because they can offer seniors so much more things than a typical apartment. However, keep in mind that there are plenty of places to choose from and the price will vary based on their location, the size, and what they offer. Just to get an idea of cost, a typical one-bedroom apartment cost $1,060 per month last year, and a one-bedroom apartment in an independent living community can start as low as $800 and go as high as $2,000 per month.
The other caveat to 55+ community living is that you will have to pay for it with your own money. Medicaid, long-term care insurance, VA bills, and other benefits programs won’t be able to help you out because that money is for seniors that need things like personal and in-home health care. If you’re a healthy adult, they won’t pay for your basic living costs.
There are other ways to find money for this type of lifestyle, though. If you’re downsizing and selling your house, the profit can go toward your new home. Or, you could even rent out your house and then use those funds to pay for your living costs. If you receive Social Security payments or have a significant retirement savings account, that money can also be helpful.
Finally, you might consider getting a roommate to cut costs further. If you’re willing to share a two-bedroom apartment and the community allows it, this is a way to cut your costs in half. Be sure that you give the roommate situation a test run before finalizing anything to make sure that it is the right fit for you.
Before you decide where to live, you’re going to want to take into consideration your likes and wishes. Not every community is the same, and you shouldn’t just pick a place at random. Think about your lifestyle and how you want to spend your retirement. If pets are important to you, then you need a pet-friendly home. If your grandchildren are a big part of your life, then you need a community that can accommodate your family. Perhaps you like to travel, and your home life isn’t as important, you’re going to need a home that doesn’t require a lot of upkeep. If you like to go on daily outings or if you prefer to keep to yourself, those are both important qualities that you will want to consider in your new home.
After you have made a list of all your important qualities, you can start to look around. Your friends or relatives might be able to offer you some helpful suggestions but also look around online and in newspapers for ads and reviews of local communities. Here are a few things you might find in a 55+ community.
Your rent will often cover a few different things such as utilities. You need to ask to make sure, but many places will offer housekeeping, laundry services, and cable/TV. You might also be in need of transportation services, and that could be included in your cost. If this is important, check their schedule to make sure it works for you.
Meals are another area that you’re going to want to check out. Most places will have some meal plan, and you should ask how many meals that includes and if they also have snack options. If you have special dietary needs, make sure they can accommodate. You might also be able to opt-out of the plan if you prefer to cook on your own.
A few other things to ask about include their pet policies. Some places might have a size or breed restriction, and many communities will require a deposit. Ask about security and see what type of people they have on staff.
Along with the basic services, there will also be extra amenities. These can vary from place to place, so you will have to see what each offers. While some might be free to residents, there are a few that could cost extra. Many places might have a fitness center or daily planned outings, but you can also find:
Art or cooking classes
Free Wi-Fi in public areas
Again, these are just a few of the offerings you might find, but you will have to ask to see what is included.
Don’t forget to check out the surrounding neighborhood because this can play into your final decision. If you’re looking for a quiet place to live, then you don’t want to choose a community in a bustling downtown area. If you need to get to places easily but don’t have a car, you need to make sure you live where things are close, or there is an adequate transportation option.
While your health might be perfectly fine right now, it might not always be that way, and that should come into consideration when you’re choosing your community. You need to decide if you’re ok with moving once you can no longer take care of yourself or if you require more attention than you can find in a 55+ community. If that’s the case, you should look for communities that are a little more independent but might not have a continuum of care.
If you would prefer to age in place, then you will want to find a place like The Wellington or Pathways on the Park. Both of these communities have nurses on staff, doctors on call, offer respite care as well as hospice care, and in general, can adapt to your changing needs. While you might have to switch rooms or apartments, you won’t have to leave the premises to get the care you need.
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