Senior Living Knowing When It Feels Like Home

Retirement brings about change -a change in your daily schedule, a change of activities and often a change of location. How do you know you have found your new home? What does it look like…and feel like?

Retiring seniors have a multitude of choices today for living options. There are 55+ Active Living Communities, Independent Living, Apartments – for just seniors or not, Low Income and Sharing your home. This means renting to others and sharing all or part of the whole house.

You may also be looking at Assisted Living that may or may not have a Memory Care Center. So many choices. How will you know it’s Home?

Starting the thought process.

We are a generation of homeowners. Most Baby Boomers + have owned at least one home. Furnishing and personalizing your home makes it your go-to place. A sense of comfort and security give it that warm, homey feeling.

Do you know where you want to live when you retire? This decision may be harder than you think. An initial evaluation may help you sort out the pros and cons. The best place to start is NOT with what’s wrong with where you live now, or how much you hated that vacation condo last winter. It takes thought, research and especially visiting a few choices. The visits should last longer than a couple days. Check out the area – shopping, ease of transportation, medical facilities and residential neighborhoods are what you will be living with, maybe for years. Some questions to ask:

  • How does it feel?
  • Will it be reasonably easy to adjust and get around?
  • Are the prices right for your needs and preferences?
  • Can you see yourself settling in and staying for several years?

How to find your home

I decided to retire when I reached 62. I lived in a cold climate, my kids were out of the house, and I wanted a warm, relaxed environment.

Arizona interested me. And it was easy to check it out. My brother and sister-in-law had been coming to Arizona for a few winters, so I booked a ticket to have a look. I visited about 8 places, walked the grounds and checked out the clubhouse, talked with residents and staff and took notes. I got a “feel” for each community.
I found the perfect place. A 55+ community, still being built, and I chose a lot and floor plan. The clubhouse offered a library and business center, craft rooms, ballroom for large events, a kitchen, meeting rooms and a beautiful pool and patio. I lived there for 11 years and loved it.

The time came when family concerns prompted me to sell the house and move to another well-known senior community in Arizona. I didn’t give it a thorough enough evaluation, and it wasn’t a good fit. I learned that renting is very different than home ownership. I also learned that it’s critical to know and understand the governing process in the community.

Problems

Here’s an example of what may happen. This happened to me.

I moved into a year around rental house in a large and popular community in the West Valley in Arizona. Spacious, located on a cul-de-sac with nicely landscaped houses, the place I rented had multiple problems. Cockroaches in nearly every room, water coming up through the floorboards, a broken sprinkler system that gushed water into the street, and sticky dirt on the tops of kitchen cabinets.

I had walked through the house and talked with the homeowner. I read the lease several times before signing. I should have taken it to a lawyer. A little time and money could have saved everyone a lot of grief.

What surprised me most was when management seemed not to know how to remedy the problem, or was indifferent to the situation. Sometimes the “governing board” really doesn’t have the authority to do anything. It’s basically a bylaws and discussion group.

What I failed to realize is that landlords aren’t required to submit a completion list. Regular repairs, pest control, landscape watering system and professional cleaning is all required each time a new tenant moves in. A simple itemized sheet with company name, date and phone number would have clarified everything. A Review Board could handle it, make a few calls for authenticity and give it the go-ahead.

Solutions

Here’s where the management system – and the people running the office – become center stage. How will problems be resolved? Who do you talk to? What does your lease say? What do staff members tell you? Did you get a Welcome Packet that re-states when you have been verbally told?
It’s wonderful when you talk to a knowledgeable and considerate person, and the problem is solved promptly. Unfortunately, this doesn’t always happen. What if your maintenance request is ignored. Or your blll is incorrect?

Knowing what you can do, and what your rights are is critical. In my own experience, I’ve had things go wrong several times. It’s going to happen. Problems will arise. So look carefully into the management style and ask some questions. Ask residents, staff and whoever shows you around.

Check list

“What kind of maintenance problems have you experienced in the last 6 months?

How long did it take to get them resolved?” Don’t accept vague answers like, “Oh, we try to get issues settled promptly.” How long is “promptly”?

“What kinds of activities and amenities are verbally promised to prospective residents and then not delivered?”

“Are there fees that we’ll be expected to pay that haven’t been mentioned?”


“When problems arise with outsourced business aspects, how is this handled?” Ex. Billing companies, food services, cleaning, repairs, etc.
“How long does it take to resolve issues with outsourced businesses?”

“What happens if you need to move out?”


“What are the rules for family members and visitors regarding pool hours, use of equipment, overnight stays, bringing pets?”


“When I’m away for periods of time – options for paying bills, checking on my house/apartment, getting my mail?”


There’s no place like home.

There is a tremendous sense of belonging when you finally decide you’re found your retirement home. Perhaps you’ll travel for part of each year. Or maybe you’ll acclimate to your new surroundings, make friends and settle in.

Let’s see how retirees are filling their days.


The Retired Life What It Looks Like

My life is semi-retired. I’ve been writing since before I took my social security, but have maximized my efforts to generate a cash flow. My resources are varied and include both writing and marketing. Here are my websites and what I do.

My books, articles and grief and loss resources
Information and resources about senior issues and change

A blog for seniors and affiliates

https://www.wealthyaffiliate.com?a_aid=bbef2943

Right now, home is Texas. I have a nice place to live and many new and wonderful friends.

My office is basically a computer, and I can write anywhere. So I’m planning to travel.

Please check out my information. It’s to help you evaluate where you make your home, and what your retirement will look like. Your Retired Life should be just what you want.

I’m so glad you read my post. I would love to hear from you. Questions, comments, stories or suggestions are always welcome.

Judy