There are millions of retired adults who are enjoying the advantages of a retirement community. Surrounded by their peers, these communities often have activities and group outings that are reflective of the retirement lifestyle. Many are even structured to provide in-home care needs on a scalable basis so that the greatest levels of independence can be achieved for as long as possible. The pros and cons of a retirement community should be carefully considered, however, before a decision to move into one is made.
The Pros of a Retirement Community
1. It’s the chance to form new friendships.
Once retirement occurs, it can be difficult to maintain friendships. Some people might still be working. Others might have moved away to pursue their own retirement goals. A retirement community counters the loneliness that can occur by providing numerous opportunities to meet new people and make new friends who share similar interests, hobbies, and ambitions.
2. It provides an opportunity to live closer to the grandchildren.
Many grandparents want to be closer to their families at retirement, but they also don’t want to be a bother to their children. A retirement community provides a nice compromise because it allows people to be close to their families while their care needs are met for a specific price. This also means that families have a certain assurance that their loved ones will receive the proper levels of care that are required to meet their needs.
3. It reduces the space requirements for living.
A 4 bedroom home can be difficult to maintain once retirement age comes. Many retirement communities offer 1- and 2-bedroom apartments or condominiums that are designed to meet the changing space requirements that people have as they age. This allows people to reinvent themselves as they move into the next phase of life without feeling overwhelmed by certain burdens or responsibilities.
4. There are many options from which to choose.
A generation ago, a retirement community was basically just a slang term for “nursing home.” No one really wants to live in a place where family never comes to visit and the only interactions that occur come from the staff who are assigned to your floor. The modern retirement community has medical care on-site, modern living arrangements of different sizes, and the chance to downsize and potentially save money.
The Cons of a Retirement Community
1. They can still be socially isolating.
Some folks have moved into a retirement community only to discover that there isn’t anyone that shares their same interests. This means they wind up paying for activities and luxuries that they could provide themselves on their own without the associated costs of the retirement community.
2. They can be rather expensive.
The cost of living in a retirement community can be higher than living in one’s own home and having a personal caregiver stop by to have certain needs met. The advantage is that everything has just one payment, but if a home already has the mortgage paid off, the costs of a retirement community will be higher. If skilled nursing care should be needed, the costs may even be higher than what a nursing home or assisted living provider locally may charge.
3. It’s easy to create conditions of abuse.
There are many ways that abuse may occur within the confines of a retirement community. Some caregivers may choose not to give care. Management may influence how activity programs are developed or cancel activities in retaliation to complaints that some residents may make. It is also common for cliques or factions to develop within the residents of a community, which can create additional discord.
4. Kids aren’t usually allowed in a retirement community.
This is often the biggest adjustment that people have when moving to a retirement community. Young families are not allowed to live there. Children can visit, of course, but if you’re used to living in a mixed neighborhood where the kids are yelling and having fun in the afternoon, the switch to a retirement community can be a culture shock.
Meets Individual Needs in a Unique Way
The pros and cons of a retirement show that it can meet individual needs in a unique way. This type of community isn’t right for everyone, however, so if you’re feeling active and healthy, you might want to put off the decision to move into a retirement community. This isn’t an easy decision for sure, but a retirement community can help to provide you with the life you want to have.