I’ve mentioned before the importance of modifying your home so that you can easily get around as you get older — and to make those modifications long before the need arises. This applies to those who plan on living in their current home as long as possible. Another option includes moving to a home that is safer, easier and more convenient.
Nationwide, senior housing is being designed to be smaller and maintenance-free. The homes are accessible inside and out, and have very few stairs or none at all. Often, these housing developments are close to shopping and transportation routes, walkable community spaces, recreation, cultural venues and places of worship.
As more baby boomers move closer toward retirement, they are likely to see more communities that are specifically designed for active seniors who want all of the benefits of having their own home but who don’t want to be tied down with home maintenance. For them, less is more, which in this case means fewer things to take care of and more time to do things they really enjoy. Residents of active retirement communities are making the conscious decision to have more time do what they love to do.
As I’ve become older, I find that I value my time above other things that were priorities when I was younger. To me, having time means being able to enjoy my family, friends and neighbors, taking time for myself on my morning walk, reading a good book and taking time out to hike in the woods. With this new perspective I can appreciate why these communities are attractive to many.
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If you think that one of these new retirement communities may be right for you, take some time to plan your to move, identify your priorities and decide how you want to spend your most important commodity — your time — before you decide where to live.
The options available are numerous and varied, and include options from communities with smaller single-family units that may require some maintenance to turnkey condominiums with fully independent living. There are also independent-living apartments, where your food and services are available to you within one facility. And, of course, there’s assisted living, where a variety of medical assistance is available if needed.
Many of these communities also provide options for us as we age, including adult family homes, in which you have a bedroom in a shared living environment, as well as nursing homes for those who need specialized medical care on a daily basis.
Make the most of your retirement years by doing some research, developing a plan that meets your needs now and into the future, and then pursuing it.
Dr. Rachel C. Wood is the health officer for Thurston and Lewis counties. Reach her at 360-867-2501, firstname.lastname@example.org, co.thurston.wa.us/health, @ThurstonHealth on Twitter, or facebook.com/ThurstonHealth.