Home is where the heart is – even at retirement
About two years ago I thought of selling my house and move to a retirement community.
I checked out a couple of them, but decided against it for three reasons:
First: Both are surrounded by high walls making them look like prisons. I don’t want to spend the rest of my days staring at formidable and lifeless concrete walls around me;
Second: It is another expense item considering that my house is mortgage-free;
Third: I have a great support system, i.e., my kids and their spouses love and support me, I am happy with my tennis buddies, my coffee shop friends satisfy my social and intellectual needs, and I live in a town I was born in and practically know anybody and everybody worth knowing.
What about you?
If you are enjoying the things I am enjoying, it’s definitely better to stay home.
But if something is missing in your life, a retirement home may be a good option.
Moving into one is not easy, however. To help you decide, here are some points worth carefully thinking about.
Benefits of Staying Home
Familiarity with your surroundings is a great factor to your happiness and wellness. You know your home like the back of your hand, your neighbors, the community and its amenities, even the names of the check-out girls in your friendly convenience or grocery store.
2. Fear of the future:
Whereas aging is inevitable, the future is fearfully uncertain.
That fear is minimized when you are close to family, relatives and friends who can help you should the inevitable happens
3. Availability of resources:
With the current developments in home care, and the latest in technology, you are never far away from necessary resources to make your retirement as enjoyable and safe as possible.
And the nearness of people you know is very comforting
4. Lowers friction between you and parents:
When my children got married and moved away from our home, I was gripped with sadness and gloom. I thought I could not survive without them.
My fears proved unfounded. I enjoyed my lonesomeness when I got over the denial period.
Parent/children relationships are always ticklish. It becomes even more so if we consider the in in-laws.
I and my children (with spouses) bond very well. I strongly doubt if it will be as good had I lived with them, or vice-versa. The differences in personalities will eventually result into some friction.
5. Removes feelings of isolation:
You may not see your children as often, but you know that they are just a drive, a text or a call away. And that makes you feel connected.
You may get lonely at times, but knowing that you can talk to them anytime you want to, removes that feeling of isolation seniors often feel.
6. Enjoying the best of both worlds:
Living alone in your own home is kind of enjoying the best of both worlds – being independent, yet surrounded by people who support, care and love you.
I spend my afternoons in a coffee, do what I want to do, date whomever I like, and travel as much as my finances allow me.
Modesty aside, not many of my close friends are enjoying retirement as much as I am.
Staying home is definitely less expensive, especially if you are mortgage-free.
Depending on accommodations and amenities, a retirement home can cost a fortune, which may be out of your budget.
8. Avoid elderly abuse:
Elderly abuse is on the rise and the culprits are either close family members or retirement home staff.
What makes it very problematic for the victims is that those committed within retirement institutions are often swept under the rug, whitewashed, or hidden from the public.
If you stay home, there are plenty of avenues to seek redress from if you are victimized by close family members, relatives, or neighbors.
9. You are with the majority:
According to the AARP, about 90% of seniors want to retire at home.
They think that if they have survived all these years at home, they will survive the rest of their days.
“Home is where the heart is,” as the saying goes. And I could never think of any other place to breathe my last.
1. If bored with familiarity:
Living alone can often make you feel isolated, even in the midst of family, friends and community. You can be bored to death.
Moving to a retirement home is a change in scenery for you. You get to meet new people, live in new surroundings, and get involved in community activities. It is invigorating.
2. To feel safe:
Retirement homes are often gated communities, complete with security personnel and emergency response systems in each apartment.
They are practically free from thieves and con-men unless you invite them in out of na·ive·té.
They give you a sense of safety and peace.
3. To avoid home chores:
A retirement home is perfect for elderly people with physical ailments that make it difficult to work in the garden, climb ladders to change a light bulb, shovel snow, fix a leaky faucet, or simple home maintenance activities.
4. You want to unburden your children:
Being close to your children can often cause some sort of dependency which can strain relationships.
Moving to a retirement home removes that kind of dependency. You give them some breathing space, and you learn to fend for yourself.
5. If you want to have more fun:
Retirement communities offer a wealth of activities to keep you engaged, like a game of chess, bridge, poker and many other card games.
They have reading and discussion groups, group exercise and more. Some even have classes and lectures on every conceivable topic.
6. To avoid the stress from driving:
Retirement communities provide free transportation for the residents.
Driving can be very stressful when we grow old due to the deterioration of our reflexes and vision. However, if you still drive, they provide parking space for your car.
7. Better nutrition:
One of the major concerns of live alone seniors is lack of proper nutrition. Not many of can cook, know how to prepare nutritious food, or the mobility to buy the necessary foods for their health and wellness.
Retirement communities don’t have this problem because nutritious and tasty food is served every day of the week.
Although 90% of seniors want to retire at home, the market for retirement homes is exponentially increasing each year as more and more baby boomers retire, and retire in style.
Marketers of retirement homes provide prospects with a wide array of choices – from simple communities, to homelike accommodations, to something like a luxurious, high-end hotel or a cruise ship. But they can cost as high as much as $ 50,000/year.
Because of the wide array of choices, getting one that fits your needs and budget requires a very careful review and inspection of what you are buying. They are not all created equal.
Either way, both home retirement or on a community costs money.
The bottom line, therefore, is the cost/benefit relationship of each.
Go for something that gives you the most out of every cent you spend in terms of safety, peace, happiness, overall well-being.