In the past, the best retirement community was thought to be a quiet place in the South, separated from the hustle and bustle of life where most decisions have been decided by experts, health care is conveniently located, and activities are free of exertion and sharp edges. This may not sound appealing to the baby boomer generation. The free-thinking age group that grooved in the 60’s might find the cookie-cutter solutions to retirement living a real drag.
If you are in the next wave of retirees, you will want to craft a lifestyle that fits your unique vision. Many hours of work time are spent dreaming of the ideal future of leisure in the idyllic places where one may indulge in one’s favorite activities without limit. If you have done this kind of homework, you are ready to begin choosing the best retirement community for you.
Planned community or nice neighborhood?
The planned retirement community is a growth industry. Clusters of small homes in quiet cul-de-sacs, gated or not, with pleasant lawns and tiny back yards, all surrounding a community center that features bingo and arts and crafts. It may seem that they are all alike, but they each compete to be the best retirement community. Although it may sound boring on the face of it, it isn’t a bad way to spent one’s golden years. Retired couples have more definite ideas of what they require than do honeymooners. So these communities don’t skimp on landscaping and amenities.
There is frequently a good golf course nearby as well as some sort of waterfront area. A concentration of retirees invites the attention of businesses that will cater to their needs. The “early bird special” is frequently used as a joke but restaurants do have special prices and times for their special customers. The more retired ladies there are in an area, the less likely it is that they will have to hunt through music-video costumes when clothes shopping, music stores will stock their music and grocery stores will stock foods for special diets. But if you don’t see yourself as “old,” you may not see a community of old people as the best retirement community for you.
To move or not to move
There is no rule that you have to move away from your home when you retire, of course. Your best retirement community may be the one where you’ve spent most of your adult years. And why not? You just have the house the way you like it. It’s finally paid off or nearly so. You know which dry cleaners makes good on lost buttons, which bakery has the best Danish and which corner has the longest yellow light. Now that you have more time to spend enjoying your neighborhood, why move? Staying in your own area only proves that you always knew what was right for you.