There are lots of retirement living strategies — age in place, downsize, rent, move in with family, live in an age-restricted (55-plus) community. But if you’re 55, you may not be remotely ready to think about where and how you’ll live in retirement. After all, according to one study, only 6.74% of Americans even considered themselves retired at age 55.
However, you don’t actually need to be retired to start planning for retirement and senior living. Thinking ahead about where to retire is just as important as knowing when to retire.
If you’re 55 or older, here are six compelling reasons why you should start planning for your move to a Life Plan Community.
- You have time to do all your research. In terms of retirement living options, there are many choices available to you: Continuing Care Retirement Communities, or CCRCs, also known as Life Plan Communities; 55-plus active adult communities, rentals, Life Care Comminutes, and others.
If you’re planning on a retirement community in Florida, you’ll have more than 850 to choose from, according to seniorliving.org. Starting your planning now allows you to educate yourself on the types of senior living and discover what type of community will fit you best.
- You gain a better understanding of what you can afford. The cost of senior living varies greatly depending on several factors, such as the community’s location, the size of your selected residence, whether it’s just you or you and your spouse living there, what type of community it is and the types of care it offers you, and what types of services and amenities are available to you.
Maybe you want a community that offers independent living plus higher levels of care on campus. You’re also hoping for several services such as housekeeping, all maintenance covered, and lawn care taken care of. You also want amenities like multiple dining options, a fitness center, pools, resident-driven clubs and groups, activities, and outings. A community with all this will understandably cost more than one that only provides you with housing. Figuring out what are you truly able to afford is important, so consider meeting with a financial planner to determine what retirement plan is best for you.
- You can choose the style of your living space. When you have time to make your decision, you can afford to be a bit picky. Whether you want a two-bedroom, two-bathroom apartment with screened-in porch or a three-bedroom, three-bathroom freestanding villa with two-car garage, starting your search at 55 lets you leisurely learn about all your selections. If you want a specific type of residence or floor plan, but it’s not available right now, joining a community’s waitlist gives you the opportunity to essentially “get in line” for your preferred residence. We’ll explain what that means a bit later.
- You might be able to customize your living space. As you start investigating your living options, you’ll notice every senior living community offers different types of floor plans. When you plan ahead for your move, many communities offer the ability to begin customizing what your future home will look like before you actually make the move there. So, while options vary from community to community, getting a chance to decide how your space is constructed gives you a unique opportunity to choose based on your lifestyle, rather than what’s available.
- You have the luxury of preparing your home to sell. The hot housing market over the last few years has meant homes that went on the market got multiple offers in hours, not days. And some homes sold fast — and over asking price — even though they needed expensive renovations.
But the housing market is always subject to change. If your home needs some work, take this time to assess its needs and make improvements. Consider doing some touch-ups, updates, remodels, or renovations around your house. This can range from updating paint colors and finishes to remodeling a dated kitchen to adding on a sunroom. When you’re ready to make your move, your house will be ready to sell!
- You might decide you want to enjoy the senior living experience sooner. As we mentioned earlier, you don’t have to be retired to plan for your retirement living. You also don’t have to be retired to move into senior living. Some communities accept residents as young as 55, which means you can continue working in your career field and enjoy all the perks of independent living now.
One final note you should know: Some communities may have a waitlist. Some communities may stay full for months or even years; some communities’ more popular floor plans may rarely become available.
Joining a waitlist or two can help ensure that you can move into one of your favorite communities when you’re ready to move. Becoming a waitlist member can also give you opportunities to meet current residents and staff, try out different amenities, and simply get familiar with the community. Just getting onto a waitlist can also help jump-start your planning, downsizing, and moving process, which may help lower your future stress about all those things.
Remember, starting your planning at age 55 means you have time to investigate all your senior living options. Starting your retirement community search now allows you to:
- Research all the types of communities available.
- Learn what each community’s independent living offers you.
- Compare things like the entrance fees and monthly service fees, services and amenities, and independent living floor plans.
- Arrange tours of your top contenders.
If this sounds appealing to you, perhaps you should move The Waterford to the top of your list of communities to visit. Start by contacting us today. We can explain what it means to be Juno Beach’s only Life Care community, and why that’s so important when it comes to peace of mind for your future.