• Joanne Peters

Planning Ahead

Benefits of a Retirement Community

There’s much you will consider when deciding to move to a retirement community, especially in the central coast in California. Beauty, peacefulness, location halfway between Los Angeles and San Francisco… it all is starting to sound pretty good! But what about those deep questions that linger, such as: what will it cost? Will I have freedom to do and go where I want and when I want to? Will I like the new friends I am bound to meet as neighbors? What about the food? And then the inevitable question finally hits you is, how am I going to get there? This is where most people put the brakes on! It is an overwhelming thought to take 30+ years of your home and move it. The first thing to ask yourself is: would you rather plan your own relocation or wait until a crisis occurs and have your family make the decisions for you? That’s a hard concept to grasp, but let’s just follow this story a bit further. Scenario 1: Jim and Carol are thinking ahead. Their adult children live about 250 miles north and the drive to visit is taking a lot more effort than it used to. They love being around the kids and grandchildren, but they certainly don’t want to be a bother. Carol suggests to Jim that they might want to look into a retirement community where they could have the freedom living on their own, yet have others available if something were to happen to either one of them. Scenario 2: Bob and Janet are in their early 80s and life has been great raising the kids in the family home for over 30 years. Janet loves her two-story home with her large dining room where she once gracefully set the table for the annual family Thanksgiving dinner. As for Bob, he loves his garden and beautiful, large lawn that sets off the front of his home, just like the White House! However, there are a few problems for Bob and Janet now. Janet finds it hard to manage the stairs to the bedroom anymore and Bob is not physically able to handle the chores of mowing and weeding to keep his property looking like it did 3 decades ago; honestly those weeds have invaded most of the yard now. Perhaps a crisis is looming for Bob and Janet; a fall down the stairs, a hurt shoulder, or a back injury from bending over picking the weeds could be right around the corner. So NOW might be a good opportunity for both couples to start considering their next options. Open communication is very helpful, because this is where most couples start getting bogged down. As both couples look around their home and see all the “stuff” they have collected over the many years of home ownership, the pure sense of overwhelm takes over their need to clearly think about their future and how to care for each other as they age. Now let’s turn the story over to advantages of “rightsizing.” These benefits, while not all will necessarily apply to you, might include:

  • Freeing yourself for new adventures

  • Releasing equity

  • Reducing your everyday domestic costs such as maintenance and utilities

  • Minimizing the daily chores and avoiding life threatening injuries

  • Resizing and letting go of a large house you no longer need

  • Feeling safe and secure

  • A new home to suit your future needs

  • A fresh start can in itself be very therapeutic – new home, new area, new activities, and a wider circle of friends

Many of us just have too many possessions with whole rooms occupied with things we no longer use. It’s time to declutter and move on. Think about what you actually need, and sell or give away the rest – you’ll find it very cathartic! Simplifying your life should leave you overjoyed, not overwhelmed. It’s not an easy subject to discuss, but if you or your partner becomes unwell or even dies, how will this affect the other? Perhaps they will need someone to look after them? Talking this through pragmatically and rationally and planning ahead can help make things easier when life is at its most difficult. Consider putting together a plan for your future now.

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