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Tips For Choosing A Senior Living Community

by Kimberly Johnson
Tips For Choosing A Senior Living Community

According to the Merriam-Webster Dictionary, retirement is defined as the act of withdrawing, going away, retreating. Tips For Choosing A Senior Living Community
When it comes to the modern definition of retirement – that glorious age where we can shed the 9 to 5 work responsibilities and live our lives to the fullest – some of those words in the traditional definition may apply.
Many seniors and boomers, who have been gainfully employed their entire lives, withdraw from the workforce to spend more time with their families, hobbies and other activities. Some choose to “go away” on trips they’ve always wanted to take, but never had the time to enjoy while working and raising a family. And many retirees “retreat” to senior living communities, where they can engage socially with others their age and get assistance, as needed, as they age.
Retirement communities can be a fabulous experience for seniors and boomers. In previous blogs, we’ve explored the benefits of choosing to downsize and move into a retirement community. To recap, the benefits of choosing a retirement community are numerous: save money on living expenses; save time on household chores; opportunity for social interaction and group social activities; on-site skilled care if needed. Tips For Choosing A Senior Living Community
We know the benefits of choosing to downsize into a retirement community; however, not all communities are created equal. Some senior communities are larger than others, and there can be pros and cons to both the large communities and the smaller ones. Tips For Choosing A Senior Living Community

Living Large

Just about every major city has at least one larger retirement community. Some are so large – with 400, 800 or even 1,000-plus residents – and offer so many amenities that they carry the moniker “retirement resort.”
There are many advantages to a larger retirement community. Tips For Choosing A Senior Living Community
If you are among the seniors and boomers who are in excellent health and wish to remain active and busy in retirement, a larger retirement community is probably best suited to your needs. Because they are serving such a large population, these retirement communities are overflowing with the kinds of amenities active seniors crave.
Enjoy swimming or taking a variety of exercise classes? Many larger retirement communities have these kinds of facilities right on their campus, along with the qualified staff members capable of teaching seniors how to improve or maintain their physical fitness.
Group outings with other members of the community also are a common amenity of larger senior retirement communities. These can include nights out at the local theater to weeklong vacations in Europe.
Some larger retirement communities may even have golf courses located on their property that is exclusive to residents and their guests.
Most retirement communities of all sizes offer transportation to surrounding areas; however, larger retirement communities may offer more frequent routes to a variety of locations due to the increased number of residents they are serving.
Perhaps one of the most notable perks of a large retirement community is the variety in housing options seniors can select. From studio apartments to multiple-bedroom condos, seniors are able to select the size, type and features associated with their new home.
Sounds great, right? While larger retirement communities undoubtedly have a lot of items in the plus column, those amenities and features come with a price tag. For some seniors and boomers, the higher cost will not be an issue. For others, however, it may put these kinds of retirement communities out of the running.

Smaller Can Sometimes Be Better

If cost is an issue – or if you are someone who simply doesn’t need a gazillion different activities and features to be happy in retirement – than smaller retirement communities may be more ideal.
Smaller retirement communities have that cozy look and feel, which can be important to seniors and boomers who wish to be social with others of the same age group, but not overwhelmed by so many residents that it is difficult to make new friendships and remember people’s names. Some larger communities can be difficult to navigate, so for seniors who want to keep it simple, smaller may be the way to go.
Just because they are small doesn’t mean they don’t offer activities to keep residents busy and to help facilitate social opportunities. Bingo, movies, and other featured programs abound at most retirement communities, regardless of size.
Seniors probably will not find the same kind of options for housing at smaller communities, but that isn’t always a bad thing. There are benefits to “living small,” including cleaning being much easier to accomplish and curbing impulse purchases due to smaller living quarters.

Making the Right Choice

If you are unsure of which kind of community most appeals to you and your specific retirement needs and dreams, take some time to visit both so you have a complete picture of your options.
Regardless of whether seniors choose a large community or a cozy community, there are benefits to downsizing to a senior community that can be found at both. They include:

  • Safety and peace of mind – big or small, retirement communities provide residents with the assurance that their safety and security is top on the list of amenities featured. From gated access to security guards and key-card locked residences, senior communities of all sizes go above and beyond to protect their residents.
  • Fewer home maintenance issues – as we age, performing even the most routine home maintenance chores can be tedious and even dangerous. In retirement communities of all sizes, gone are the days of mowing the grass, snow removal and fixing leaking pipes or other broken appliances.
  • Aging in place – most retirement communities offer residents the ability to age in place, providing continuing care for all stages of life.

Want to learn more about downsizing and the benefits of retirement communities? Check out one of our upcoming Upside of Downsizing conferences.

By Mary Spann

Mary Spann is the founder and president of Upside of Downsizing®. In addition to her 26 years in construction, interior design, and home staging, Mary also holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Social Work, making her uniquely qualified to assist with the downsizing process. Mary learned the key components of construction and interior design at an early age. Her father was a prominent custom home builder in Minnesota and Texas, and her mother was a successful interior designer and a real estate broker.

Tips For Choosing A Senior Living Community

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