Are retirement communities worth the cost?
As we got older, we started to need more and more help with tasks we had always done on our own. At the same time, we may find ourselves a bit withdrawn when the kids leave the house and we lose touch with old friends. Retirement communities are one way to get the help you need with plenty of opportunities to socialize with your neighbors.
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Typically, these communities 55 and over will have you live in a communal environment, such as an apartment or condo. These communities allow you to cut back on your lifestyle, and in some cases, the costs may be lower.
But choosing to move into a retirement community isn’t necessarily an irrational choice. Like most life decisions, there are pros and cons, and there are costs to consider as well. Make sure to keep all of these things in mind before you decide what to do.
While cost is not the only consideration when moving into a retirement community, it is often one of the first things that come to mind. Staying in a retirement community can be affordable, but it can also be expensive. The cost can vary widely based on factors such as the type and location of the community.
The costs in retirement communities can be lower than in other living arrangements, but it depends on the type of community. For example, luxury retirement communities are usually more expensive than your usual one. If you need to live in a supported living facility, it will likely cost more than an independent living community.
Where you live can make a big difference, too. Retirement communities are much cheaper, on average, in states like South Dakota and Minnesota than they are in states like Maryland and Massachusetts. This is according to data from SeniorHomes.com. The national average monthly cost is $2,432 based on that data.
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There is still more to think about in terms of cost. Retirement communities can charge HOA fees, and some pay a one-time transition fee. Make sure you are aware of all fees ahead of time.
Finally, if you are enrolled in Medicaid, it may be able to cover some of the costs. However, not all types of facilities are covered in all states, and restrictions apply. Check with your state to see what is covered.
means of comfort
Retirement communities can have a variety of amenities, depending on the type of community. There are over 55 retirement communities, assisted living facilities, nursing homes, condominium communities, and more.
However, some of the amenities you may find in your retirement community include:
- art lessons
- physical education classes
- Basketball and volleyball courts, etc.
- Swimming pool
- fitness centers
- golf courses
- dog parks
These are some examples, but there are countless amenities that can be included. Of course, retirement communities with a higher monthly cost tend to have a wide range of amenities.
socializing with neighbors
One of the biggest benefits of living in a retirement community is the opportunity to get to know your neighbors. Transitioning to the later stages of life can be challenging, especially if you are naturally extroverted. You may have lost most of the social circles you had before, and if you had children, they may have moved away by now, leaving your home empty.
Fortunately, retirement communities often provide ample opportunities for socializing with your neighbors. “From a community point of view, look to see what events, gatherings, and services they offer that bring people together,” says Jay Zygmont, founder of Childfree Wealth. “Some communities offer community meals, entertainment, and more,” Zygmont says.
Zigmont also mentioned that these opportunities are great if you are a person, but not everyone fits this mold. “If you’re more introverted and won’t turn up, society may not add value (and may actually move away from what you want),” he said.
Safety and security
Safety is a concern no matter your age. The good news is that retirement communities are often built in a way that makes them safe. For example, it may be fenced and only allow approved guests into the building. Compared to living in a neighborhood, you can generally feel safe with this setup.
Attention to medical needs can be either a pro or a con for retirement communities, depending on what it offers and the extent of your needs. As with other types of services, there are different levels of care for different types of facilities. For example, living facilities and nursing homes provide day care for those who need it.
Other types of facilities may not have medical staff on site but may provide transportation to nearby medical facilities. In general, you’ll pay more for more comprehensive care. Thus, although some types of retirement communities may not provide the level of care you need, costs in those communities may also be lower.
Pros and Cons
We’ve reviewed some of the pros and cons of retirement communities. Here’s a quick look at the benefits and drawbacks:
- The cost of living can be lower than living alone
- Some offer ample amenities
- Allows you to mingle with the neighbors
- It can be very safe
- Some have medical staff on site
- There can be unexpected charges, such as HOA
- Lack of age diversity
- Homes can be smaller than detached homes
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This article originally appeared on GOBankingRates.com: Are Retirement Communities Worth the Cost?
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