The following information provides some generalizations about the housing options for seniors and retirees:
Living at home-aging in place
If you are healthy enough to care for yourself or if a member of the family or caregiver lives with you or can visit as often as is necessary to maintain your health and well-being.
There are several companies that provide quality in home care and assistance. Check www.homeinstead.com/Pages/home.aspx and www.villageseniorcare.com/
Throughout the country, 55 "village" programs are up and running, providing a range of low-cost home, medical, shopping, and social services and activities to senior members. Another 120 are in the works. And there are hundreds of other organized efforts to structure services to older residents of what are called "naturally occurring retirement communities." Their common goal is to help people stay in their homes through their 70s and 80s and, in a growing number of cases, into their 90s. For more information check this article money.usnews.com/money/blogs/the-best-life/2011/01/28/senior-villages-take-root-as-movement-matures
Things to consider when choosing a location in which to live during your retirement years
- Live within walking distance of basic amenities, such as health facilities, drug stores, supermarkets and banks.
- Live within driving distance of a hospital that has specialists in any area where you have major problems IE heart, kidney, eyes, arthritis, Alzheimer's, etc.
- If volunteering is of interest to you pick a community where there are opportunities.
- If continuing your education is important to you check the opportunities prior to moving.
- If the arts are important check the availability and locations of symphony, ballet, art museums, etc.
- Check the crime rate
- Check the availability of public transportation so you can easily reach stores and the many other places you need to visit
- Choose a place that is on one level, has halls wide enough for wheelchair access, doorways at least 36 inches wide and has an outside entrace without steps.
- Choose a place that has nonskid floors
Remember that what seems great for you and your spouse when you are in your early 60's may very well not work at all later in your retirement years.
Some plan to live with a family member or friend.
Some plan to live in an assisted-living or retirement community.
Traditionally these facilities offer additional care for seniors who can function independently. They offer assistance with both personal care and medical care.
Some plan to live in a continuing-care facility.
These facilities are actually retirement homes that allow seniors to move into a nursing home on site when/if necessary.
Some must live in a nursing home.
These facilities provide skilled medical care for seniors who are dependent on others for daily functions. They have medical staff available 24/7.
Some live at home with home health-care services.
Seniors who generally need constant assistance due to their age or because of some disability live in this type of arrangement.
Some retirees now decide to live in an RV
More retirees are “living nowhere” as they are RV enthusiasts; many have seasonal residences, living south in the winter and north in the summer. Others just use their RVs to travel to various destinations around the United States.
Often retired seniors say, "It's not where you live, but how you live". However sometimes where you live has a lot to do with how you can live.
Some are now retiring to Central and South America
Many U.S. Citizens are retiring to Central and South America. Housing as well as the cost of living is usually substantially less than in the states. Costa Rico is one of the countries that boasts a large contingent of retirees. Costa Rica allows U.S. citizens registered under its pension system to pay into the country's social-security system. Less than $40 a month qualifies you for full hospitalization and pharmacy coverage. Many retirees in Costa Rico use the local public-health administration as a backup for emergency care and rely on private clinics for most of their care.
Belize, Panama, Honduras and Nicaragua also have a good sized population of U.S. retirees and they actively court American retirees by offering tax-free status to anyone willing to buy or build a house there.
However care should be given when you plan to retire in foreign countries as laws change. In Mexico's Baja peninsula a few years ago, many U.S. retirees learned that deeds on their beachfront property were not valid as they did not meet certain provisions of a national-security statute that permits only citizens to own land on Mexico's coasts.
To compare the cost of living in your current location to the cost of living somewhere else, check out the Moving Calculator at http://www.homestore.com and the Salary Comparison Calculator at http://www.monstermoving.com.
Nursing Home Information
The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services posted the quality ratings of 16,000 individual nursing homes across the U.S. based on a one- to five star scale. The ratings are based on data from state inspections, reports on staffing and quality measures, according to a CMS press release. The homes received stars for each category and for overall quality.
Learn more at http://www.medicare.gov/nhcompare.
Money Magazine lists the 100 best places for seniors to live in America. Their top 10 are:
1. Louisville, CO
2. Milton, MA
3. Solon, OH
4. Leesburg, VA
5. Papillion, NE
6. Hanover, NH
7. Liberty, MO
8. Middleton, WI
9. Mukilteo, WA
Many older Americans are returning to the northern states or to the area where they were living prior to retiring.
Retirees who moved to Florida, Arizona and other warm areas in the south are returning north. Most go back when their health deteriorates, when their spouse dies or when they are worried about their moneys running out. When asked many also say they want to return to be near family and friends with whom they grew up. A common answer is they are lonely or have medical issues and want to be with loved ones. Some older couples indicated that the friends they moved south to join had either moved or passed on.
Most have moved south during early retirement when they were active and were interested in joining adult communities. However as they age and their health deteriorates and they can no longer participate in an active lifestyle they reconsider living in these communities which are often expensive and do not suit a more sedentary life style.
It becomes more attractive to return to the place they came from, particularly if their children and other family and friends still live there. Some have grandchildren they wish to spend more time with as it is expensive to fly them back and forth for visits..
Moving firms that track moves on a state by state basis note more and more moves of their senior customers back to the northern states. Florida attracts the largest number of retirees from states like New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania and Ohio; however there are a good number of moves from Florida back to these states or origin recently. More of these late movers are women, who on average live longer than men. Seniors who leave Florida for northern states are often twice as likely to be widowed as those who move south. Between 2000 and 2005, about 58,000 people in the older age group left the South for the Midwest, compared with about 17,000 people who made the more traditional move from the Midwest to the South.
A study by the National Association on Aging showed that "over half of the communities in the country had not begun to plan for the aging of their existing population, much less contemplate a boomerang population coming back in their community."
Private companies are sprouting to fill the void in public services for the aging in northern cities. Companies like Home Instead Senior Care, an Omaha company that provides shopping, cooking and cleaning services for seniors. It has expanded from 228 to 533 franchises in the USA since 2000.
It is often said that it is not where you live but how you live that is important. While this is certainly true, where you live, at least for seniors, very much determines how you live. Your lifestyle as a senior or retiree will depend on whether you live at home by yourself or with your spouse or with family, in a retirement community, in an assisted-living community or a nursing home, and so forth. Your lifestyle will also depend on where you live geographically and how close you will be living to friends and family who can assist you in times of need.