Finding the Ideal Retirement Community

When you find yourself in search of the ideal retirement community, you are either eyeing a near-term exodus from the working world or you’re already retired, but looking for something different.  In either case, the “ideal retirement community” largely depends on what “ideal retirement” is for you!  You may have a very clear idea of what you want to do in retirement (pursue the artist within you, write the great American novel, or volunteer your time to help others), or, you may just want the chance to kick back and explore your options.  In either case, there are aspects of retirement living you’ll want to consider.

First, is overall community security important to you?  Would you appreciate the sense of safety afforded by a gated community with 24-hour community services and patrol?  If you intend to travel during your retirement, would you travel more confidently knowing that the communities’ patrol provides home checks for traveling residents?

What about social opportunities?  During our “work years”, many of us had little time for social activities.  Would you want to take advantage of planned events (concerts, dances, shows, excursion trips, etc.) with neighbors and friends?  What about that hobby you’d like to pursue?  Would you like to have some help getting started or be able to share ideas with like-minded hobbyists?  What about sports activities?  Would you like to enjoy community facilities for tennis, pickleball, golf, swimming, and aerobics?   Overall, is an active adult community appealing to you?

Is proximity to goods/services a prime consideration?  You might want to look for a retirement development that is situated near shopping, medical services, cultural activities, and airport services, for example.
You’ll also want to consider, of course, the types/styles/sizes of homes to buy or build.  Are luxury retirement homes available?  Do available floorplans fit your needs?  How much customization can you include to make it perfect for you?  Is a wonderful view important to you?  Are home prices and local cost-of-living affordable?

Now that you’ve thought about some of the things you’re looking for in your ideal retirement community, what are some ways you can evaluate communities against your ideal?

Certainly, you can checkout websites as a way to winnow your choices.  After that, you really need to visit the retirement locations.  Take advantage of guest visitor programs that might be available, talk with residents, tour the property, look at the amenities offered, and enjoy lunch/dinner at a property restaurant.  Take note of the overall appearance of the community and the mood of the residents.  Find the community that “feels right” to you!