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Things You Should Know About Senior Communities

Marian K Aug 25, 2020
Senior communities provide a good support system for older people, who need additional help, but still wish to retain their independence. While it is the only option for some, many others view it as an opportunity for fun and relaxation.
By 2030, the number of people over age 65 will soar to 71.5 million: one in every five Americans. According to "The Maturing of America: Getting Communities on Track for an Aging Population," published by the National Association of Area Agencies on Aging (n4a) and funded by the MetLife Foundation, this is twice the number in 2000.
As is obvious, they form a large demographic, and it is essential that their needs be catered to. Health care, nutrition, exercise, transportation, public safety, emergency services, workforce development, availability of financing, and volunteer opportunities are just some of their needs.
Carrying the responsibility of managing an entire household may be overwhelming for older people. Senior or adult retirement communities are a wonderful option for those who like their independence but need the extra help and care. These communities offer the perfect answer to the need for homes built specifically for seniors, medical aid, and assistance with chores.

Advantages of a Senior Community

Most homes are built on one level. This eliminates the task of climbing stairs which becomes increasingly difficult with age due to painful joints and bones.
Residents are surrounded with people of their own age, so making friends is easy.
Also, if one partner passes away, the other already has the support of an extended family in place.
The senior community association handles mowing of lawns, watering of gardens, trimming of trees, sweeping of walks, and providing snow and ice removal.

History

Kearsley is known to be America's First Retirement Community. When Dr. John Kearsley passed away in 1772, in his will, he directed Christ Church of Philadelphia to utilize a large part of his estate to establish the first retirement community in the US. Currently, it functions as an independent, nonprofit, senior care facility that provides a continuum of care for lower income adults.

Types of Living Facilities

Senior communities offer one or more of these types of services:
  • independent living
  • assisted living
  • continuing care
  • memory support care that may include care for Alzheimer's disease and dementia
  • Continuing Care Retirement Community (CCRC).
Independent living arrangements are usually in the form of apartments or individual units. Unfortunately, services of medical care, meals, or help with activities such as dressing are not offered with this type of living facility.
For people with these needs, assisted-living facilities exist. Some assisted-living facilities also offer therapeutic programs such as physical rehabilitation. CCRCs are senior communities which provide a range of services, from independent living, to assisted living, to around-the-clock nursing care.
This allows the resident to avail additional services, as their needs increase. Most adult retirement communities have mandatory contracts and entrance fees.

Interesting Fact

Ryderwood, Washington is an interesting town where all the residents are senior citizens. Originally a Long Bell lumber camp, Ryderwood was converted into a retirement community in 1953. What is unique about this town is that the store, cafe, post office, fire department, beauty shop, library, etc., are all run by seniors.
Not only that, the entire town is run by seniors volunteering to do different jobs, from painting buildings, mowing the park's lawn, to taking care of clerical chores at the community club.

Living in Style

There are several contemporary communities where residents live an active and full life. Their motto is "retirement is a time to have fun". One can find them zipping by on motorized carts, heading to the golf course, fitness center, or banquet hall.
Other amenities such as club houses, libraries, swimming pools and spas, art and craft centers, billiards and card rooms, tennis courts, basketball courts, continuing education, classrooms, hiking and biking trails, high-tech media centers, and ballrooms provide the residents with a large range of recreational activities.
There are numerous communities which offer different services at varied prices. While picking out a community, one must be aware and alert. A home inspection should be carried out and conversing with the neighbors always helps. It would be wise to find out about utilities available and other associated costs of ownership.
Another source of potentially useful information are the minutes from previous meetings, as they record grievances raised. Explore your financing options, and find out if a home warranty plan exists. Lastly, remember that buying a home in a senior community is no different than buying a home from a builder. Conduct a good survey, keep in mind all your choices and options, and try to get the best deal possible.