Quality of life is something that is important to all of us. The reality is that our quality of life can change as we get older. What do you do when you're ready for a more free lifestyle? You want a place to live that can easily adjust as your needs shift, but you aren't ready to slow down. More and more pre and post-retirees are buying homes in adults-only neighborhoods, and with good reason. Here's why 55+ active living communities for older adults are on the rise.
One of the biggest influences in our overall satisfaction with life as we age is our health. According to the World Health Organization, healthy aging is defined as "the process of developing and maintaining the functional ability that enables well-being in older age." Functional ability is about having the capabilities that enable all people to be and do what they value. This includes a person’s ability to meet basic needs like food, clothing and shelter. It includes an individuals capacity to learn, grow and make decisions for themselves, to continue to contribute to society...and to build and maintain close friends and relationships.
A Growing Population of Baby Boomers
The sheer number of people who are aging means we need to pay attention to their needs. Approximately 47 million people age 65 or older live in the United States according to a 2017 US Census estimate. The Population Reference Bureau projects that in 2060 nearly 100 million Americans will be 65 or older. The group will more than double over 40 years. A contributing factor is longer lifespans. The average American life expectancy is 78 years, according to the National Center for Health Statistics. Reaching 80 years of age means you[‘ll likely live another eight to ten years on average, according to the CDC.
Reason #1: Remaining Independent
If we're 55 or older, we need to think about our health. Staying healthy means a lot of things. Quality of life first and foremost. But health also impacts function. How well will we be able to get around as we age? How well will we be able to care for ourselves? The answers to these questions will determine where we will live. Since the environment plays such a huge role in how we feel and what we do, active 55+ communities are ideal in helping to promote wellness, So remaining healthy is key to not only enjoying our lives but also to remaining independent.
Reason #2: Asset Protection
For most older adults 55+, money and health are big concerns. They are linked in many ways too. If we are able to remain healthy and independent, we can protect our assets. But one threat to staying healthy may be our current living situation. Are we in a home that’s too large, hard to maneuver or maintain? All it takes is a slip or fall, and we find ourselves with a broken ankle or needing a knee replacement. Doesn’t it make sense to make a move while we’re still healthy so we can stay that way? Homes in active 55+ communities are designed with safety and mobility in mind. Plus, purchasing a home in one of these communities is a way to protect and grow assets while we preserve our health.
Reason #3: Other Housing Alternatives
Conservative monthly figures for independent living range from $1500-$2500; assisted living from $2500-$5000; and long-term care from $7500-$10000. In Columbia, MO, there are independent living communities charging $8,000 a month! From experience, we have seen many people opt into independent care facilities prematurely only to quickly decline and move through the advanced stages of care quickly, then linger in the most expensive option of long-term care. Of course, by that time, resources will likely have been depleted, and options limited by Medicaid, meaning loss of choice in housing and nothing left for heirs.
Reason #4: Cost Savings
Most older adults do not live in “nursing homes.” The top reasons people move to nursing homes include:
- Lack of social support
- Lack of proactive planning
- Fear of unknown
- Unaware of options
- No advanced care planning.
Instead, many retirees are choosing to plan for aging-in-place, where the need for in-home care is lessened by healthier lifestyles. In fact, the cost of in-home care is about $30 per hour - much less than living in any type of facility. And the healthier we are, the more we can manage with minimal support. One of the benefits of a 55+ community is access to all types of concierge-style a la carte services. Of course, staying active is the best way to stay healthy, resulting not only in cost savings but increased quality of life.
Reason #5: Home and Lifestyle
So where to live...if we want to stay at home but the home we’re in isn’t set up well, what do we do? Retrofitting the home may not make sense, financially or otherwise. The issue becomes one of available housing that supports aging in place. Many homes, that worked for raising children, are not appropriately set up for easy maneuverability should there be a knee replacement, need for crutches or wheelchair access. With the increasing number of people approaching and passing the age 55+ mark, there is actually a housing shortage.
A 55+ Community is the answer. They provide all the benefits of home ownership in a neighborhood with loads of amenities for an active lifestyle. That's the beauty of living at Linkside. But don't ask us...ask the folks who live here! Contact us for a tour, we'll be happy to show you around.