A Guide for Choosing the Right 55+ Active Community
Life after retirement should be an opportunity to choose those things in life that spark joy. And that includes the location of our next phase of life. Choosing where we will live is an important step! It’s a step that can, at times, feel a bit daunting. But with the right information, relocating to a 55+ living community can also be a very freeing and vibrant transition in life! A retirement community is the opportunity to simplify and focus on the aspects of life that make you happy. Here’s a helpful guide for walking through that transition and confidently choosing the right place for you.
Your Lifestyle, Activities and Interests
You are a unique individual with personal tastes, interests and hobbies. Does the community you are considering have options available that interest you? If not, how easy is it to start something new. Do you enjoy golf? Bridge or canasta? Crafting or nature? Fitness or book reading? Being socially involved with your neighbors? Build your retirement around your favorite things to do and start by checking a retirement community's event calendar. Look at the list of upcoming offerings and see whether any interest you. If not, can you start a new group? Consider also what amenities are included. Are there golf courses, pools or fitness facilities as part of the community or do you have to go elsewhere for these services?
Here at Linkside, the community has the added benefit of being part of the greater Old Hawthorne community. You have your very own social clubhouse as well as access to Old Hawthorne’s private country club, pool and golf memberships, dining, as well as its fitness facilities. You can also "piggyback" off of Old Hawthorne's social schedule and have access to all of its social activities.
Get the Lay of the Land
Plan a virtual or in-person visit to stroll the neighborhood and see the area for yourself. Are the grounds and common spaces, such as a clubhouse, spacious and well-maintained? What kinds of facilities are available for gatherings? Is there easy access to shopping and other services? Lastly, find out if feline friends or canine companions are welcome.
Here at Linkside, the clubhouse is designed so that multiple groups can hold gatherings at the same time … one group in the area by the TV and another in the back room. Plus, there's an outdoor seating area and patio. And unlike some retirement communities that have a clubhouse that the community doesn’t really use, Linkside's clubhouse is busy frequently - up to 3 days a week. Residents are free to reserve it for their own social activities. It’s truly is a community gathering point!
Location, Location, Location
If, in retirement, you’re planning to move to a new area of the country or state, it’s a good idea to find out what life is like in that community. Everything from activities to weather can affect your long-term sense of contentment in a new location. Note for yourself what you like and don’t like. Perhaps you’ve spent years working in the bustle of a city and would prefer retirement in a location with a more laid-back country vibe…or you would prefer to get away from extreme weather patterns like blizzards and hurricanes to something more balanced throughout the year.
Here at Linkside, you’ll be conveniently located in the heart of the Midwest in Columbia, Missouri — a vibrant college town full of activities for folks of all ages. Linkside itself is a well-established community of nice, larger-sized homes with an old-fashioned neighborhood feel. It’s a quiet and peaceful setting where people wave and visit from the front porches, and it's only minutes away from the city center so you can pop downtown for a meal or to a Mizzou football game. Columbia also affords its residents the beauty of all four seasons: winter, spring, summer and fall. You get the best of each season…and just when you’re ‘over’ a particular weather pattern, the next one comes along.
Quality Customized Homes
Most retirement communities offer choices/options. Compare them all and see which best matches your style and wants/needs. Is the home modified for what you require? Are the bathroom/s and laundry conveniently located? It is set up to help you age conveniently? Finally, check the construction quality. It should feature durable surfaces, well thought-out details, adequate insulation and more. Luxuries include such construction details as extra wide doors, easy door levers and light switches, oversized curbless showers, extra space between your island and stove...all of the little things that are built for you in mind.
Here at Linkside, there are different customizable options available for everyone. There are choices in pricing, square footage and floor plan. Most importantly, though, they are beautiful ‘normal-looking’ villas and verandas – homes that you’d see in any quality neighborhood and that you probably can’t tell may have been outfitted with accessibility options. All homes are built with luxury standard details that are selected and designed with you in mind - full of open floor plans, abundant natural light and luxurious finishes - making your home a place to relax in carefree luxury.
Many who consider a retirement community do so in part because they are done with doing the regular upkeep their current home requires. Find out what the community would take care of and what they’d expect you to be responsible for. Lawn care maintenance, snow removal, lawn watering, for example, are all areas that are important - especially in areas with hotter climates – but that in a regular home can cost quite a bit per month. Different communities have different arrangements with utilities as well. Since the idea is to move to more efficient and economical living, especially since your income may be fixed, make sure to understand which services are included with your HOA fees.
Here at Linkside, all the homes are custom built to be highly energy efficient. For that reason, utility bills are extremely low, thanks to ample insulation, shingled roofs and more. And with the exterior, all the homes and villas are either low or no maintenance. That means you don’t have to take care of your landscaping, mow your lawn, or water it. Those services are all included in your HOA, and you, therefore, don’t have to worry about any of them.
Speaking of HOA
Since many retirement community residents are either on a fixed income or savvy with their money, it’s important to ask questions about the HOA. Make sure you know what’s included and what isn’t in those fees. What are examples of things you’ll be responsible for, and what kind of assistance is provided in finding vendors. You’ll also want to find out about the HOA members – who’s on the board, who has a vote, who has a voice, etc. The goal with an HOA is to advocate for the community residents, ensuring everyone has a positive experience living there.
Here at Linkside, the HOA includes members from the community, and everyone has a voice and is involved, whether they are on the board or not. In the homes, for things not covered under warranty, Linkside provides an approved list of individuals and companies that they’ve thoroughly vetted. If you need to hang a TV, put up blinds or need a quick repair, Linkside will help you find a trusted vendor for that particular service. That way, you can feel confident about the quality of work and how responsive they’ll be when you hire them.
Make Small Talk
Ask to chat with current residents. Ask how they like the community. What do they like about it? What do they wish they could change? Do they smile readily and seem friendly and at ease? Are they open to chat and seem enthusiastic about doing so? As you visit the community get a feel for the general vibe of the neighborhood. Do folks seem to enjoy living there?
Here at Linkside, the community designed to facilitate conversation and social interaction. Residents like to gather in the clubhouse or at the mailboxes. They walk together – often bringing their pups - and enjoy spending time together. The clubhouse is the community water cooler, and the mailboxes are nearby. They enjoy spending time also at Old Hawthorne, chatting over a round of golf or a lazy day at the pool.
Feel Safe and Sound
What kind of security does the community offer? Is it gated with a passcode? Do the homes have doorbell cameras or security systems? Are you able to add your own if desired? Make sure the community is one you feel safe living in and has your personal security in mind.
Here at Linkside, security is paramount. Linkside is a gated community. That means that a guest to your home simply calls your house directly to let you know they’ve arrived. Then, from the comfort of your home, you push a button on your phone to let them in. The system is designed to be convenient — you don’t have to leave your home to let somebody in. Residents feel confident walking the lighted sidewalks and visiting neighbors at any time of the day or night.
While there are many important considerations when making this decision to transition to a 55+ retirement community, it is nevertheless an exciting time in a person’s life. It opens up the opportunity to step into easy stress-free living, and still retain all the benefits of home ownership freedom.
You've Earned It
You’ve worked hard or sacrificed for most of your adult life…this is the time to enjoy the fruit of your labor.
Let us know how we can help. We’re always on hand to answer questions or schedule a tour: either in person or virtually.