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Old 03-08-2015, 08:22 PM
 
4,451 posts, read 2,628,533 times
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I am wataching this thread with interest.
We will be 56 & 52, have no children, and are thinking about a Senior Housing situation rather than buying another house that might be better suited to, say, a wheelchair. This one is NOT. This one is also not adaptable as it has building restrictions on it.

I already get around with a cane and MOH will need a hip replacement sooner or later. I just had surgery on my shoulder and find it about impossible, for instance, for both of us to be comfortably in the bathroom while we sponge-bathe me until I can shower again.

I agree to watch out for leaches especially if you have a car! We are looking for one on the bus line so that we don't have to rely on a car so much. One retirement center has busses that routinely go to the grocery, the pharmacy and a few other places routinely, but it is an expensive place to stay.

Find one you like and get on a waiting list, if they have one, even a newly opened one here filled up within less than 3 months!!

Find one that is income-sensitive. YOU might NOT need it now, BUt should anything happen to your income in any way in the future, you don't wan't to be left out in the cold at 82 in frail health!

ASk what their long-term goals are? Do they only want to run it for 20 years? Then you COULD have to move again! WE are the tail-end of the boomers, and wonder if they will still be operating the Senior Housing when we are 90s, or if it will be more lucrative to turn into Luxury Housing for working class of the period?!?!

WIll you have your own full apartment, or just a glorified hotel room with meals served in the dining hall when they want to cattle-herd you in for instituitonal food?

Will you be able to have say, an overnight guest who may take care of/watch you at night or will NO OVERNIGHTERs be allowed??

Will they provide nursing care if needed as you age and your needs change? Or is it just a "housing project for those over 55"?

ASk LOTS of questions, look for LOTS of answers, think of LOTS of possibilities, before making a final decision.
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Old 03-08-2015, 08:53 PM
 
Location: Tucson for awhile longer
8,872 posts, read 13,574,115 times
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I live in Southern Arizona, which is loaded with what are called here "active adult communities (AACs)" where at least one resident has to be over the age of 55. I used to sell furniture in what was at one time Southern Arizona's largest furniture company, so I've helped a lot of people from elsewhere furnish their new homes in over-55 communities. I am also of the age where some of my friends have already moved to one of these places, or had parents who did. If you are considering Southern Arizona, wander over to the Tucson thread where there are a lot of discussions about my city's over-55 communities. There are even more AACs in the Phoenix area, for people of a variety of income levels.

In my opinion, your fear that over-55 communities are "places could be where the oldest, grumpiest go to be alone and wither away" couldn't be further from the truth. It might be the case in government-subsidized public housing, which attracts people who have far fewer options. But AACs attract people who are interested in doing something with their lives besides staring at their spouse and caring for the larger properties where they raised their families and might not even have too many friends or relatives left. Many are also seeking better weather so they can avoid the harsh winters, which is why so many successful active adult communities are in the Southeast or the Southwest.

Some AACs have a huge number of activities ... golf, swimming, tennis, gyms, clubs, restaurants, bars, coffee shops, etc., etc. Others have far fewer things like that and, as a result, much lower monthly fees. In fact, around here it seems the fastest selling places are those that do not have a golf course. Golf is less popular with baby boomers than it was with their parents and a lot of people don't wish to pay for something that expensive which they won't even use. A pool, a club house with exercise facilities, and some sport courts are enough for many who retire in Arizona. Rental communities, as well as condominiums here, tend to have those things whether or not they are for people over 55.

But no matter what the span of possibilities are, the AACs seem to attract people who want to meet and socialize with their neighbors. Most of the residents are retired and have time on their hands for volunteer activities as well as sports, games, hobbies, and socializing. Plus, the residents are all from "somewhere else," so they need to make new friends, even if they have children or people from "back home" who will visit. Many years ago I lived in our nation's capital, a place that attracts a transient population who come there for jobs they know won't last forever. It's the easiest place to make friends I ever lived. There, if you don't have a social life with people you don't know well, you won't have any social life. So you jump in ... like people do in college.

As I said, I know quite a few people who live in AACs and have friends whose parents sold the family homes and moved to one. I don't know any who were disappointed. The prevailing assessment is, "We should have come here immediately after retirement." After my father died and my mother was told by her doctor she must move out of the house she was living in alone, my siblings and I tried hard to get her to move into an apartment where she would have the option of some assisted living. She fought us tooth and nail and I ended up having her live with me because her fear of the unknown made no other choice acceptable to her. She's now nearing 90 and I know she regrets her decision.

She came to have many peers who moved to AACs, over-55 condos, assisted-living apartments, etc., and she's jealous of the new social lives they developed. She won't go anywhere unless I take her and that severely limits her options. She now sees she would have had a lot more fun had she made new friends instead of relying exclusively on her children.

I think some AACs are easier for couples to fit into than singles. Not to mention in some, singles are charged the same activity fees couples are (it's assessed by the property, not by how many people live there). But for people who live the rest of their lives there, every couple will turn into a widow or widower eventually, so it's not as if there aren't any singles there. Couples I've known who have lost a spouse in an over-55 location usually had more support, and dealt with their grief in a much healthier way, than those who buried a spouse and went back to the family homestead to try to make it alone.

If there's some particular part of the country you're interested in, go to that area's C-D thread and do a search of "over-55 communities" or "retirement living." You'll find lots of discussions to shed light on what's available in that area.
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Old 03-08-2015, 10:18 PM
 
Location: San Antonio
7,629 posts, read 14,392,811 times
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The above post is excellent and something I hear from our "Uno's" women all the time (yes, one of our groups is for singles, either divorced, widowed or never married). They LOVE the fact the have "social interactions" available without having to invite someone into the privacy of their home until they get to know them really well. That is a Godsend to some, but like others say "I'm not your nurse, and I am not your purse".....to each their own!
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Old 03-09-2015, 12:23 AM
 
36 posts, read 45,329 times
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I can't tell you how helpful I find all of your generous responses. Thank you so much!
As I said in my initial post, I love where we live now, on a small lake, tranquil and truly beautiful. But our kids and grandkids are far away. While we've owned this home for 11 years, we only moved here 3 years ago when hubby retired. Much as we love it, it feels very much like it's time to be nearer to our boys and the little ones. So, we are contemplating selling and moving.

Colorado is the destination we have in mind. Most likely the northern front range. Loveland, Ft. Collins, Greeley area. This is all in percolating stage right now. In fact I find myself sitting here and saying 'yikes!' fairly often. But that's okay. I found this home all those years ago by beginning an internet search and we've never regretted it.

Love the idea of an area with friendly people willing to get to know one another. One of the most difficult things for me living here has been building new social ties. In all fairness, we moved here soon after losing our youngest son so I realize full well that I was not myself very socially inclined for quite some time. That and leaving my business behind, it's been quite an adjustment.

Looking forward to learning more. I will indeed visit the Colorado and Wyoming pages and search for over 55 communities.

Again, thank you. You are all so very helpful.

Namaste,
S
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Old 03-09-2015, 05:03 AM
 
Location: San Antonio
7,629 posts, read 14,392,811 times
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OP, I think you would very much like the community style of the 55+ from the sounds of things. There is so very much to enjoy IF you want to be connected with your neighbors. Some just don't. Some want solitude without anyone "bothering them as they age" and that is fine, but I find living in a 55+ community, most of us are SEEKING that kind of "neighborhood connection" we grew up with....you know, the everyone can name everyone that lives on all our streets because we sit outside in lawn chairs watching the kids play, hold block parties, care about and are friends with the folks that live near us". That is how I grew up in the 60's, and experienced a LOT of living in base housing overseas (military) during my time as both a military brat and wife. We all KNEW and CARED about each other. Our "big house" (where we raised our kids in the US once retired from the military) was a lovely neighborhood down the road from here, but with LOTS of families, LOTS of turn over (people move these days for a mired of different reasons) and we found that the closer we got to retirement age, the less we had in common with most of the neighbors, where here, we are all having a blast and enjoying OURselves vs raising kids still. May sound selfish, but it is OUR turn for us to focus on making the most of our time, and we find the 55+ community the PERFECT fit. We do NOT have a golfcourse (do not play, not interested in paying for someone elses cost of green fees) but we ARE a golfcart neighborhood behind gates, so we enjoy tooling around in our golf cart and visiting with neighbors as the sun goes down. I liken it to being in college without the homework if you were looking to a single way to describe the atmosphere. Everyone is HAPPY, enjoying life, celebrating great times and just enjoying their "time in the sun" so to speak!
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Old 03-09-2015, 05:27 AM
 
10,393 posts, read 9,405,924 times
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Seems obvious that the more expensive 55+ communities offer the best activities and as a rule have residents who are more active and not sitting around most of the day complaining. And those same residents more than likely can still drive and own a car, so they're not stuck inside a building the majority of the day, nor waiting for someone to drive them somewhere.

The folks in subsidized apartments are obviously strapped for funds, most don't own cars, and are pretty much stuck indoors the majority of the day - not that emotionally healthy of an environment. And not all, but many low cost housing units are not located in the safest neighborhoods.

The more you pay, the more you get - not just in the quality of the residence, but as far as what activities are available, and the quality of the staff operating the community.

Being single and depending on just my income, my options are limited and I'll end up in subsidized housing (once my name comes to the top of one of the LONG wait lists). A couple combining their income has a better chance of living in the more expensive residences.

I agree with 'NoMoreSnow' about setting boundaries! She is very wise to ensure she doesn't end up wearing a 'welcome mat'.
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Old 03-09-2015, 08:04 AM
 
Location: Arizona
5,974 posts, read 5,324,230 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by katie45 View Post
Seems obvious that the more expensive 55+ communities offer the best activities and as a rule have residents who are more active and not sitting around most of the day complaining. And those same residents more than likely can still drive and own a car, so they're not stuck inside a building the majority of the day, nor waiting for someone to drive them somewhere.

The folks in subsidized apartments are obviously strapped for funds, most don't own cars, and are pretty much stuck indoors the majority of the day - not that emotionally healthy of an environment. And not all, but many low cost housing units are not located in the safest neighborhoods.

The more you pay, the more you get - not just in the quality of the residence, but as far as what activities are available, and the quality of the staff operating the community.

Being single and depending on just my income, my options are limited and I'll end up in subsidized housing (once my name comes to the top of one of the LONG wait lists). A couple combining their income has a better chance of living in the more expensive residences.

I agree with 'NoMoreSnow' about setting boundaries! She is very wise to ensure she doesn't end up wearing a 'welcome mat'.

You are completely wrong about the most expensive offering the most. I live in the original Sun City. We get the most for the least amount of money of all the 55+ communities. The most expensive have the nicest homes but that's about it. I know people leaving some of the "nicer communities" because there isn't that much to do for the amount that they pay. Many people in Sun City have lived in other 55+ communities before they moved here.

The OP said they were not interested in what you describe. 55+ means active adult, not senior housing or some subsidized place. You move here to play tennis, swim, softball, and golf, not to sit at home.
The largest clubs are the ones where you do something that requires mobility or use your mind like Lifelong Learning. I am glad we are finally getting basketball.

The best thing about 55+ is people are always moving here. People from every state , province, and about 35 countries live here. You can't do anything or go anywhere without meeting someone new. If you have a problem meeting people here it is you not them. The same if you are bored. That would be your fault and no one else's.
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Old 03-09-2015, 08:24 AM
 
Location: Florida
19,847 posts, read 19,948,859 times
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It has to be kept in mind that 55# communities are different from senior apartment complexes, especially the subsidized ones.
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Old 03-09-2015, 09:31 AM
 
Location: Central Massachusetts
4,800 posts, read 4,858,884 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by old_cold View Post
It has to be kept in mind that 55# communities are different from senior apartment complexes, especially the subsidized ones.
That is a very important point. It is a distintion that needs to be understood. Many of the 55s to include Del Webb are communities that have a diverse mix. Some are not listed as 55s but the majority of the residents are of that age or older. They came in many varieties from single family homes to condos and apartments. Some come in conjunction with assisted living too. It all depends on what you are looking for.
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Old 03-09-2015, 09:38 AM
 
Location: South Carolina
13,827 posts, read 18,828,204 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NoMoreSnowForMe View Post
I live in low-income subsidized senior housing. So, the clientele here may differ from where you would end up.

I'm in my second place - I moved somewhere with better weather. Both places were well-maintained. The quality of the apartment and grounds, etc., were/are great.

What I learned at the first place, is that I did not want to get involved with tenants where I live at my next place. There is a lot of drama, cliques, and needy people who will try to latch onto you. I found I had to constantly say no to people, or avoid them, because I ended up taking care of people's dogs, driving them to doctor's appointments, shopping for them. I'd even get tears - "I have no one to take me, buy me, watch my dog...." Literally tears streaming down the face. But, then I realized, hey wait a minute - you've known me 2 months! What did you do before you met me? Well, they burned out the last nice new person.

Also, many seniors will talk about depressing things - often about medical procedures. And if everyone is much older than you, you'll hear a lot of that kind of talk. They will look at you with puppy eyes and hope or even very actively attempt to make you become their unpaid caregiver. And if you have a car, and they don't or can't drive anymore, they will be on you like flies on honey.

If you are someone who has no trouble saying no to puppy eyes, then you'll be fine. But, expect to have to enforce your boundaries often. I find this really uncomfortable and tiring. At my last place I quit answering the door, and it got so bad with one relentless woman, that I had to disconnect the door bell because she would ring it until I opened the door. With my dog barking her head off the entire time. I felt like I was in a Betty Davis horror movie.

I am happier making friends away from my building. I don't want anyone laying in wait where I park my car, or by the doors where I come and go, or knocking on my door. This is working out great for me here. My apartment is just that - my apartment. I have no interest in becoming enmeshed with the other tenants where I live. I am making friends with people who live somewhere else, and in that case, I find people have normal boundaries. They don't just show up or wait for you where you park your car, trying to act like they just "happen" to be in your path - with another request for a favor.

A new Director of Social Services came here Friday. I have always avoided all of the group activities here, because the leeches always go to those, trolling for their next caregiver. But, the poster said come meet the new director and learn about social services you might qualify for. Sounds good, right? Well, the first thing out of her mouth that her mission is to get everyone in the building to become a big happy family, and she intends to try and break up the cliques. I said, count me out! Yikes. There are 52 apartments in this building, and they assume all of these strangers with all different types of personalities are going to want to be involved with each other? That's just beyond unrealistic.

At any rate, I'm sure I've made it clear, that becoming enmeshed with a group of seniors who live where I do, is not for me. I'm much happier finding activities somewhere else, like the senior center, etc.

You may have an entirely different experience. But, just a thought - you might want to just move somewhere with a really active senior center. The one I had in Santa Clara, CA was fantastic. They had bus tours, and lots of events, classes - from art to country line dancing, a gym, swimming pool, etc. And if you want to get away from someone there, you just go home - where they do not also live.

There was also a thread recently about cliques at these communities and senior bullies. I'm not afraid of bullies, and not interested in the cliques. But, it may be something to consider.

FWIW. I'm obviously a "no" vote. I'm sure others love them.

You know I have had neighbors like this and not even lived in a 55+ community there are those kinds of neighbors everywhere not just in 55 + communitys .
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