Choosing among senior living communities isn’t just about planning for the future. Many forward-thinkers are making it a lifestyle choice as well.
As you take stock of what will be important to you in the coming years, you might first think broadly. Would you be willing to move more than once in order to conveniently follow your passions now? If that’s the case, look into independent living communities centered around your interests. Do you only want to move once after retirement? Seek out communities that provide different levels of care on the same campus and pursue your lifestyle goals from there.
Many older adults want to craft the kind of retirement they’ve been imagining for years, a retirement that will provide the opportunities and resources they will finally have time to enjoy. To help you do the same, here are three common priorities that might steer the course for how to find a community.
Many retirees choose to stay in the city and area they’re in now, but you can also opt to move closer to family — live wherever your kids are working and/or where the grandkids will grow up. You might return to a region that was significant to you at an earlier time in your life.
Climate can have an impact on certain conditions like arthritis, asthma and allergies. Living in a place with views and landscapes you find beautiful also boosts your mood and inspires you to get outside more often.
What sort of setting attracts you the most?
- Urban center
How important is location to your choice?
- Very — The right setting would make all the difference.
- Fairly — Climate and views are important, but not my first consideration.
- Somewhat — I’ll pick a nice location if my other criteria are met.
- Not at all — I’m not concerned with the setting of a retirement community.
If your spiritual beliefs are integral to your well-being, find a community that builds those into their everyday activities. There is a wide selection of faith-based senior living communities. Most are inclusive to people outside the faith as well, but they tailor their lifestyle around the tenets of a particular religion. If your faith doesn’t align with a community’s, but you have a spiritual practice, you may still find it beneficial to be around people — of any faith — who also prioritize that aspect of their lives.
Similarly, you can find Masonic communities and places that specialize in serving retired military officers. There are also a growing number of senior living communities that specifically attract LGBTQ seniors. Straight seniors are typically welcome as well, but the lifestyle centers around creating a loving and safe space for their target demographic.
How important is it to find a community affiliated with your groups?
- Very — It’s a big part of my everyday lifestyle, and I’d like my peers to share in it.
- Fairly — It’s part of my lifestyle, but not everyone around me needs to share in it.
- Somewhat — It’s a small part of my lifestyle, and I don’t need people around me to share in it.
- Not at all — Affinity groups are not a contributing part of my lifestyle.
Most communities will have activities and programs of interest. Some develop signature activities based around residents’ enthusiasm. But if you have a particular passion — golf, art, continuing education, travel, horseback riding — you can find a niche senior living community that integrates that activity into the lifestyle.
Some communities have partnerships with other organizations, like golf clubs or colleges and universities. Others bring in talented artists to speak and teach. You can even enter your work in prestigious community art shows. You can find equestrian retirement communities that provide access to horse stables, trails and open spaces for riding.
How important is it to find a community that caters to your interests?
- Very — I want to pursue my passions every day, and specialized accommodations are necessary.
- Fairly — I want to pursue my passions regularly, and specialized accommodations would be nice.
- Somewhat — I want to pursue my passions, but specialized accommodations aren’t important.
- Not at all — I want to pursue my passions, but I don’t need specialized accommodations.
If you’re starting to consider a richer senior living lifestyle, focused around your priorities, use the community locator tool to discover the wide selection of senior living communities that could take your next chapter to the next level.
Where You Live Matters is powered by the American Seniors Housing Association (ASHA), a respected voice in the senior housing industry. ASHA primarily focuses on legislative and regulatory advocacy, research, and educational opportunities and networking for senior living executives, so they can better understand the needs of older adults across the country.