Retirement is the just reward for many people who feel the full weight of the daily 9 to 5. However, many people end up restless and unsatisfied when they retire, mainly due to poor planning. This is where retirement communities can play a crucial role in making sure you enjoy your indefinite time off.
The Stages of Retirement
Everyone starts off in the pre-retirement or looking forward stage, where they dream of being in control. Work places many demands on our time, so the though of being able to do what you want when you want to makes many people look upon retirement with anticipation. This results in high expectations which may or may not be met. Most people spend some time planning their post retirement activities, so the first couple of years can be termed the honeymoon stage, where there are many adventures.
Many people do not make long term plans that are long enough, so after they have done all of the things they dreamed of doing, they come to a screeching halt. This is often a letdown stage, where they look around and think, “Is this all there is?” This can lead to mild or even worse depression, and some even start craving the daily routines at work. It is important at this stage to be able to pick up interesting new activities or pursuits.
The next stage is readjustment, when the retiree looks hard at the available options and constructs a new routine that does not include work. If work has defined much of your adult life this can be a difficult phase. And this is the last stage before contented retirement.
Support and Community
Clearly, it is impossible to plan the minutiae of the next 20 to 40 years of your life. Even if you spend all day writing down everything you want to, some of these things will have been accomplished by the time you retire, and some may no longer interest you. Being in a place where opportunities for learning new things and being exposed to new experiences is invaluable in order to keep plugged in to life. Many active adult communities have extensive facilities for a number of sports and leisure pursuits, and include introductory programs.
Another important aspect is the ability to form a social network. Being integrated into a community supports a person’s sense of self-esteem and satisfaction with life. Without this, the individual may feel isolated and useless, and this eventually leads to intellectual as well as physical decline. Studies have shown strong correlations between sense of self worth and physical health. Communities often provide programs to help people with similar interests to meet each other and form social bonds. The mere proximity of people in your own age group who will likely understand you more than later generations can improve your well being.
Another important factor when considering community living is the sense of safety and security. There can be a bit of anxiety when you think about access to basic services, such as food and medical treatment. Retirement communities are built in such a way that these amenities are close at hand. In some cases they even provide staff assistance to make your errands easier.
Additionally, they can escalate the level of care if necessary, even up to the point of hospice and home care.