Aging is an inevitable part of life, and for many people, the prospect of aging, alongside the impending retirement from work can be confusing. Medical and residential arrangements have to be made, and there are hardly any guidelines as to how to go about this stage. The term, “retirement communities” is often referred to as a possible option for retirees and their families, yet very little understanding about it actually exists in many circles.
To understand these communities, it’s important to first determine what it isn’t. Contrary to popular belief, this term does not specifically equate with what we know to be retirement homes, as retirement homes refer specifically to single building complexes with rooms and medical supervision, but without common areas and other areas for social activities and interaction.
A retirement community is actually a generic term that encompasses three retirement categories under it. The first is active communities, which involves mostly residential houses in a local community, without any permanent healthcare facility specifically servicing the area. There is also the continuing care retirement community (CCRC), which refers to the communities that have healthcare facilities intermingled among the residential homes in the area. Lastly, there are supported facilities, which are long-term health support facilities like nursing homes.
These communities were born as a result of many senior citizens being left to tend to their own homes after their children move out. With a retirement nest egg at their disposal, they have the capacity to invest in homes located in communities that are able to meet the requirements of their age and disposition. This is the reason why in many of these predominantly senior communities, clubhouses, sporting complexes, and other places to play host to social events, are all available. This is to help senior citizens slowly cope with the change of retirement, keeping them active and allowing them to meet new people as they spend more time to themselves.
Some senior citizens find it harder than others to adjust to living alone in their old homes, and moving to a new town in another state. To remedy this problem, many communities offer services that help them transition from one community to another. In many cases, they are slowly introduced to new activities and to new people, so that they slowly begin to realize the benefits of a decision that they may have dreaded for a long time. Support from among the community is also widely available.
Because the market for retirement is a lucrative one, senior citizens have the capacity to choose to live in comfortable new homes in these communities predominated by fellow seniors. This will help ensure that as they move to a new community, and possibly, a different state, they may be able to match the comfort with which they used to live in their old homes, or quite possibly, move to a better, more comfortable home than what they had before.
Retirement communities are a largely American concept, with very few other countries that are able to match the residential options available in many states. Most notable examples are in New Zealand, the United Kingdom, and Spain, which are home to a handful of relatively new retirement facilities.
In some of these countries, these retirement facilities are run by charitable foundations like the Anglican Church Trust and the Joseph Rowntree Trust Foundation.