Approaching Retirement

For many who are at or approaching retirement age, the thought of selling the family home and moving to a condominium is an appealing prospect. Others who have invested in vacation property consider relocating to their former leisure time dream home. Still others are tempted by travel, intrigued by a possible ex-pat lifestyle in a foreign country, or simply have no idea what their future living arrangements will be.

New Retirement Reality

There are any number of options available for today's new crop of retirees, and those who are nearing traditional retirement age are as likely as not to either keep working for the time being, or return to work on a part-time or temporary basis within a year or two of actual retirement. It's a new phenomenon and the only thing that is certain is that the face of retirement is changing.

Today, life expectancy is longer, the population is more mobile, and economic prospects are seen as more uncertain. It is not difficult to understand the dilemma faced by the soon-to-be-retired population.

21st Century Options

Formerly popular golf communities have slipped in the popularity polls somewhat, and newer options are gaining momentum. Two innovative retirement community concepts include the university-based model, in which an institution of higher learning is the core of the community, with continuing education and sharing of experiences a major component of an interactive community that includes varied age groups.

The concept stems from the idea that those who have a lifetime of experience and learning have much they can share with younger generations. Approximately 25 of these university-based continuing care communities have been established in the United States in the last decade, and more are under consideration.

Caring and Concern

Co-housing, a concept that marries individual ownership of small housing units clustered around a larger community center or group facility, is another viable option for some seniors who enjoy frequent interaction with others and the opportunity to build a community experience based on common interests and activities. Those interests can be organic gardening, ranching, computers, commerce or artistic pursuits. Even a love of travel, with a penchant for shared experiences, can be the basis for a co-housing community concept.

The basic premise is that individuals come together in a cooperative fashion to share the task of community-building and promote social interaction. An underlying awareness of the need for a continuum of care and, perhaps, assistance with the requirements of daily life as one ages, is a component of all senior housing options.

A Matter of Choice

The variety of choices available does not ease the burden of making decisions about your own life, however. The best advice may be to consider your present and future needs in light of your desires and needs, weigh it all against budgetary constraints, and try not to make hasty decisions.