As retirement nears, do you find you’re longing to free yourself from outdated societal expectations of retiring at age 65? Want to debunk the stereotype of elders in their rocking chairs? If so, you're part of a growing movement. As the American population ages, the way we think about senior living is changing. In Phoenix, more and more seniors are seeking to maintain an active lifestyle and continue to pursue their personal interests and goals, and the city is meeting that demand with a wide variety of housing options for seniors and active adults, from upscale active adult retirement communities to full-care facilities.
But before you make any decisions, it's important to take a personal inventory and consider factors such as budget, lifestyle, and personal expectations.
Consider Taking Advantage of a Reverse Mortgage
If you’re hesitant to leave your home filled with memories, a reverse mortgage may be the perfect option. A reverse mortgage is a federally insured private loan that can provide financial security for retirees. The money can be paid in a lump sum or as regular monthly cash advances. This typically does not have to be repaid until the borrower permanently moves out of the home, sells it, or passes away. Eligibility for most reverse mortgages requires that the home should be owned outright and the applicant is 62 years of age or older.
Because traditional home equity loans can be difficult for retired seniors to qualify for, a reverse mortgage might be a more accessible solution. With a reverse mortgage, there is no necessity for minimum income as you are not obligated to make monthly payments. However, if you are considering a reverse mortgage, it’s important to consult with an experienced financial advisor to ensure that this is the best decision.
Spread your wings and be a snowbird!
Are you a fan of warm weather? Well, another option is to take advantage of the beautiful weather in Phoenix and become a "snowbird"—retirees who spend part of the year in a warm climate. Many major events and activities in Phoenix occur during the period from late October to early May, offering a wide range of options for seniors in the area.
Senior Snowbirds are often among the more active retirees and may be less interested in assisted or long-term care. However, some of the care facilities and services in place for permanent senior residents are also available to part-time residents. In Phoenix, there are many options for winter-only accommodations, such as short-term leases on homes and condos, or RV and manufactured home parks. These options offer affordable rates for multiple-month stays and can include amenities such as facility and yard maintenance.
Consider the Range of Retirement Communities
When it comes to considering a retirement community, the choices are becoming increasingly diverse. It's good to start thinking about it well in advance. With the retirement tsunami and the demand for senior housing on the rise, it's useful to know your options and what's available. Just remember that Medicare generally does not pay for long-term care, but only for services deemed medically necessary.
Active Independent Living Retirement Communities:
For retirees who do not want to worry about the upkeep and maintenance of a home, active independent living retirement communities might suit their budget and lifestyle. These communities offer various options, such as renting an apartment or outright purchasing a property. Active independent living retirement communities may have attractions such as shopping centers and grocery stores within easy walking distance, or transportation options.
Continuing Care Retirement Communities:
Continuing Care Retirement Communities (CCRCs) are an excellent choice for those who are independent and in good health but might need some assistance with daily living needs or require skilled nursing care. CCRCs range from ultra-urban high-rise apartment communities to townhouses or even single-family homes. Many of them are even in pretty sweet locations!
Another advantage is that residents of a Continuing Care Retirement Community have the flexibility to transition between independent living, assisted living and nursing home care as per their aging and health-related needs.
Assisted Living Communities:
Assisted Living Communities (ALCs) offer a unique blend of independence and support for seniors who need a helping hand with daily tasks. Unlike a nursing home, ALCs provide assistance without constant supervision, allowing residents to maintain their autonomy while receiving the support they need. These communities offer a variety of services, including assistance with eating, bathing, dressing, laundry, housekeeping, and medication management. Each resident has a personalized service plan tailored to their specific needs. ALCs also feature studio or one-bedroom apartments with small kitchen facilities and communal areas for socializing and recreational activities. It's a perfect blend of independence and support.
Investigate and Ask the Right Questions
Take the time to investigate and ask the right questions to ensure that the retirement community is going to be right for you, your budget in retirement, and your lifestyle.
Other factors to consider include the state of the accommodation and grounds (are they well-maintained?), the approachability of the staff, and the overall atmosphere created by the residential community. But don't stop there, dig deeper and ask the important questions:
- If you have pets, are there opportunities for your furry friend to join you in your new home?
- What exciting social, recreational, and cultural activities are offered to keep you engaged?
- Are meals prepared on-site and if so, how are they prepared?
- Are there fitness facilities available to help you stay active and healthy?
- Is the staff friendly, knowledgeable, and able to provide the care and support you need?
- What healthcare and personal care services are offered and how do they align with your unique needs and expectations?
Look ahead before you leap and you’ll stick the landing
Whether you're a senior hoping to maintain your own home, a Snowbird seeking winter-only accommodations, or someone in need of assistance with daily living needs, Phoenix will have a senior living option that's right for you. Don't waste time: speak with a fee-only financial advisor and start exploring your options for a suitable place to roost in your golden years!