Senior retirement living and your future retirement lifestyle should be considered as part of your retirement planning. By giving these topics some thought before you retire, you can take steps to make the most of your retirement life. (Or maybe you're already retired and are looking for ideas and info to improve your retirement lifestyle.)
Life before retirement was hectic and sometimes stressful, but it was also interesting, challenging, and busy.
In the early years, there was career ambition, a growing family, and a shortage of money.
Later on, there was the empty nest, but still a mature career to tend to.
And then before you knew it, there were grandchildren and all the excitement that comes with raising children all over again.
In early retirement, there may or may not still be grandchildren, but what else will you be doing? Just like your life before retirement, there will be stages or phases. In the early years, you may have family and friends in and out of the house, so downsizing won’t really seem appropriate or necessary right away.
But once the grandchildren grow up, you might be less able or willing to maintain such a large home just to accommodate the less frequent house-guests you will have. Downsizing might be just right in the middle years of your retirement. And it might also coincide with a need for additional cash, for higher medical costs or because your car is less reliable than it should be and should be replaced.
You may want to consider places to retire to be nearer to your favorite relatives.
Good health care is one of the most important pieces of senior retirement living, of course. Beyond basic medical care, things like long term care coverage, assisted living options, and health care proxies all need to be considered, too.
Before retirement, you need to make sure you have taken the time to think about how you might handle various health issues that might come up in your life so that you can position yourself and your family to handle these should they occur.
Finally, Health Care Reform
In 2010, a new health care law, the Affordable Care Act went into
effect that brings new protections and benefits for us all,
and specifically for retirees.
For example, if you or your spouse requires nursing care at some point, will you opt for care at home or would you move to an assisted living facility? You may not decide this in advance, but the possibility should be factored into your decisions. If your family history includes Alzheimer's disease, then you may be well advised to purchase long term care insurance at an earlier age.
If your parents are still living, would you ever be called upon to care for them? Are you equipped or positioned to do so?
As they have always done, baby boomers are adopting new ways of living on their own terms, and this holds true for retirement as well.
In Virginia, a company called N2Care has developed a new concept for nursing care using their innovative product, MedCottage.
This product is a modular structure especially designed for assisted living that can be placed on the property of the caregiver.
Along with the product, the company is working with local governments to remove zoning type barriers to placing the structure on certain restricted properties.
Developments like these can reduce costs and improve the quality of life for our loved ones, and later on, ourselves.
An alternative to downsizing for getting access to more of your net worth is to tap your home equity by reading this page: What is a reverse mortgage.
But if you're not in need of a lot of cash, you might like to see some of our frugal living tips. Sometimes saving money can be a fun hobby. For example, thrift shopping and "couponing" can make it a fun challenge to see how little you can spend on great bargains.
Growing herbs or a vegetable garden are both green and frugal at the same time.
One of the challenges with retirement is isolation. Your retirement probably won’t coincide with your friends’ retirement, unless you deliberately plan for it, so you could find yourself with lots of free time and no one available to share it with, except maybe your spouse. That can be good and bad.
Without separate experiences you’ll have less to talk about, and you may get on each other’s nerves. This is why it is very important to have separate interests.
If you don’t have retirement hobbies or pass-times before you retire, you really need to figure this out. Take a class, start a book club or game club, or volunteer. You may even want a career change after 50, either part-time semi-retirement or a full-time easier job. Perhaps you don't want the commitment of running your own business, even if it is only a part-time thing. Maybe a small part-time job is all you need to get out of the house and meet other people.
When the time comes to think about this, visit the best retirement jobs page for ideas. I've even run across people who plan not to retire. I can't imagine not retiring, but for some lucky people continuing to work full time is very satisfying. It has the added benefit of increasing Social Security benefits if they choose to draw it as late as age 70. (Hopefully their choice is not out of retirement fears.)
In between the visits with family and friends, how will you fill your days? Hopefully, you have many interests that keep you so busy that question never comes up. If you’re having trouble with that, consider volunteering, or check out the page on things to do in retirement, or bucket lists.
Do you have a bucket list? If not, spend some time brainstorming on what more you would like to do with your life.
It doesn’t have to be about traveling to far away places.
It could be learning a new skill, craft, or sport. Or it could be hosting a fabulous formal dinner party or celebration.
Think back to high school. What were your interests then? Did you have plans or dreams that you haven’t attempted yet?
Retirement is a major lifestyle change and it is important to think about your plans for senior retirement living in great detail before you get to it so that you can make the transition smoothly and happily.
Next topic: Independent Retirement Living