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We are nibbling at the retirement apple and may want to take a big bite. I want a retirement community with some social interaction possible. I see things like "assisted living" or "continuing care" and I'm not sure what the terms entail. Then again, another question is "Where?" Near a large city will be expensive. There are several 55+ communities nearby. Any experience with these? The one we know is 55+, completely independent living, but with some planned activities, a pool, 9-hole golf course, club house, and a few other amenities. Not high end stuff.

Getting a bit remote, http://www.trilogylife.com/communities/california/monarchdun...

or in L.A.

http://www.seniorsforliving.com/community/Pacific-Inn-RP-LN/...

Maybe more affordable?

Hard to estimate how we will "fit in" to any community without actually living there.

Is anyone here actually retired? Advice?

CNC
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I am looking at a smaller university town. Often they are not as expensive as large cities but still provide a good environment, including good health care.
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You have at least half a dozen 'types' of retirement communities/facilities to investigate

Some are only 55 and older residential communities - usually with some amenities like club houses, community swimming pool, some with golf courses, ..mostly houses and townhouses....for 'active' seniors able to live 100% on their own. Likely you can get maid service and lawn service.

Then there are 'assisted living places' - either single apartment/condo style places. Some you 'buy into' - others are monthly rental places. Some have cafeterias/dining rooms to provide 1 or 2 meals a day, but your room/condo/apartment also has a small kitchen. Some are totally separate from anything else...

but some are associated then with 'major care' facilities like nursing homes - where you are essentially 'bed ridden' or close to it, requiring lots of medical supervision/help.

And six levels in between.

You've got lots to read up on.

My parents spent many years in a 55 and over community in FL. It provided the outside care for the manufactured home park - you kept the inside clean. Community buildings for laundry, shower rooms, clubs of all sorts from wood working to theater to the 'beach house' and a dozen clubs met frequently with activities. Shuffleboard courts and a small library, tennis courts.

t.
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No. of Recommendations: 6
We did some research on this when we retired. Here's what we came up with....

1. Move to a state that is tax friendly for retirees. Tax here refers to income tax, property tax, estate (inheritance) tax, sales tax as well as tax breaks for seniors. Here's a map of this from Kiplingers

http://www.kiplinger.com/tool/retirement/T055-S001-state-by-...

2. Choose a state and town that meets your affordability factor. Generally, the more central the state and the smaller the community, the lower the cost of living, while large cities in Coastal states tend to be more expensive

3. Choose a place with weather you like. Warner weather will be more important as you get older. For most retirees, cold weather is right out.

4. Senior communities, as you'll find in Arizona, New Mexico and Utah, often are less expensive, particularly if they are designated age 55 and older, as they often do not have a school bond in the property tax.

5. Proximity to family, particularly grandchildren. We just got back from an 850 mile each way visit to our grandkids in Salt Lake City. That drive gets longer and longer each year we visit.

We had been residents of Oregon, but we found this state is not retirement friendly, so we moved over the river (Columbia River) to Vancouver, as WA does not have a state income tax, but it does have a high sales tax, so on major purchases, we just drive back over the river to Oregon which does NOT have a sales tax :-)

BruceM
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Take a look at Del Webb communities. There are more than 50 around the country, most in warm, sunny places across the sun belt, but some in places you would not think of - outside Detroit, central Indiana, etc.

DW and I have visited their Stone Creek community outside Ocala Florida and liked it very much. Ocala is a small city with plenty of restaurants, cultural activities, etc. Homes in that community can be had for as little as $180,000 (bare bones), but nicely sized and outfitted for $250K - $300K and up (of course). It is situated right next to a public golf course and has a restaurant on-site, plus a huge array of activities. For us, we're not crazy about Florida's humidity, but 70 degrees December - February is appealing.

We have also visited the Mirehaven community in Albuquerque, New Mexico. It's fairly new and growing. Alburquerque is a much larger city, but still on the small/reasonable size, at about 500,000, I think. The great thing about Albuquerque is 300+ days of brilliant sunshine a year, most with incredibly low humidity. Mirehaven is maybe five miles from downtown, in a quiet area on a bit of a bluff - nice views of the city and the mountains. Homes here are more expensive - starting around $280,000 but quite do-able in the mid-$300s.

Finally, we also liked a fairly new community Carolina Arbors outside Durham, NC. Home prices similar to Mirehaven. I believe Del Webb has announced ANOTHER community to be built nearby, so the Durham area (Duke University, U of North Carolina) looks like a good one for them. Durham is not as warm as Ocala or Mirehaven, but fairly nice nonetheless.
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CheersSRX: Homes here are more expensive - starting around $280,000 but quite do-able in the mid-$300s.

Is that the down payment?

CNC
... lives in L.A. I would say NO houses for the $300,000 range here. We like Albuquerque (and Santa Fe,) We need to have a VSD* about moving.

*VSD: Very serious discussion.
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No. of Recommendations: 8
Dear Count,
I think you already know we are really happy in the place we live in...Stoneridge Creek in Pleasanton CA which is a CCRC. It has sister retirement communities elsewhere..
(I warmly recommend a CCRC which means "continuing care retirement community" because based on our current rent we are partly "prepaying" our later care which may be in the Assisted Living, the Skilled Nursing, or the Memory Care parts of our community. That is all in a separate building a 5 minute walk or a little shuttle ride from the main building)There are CCRCs all over the country.

Stoneridge Creek has a website but it seems a bit dated to me...www.stoneridgecreek.com but you are welcome to look. ...and more welcome to contact me and visit us. We can accommodate you without pushing you to be sociable if you just want tone here for research...
We have a spare bedroom...Well, it is a queensize bed with bathroom ensuite, but it has a few teddy bears, a toy chest etc for the grandchildren, and all my messy desk stuff. Just down the hall is an elegant "hotel room, kitchen and bath" for guests, but it is not as free as ours. And of course you could eat in the restaurants on site or my cooking....

They are busy building for 200 more people, separate villas, condos called "garden apartments" or apartments, small, or like ours...( which is 3 bedroom 2 bath) but I think they are all spoken for.

We have about 570(?) people now I think, and it is a wonderful mix of people. Locally scientists from Lawrence Livermore Lab,( very close to here) educators from Berkeley, lots from Silicon Valley, ordinary old teachers like me, health professionals, homemakers, some construction, well traveled people, even a few who authored books which are in a section in our library, someone who owns a local vineyard,people who headed up companies you might know, nurses etc...and people like yours truly, ordinary,middle of the spectrum, dull and friendly. There are an amazing amount (50ish) of little clubs and physical activities..(super pool)...you name it, they've got it, the Minnesota Club, book club, Readers Theater, gardening club, choir, bridge, current events discussion group, hiking,etc different film every night, concerts, and today for instance we had one of the top guys from the Silicon Valley company Nvidia, to talk to us about Artificial Intelligence (and show us his self driving car afterwards....) People have different levels of physical mobility. One couple is still biking around Europe, and other friends are on motorized scooters,....but no one cares how well you walk...

We love the opportunity for the variety of mental or physical activity on site, but also the complete privacy if we want it... People are not nosy, but they are caring.

As you can see, DH and I are very happy. He is still working, but also on the Resident Council, so getting familiar with it all..

Let me know if I can help you or give answers...
Maryanne
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Count, why a "retirement community" necessarily? I'm delighted that Maryanne found a great "old people's home," but even at age 68 it has no appeal for me.

Sell the house and get a condo, for sure. Simply lock the door and go whenever the urge to travel strikes. No exterior maintenance issues.

As you probably know, many folks in Hawaii retire and continue to live in place. Of course, many of them have extended family nearby. In our building there are plenty of kupuna living independently in their 80s and even 90s, and also plenty of younger singles, couples, and families.
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I get it now. Thank you, Count.
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I fear she will become the "crazy cat lady" when I slough off this mortal coil

You say that like it's a bad thing. ;>
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"So, I (we) are looking at what the world has available for a couple of reclusive old farts"

^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^

DW and I were in a similar situation with her mother & brother. And earlier with my mother.
We had a section of our home allocated for "live-in" family as/when needed - and we had
my mother living with us for a time before she began having a series of mini-strokes and
needed more care than we could provide.
I think figuring out what gives you and your DW joy is a first step. What you enjoy
doing together and separately. Then aim toward places that seem to get you closer
to those activities and people. If you think about moving, testing out an area with a
longer-than-a-week "vacation" can help - but logistics can be a real problem.

Howie52
If it help, you are not the only folks trying to figure out the "whats" and "where's"
of retirement. We have the "how's" pretty close to complete - but the devil does get
into the details.
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My wife and I are living in a CCRC in Santa Rosa, CA and we both love it. No more cooking and cleaning for my wife and no more maintenance concerns. Spring Lake Village is a non-profit organization, which is an important consideration. The annual fee increase averages 4%-6%. There is a buy in, which I think is better than a month to month. Spring Lake Village provides a long term continuing care contract that provides for independent living, residential care/assisted living services, and skilled nursing care, and memory care all in one location.

http://www.jtm-esc.org/spring-lake-village/
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Stoneridge Creek has a website but it seems a bit dated to me...www.stoneridgecreek.com but you are welcome to look. ...


I have heard about this particular community. It sounds absolutely wonderful BUT in 2011 the starting price was $300,000 to 1 million and up. Also, the monthly charges were over $2,000.
Most people could never afford that kind of money.
We live in a townhouse community on the coast of Massachusetts. What's so wonderful about it is that our neighbors are all our age (69) or older. We have chosen to "age in place". I made sure that when we moved in 4 years ago I purchased two very expensive pull out couches so that if we could not make it up the stairs, we could sleep downstairs. My neighbor has lots of health issues and she just got an Acorn Stair lift, something that I would definitely look into in the future.
We are lucky to live in a town that takes care of it's old people. That was not the case in Brooklyn, where we lived before we retired.
I have heard so much about these CCRC communities yet I have never heard anyone say how expensive it is. Most of my neighbors love their town and want to age in place, and so do I.
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Brooklyn48: We live in a townhouse community on the coast of Massachusetts. What's so wonderful about it is that our neighbors are all our age (69) or older. We have chosen to "age in place". I made sure that when we moved in 4 years ago I purchased two very expensive pull out couches so that if we could not make it up the stairs, we could sleep downstairs. My neighbor has lots of health issues and she just got an Acorn Stair lift, something that I would definitely look into in the future.

We got an Acorn a couple of years ago. Not for us, but for the Countess's father. He couldn't navigate the stairs to get into our house. We use it as a dumb waiter to get things from the garage (under the house) up to the main level - or reverse. The Countess will use it occasionally. I refuse. Those stairs provide the bulk of my exercise program!

I have requested the Stoneridge Creek brochure . I suspect the $300,000 level gets a studio apartment out in the back, next to a freeway, and a railroad, and airport. (lol)

Thanks for your input.

We plan to visit there when we go to Napa in July.

CNC
... I don't know why I bother. We aren't going anywhere as long as the Countess's parents are alive (They are in their 80's and need help. Hew mother recently [last week] acquired what we thought was a corneal abrasion, but it seems to be more serious. She has been in misery ever since. [If someone offers you a free corneal abrasion, don't take it.]) FIL has been persuaded to stop driving - reaction time measured in inutes. Makes a problem since MIL can't drive with that eye. SIL lives with them, but she is totally useless.

... Get them into a CCRC? Ain't gonna happen. "When I leave this house, they will have to carry me out feet first." There used to ba a popster named jiml8. He specialized in getting people top move out of his rental units. Maybe I need to contact him. He (used to) live in L.A.
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Christina,
You are absolutely right.This is expensive, but like most others here, it is because we sold a house at the SF Bay prices, that even with God-awful taxes, we were able to buy here and pay the fees.**

I'm really happy for you that you are just where you want to be, aging in place in a kind and caring community. That's the ideal.

Our former friends and neighbors in our small suburban community also all look after each other and now are kindly banding together to help with one of the group who has Alzheimers. But our priority was our two daughters. When we get sick, frail, can't drive, can't cook, get forgetful, droopy, need doctor trips and small errands, the heaviest burden would fall ( quite rightly) on them, or our friends...

As it stands now, they know we are safe and happy, and they won't need to make any difficult choices for us. Although because of distance we can't see the grandkids daily, they can overnight here, use our pool, enjoy Sunday Brunch etc and I still go to babysit if urgently needed.

Financially, when we "vacate", as they say here, our daughters will get 75% of our purchase price.

Our priority was to spare our girls future worry/hassle, but DH and I both agree this was one of the best choices we've ever made.

Maryanne
** I still have to sell my body on the corner near Safeway. ( Some men like old fat women) Please do not tell our daughters, OK?
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"Maryanne
** I still have to sell my body on the corner near Safeway. ( Some men like old fat women) Please do not tell our daughters, OK? "

^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^

ladies of all shapes and sizes never ever go out of style.

Howie52
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We got an Acorn a couple of years ago. Not for us, but for the Countess's father. He couldn't navigate the stairs to get into our house. We use it as a dumb waiter to get things from the garage (under the house) up to the main level - or reverse. The Countess will use it occasionally. I refuse. Those stairs provide the bulk of my exercise program!



Well, so far DH and I are in fairly decent shape and have no problems with the stairs, as yet.
But, I like your idea about using it as a dumbwaiter because we've thought that we might have to get an Acorn to transport my chubby Irish Terrier up to the second floor. He has short legs and he does not do stairs!
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Y'all probably already know about this - but here is a link to a magazine
I ran across in the library today - I think it is national but has local
aspects - likely related to market areas.

http://www.seniorliving.org/

Good luck.
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