RetComLife #40 -“Active” Retirement Communities

RetCom Life?

It’s been a while since I posted in the RetComLife project. Sorry…

If there is one lesson I can get you to realize in my RetComLife series it is, if you are an active senior you should probably seek out an “active” retirement community for your first retirement home. During my exploration of retirement communities in the last year, I can tell you that the big majority of senior communities just don’t live up to the term “active”. In fact, most “independent” living communities are at best pre-assistive living places.

I know this, as that is where I now live. I realize that most people don’t look for a retirement community until their families can no longer support their needs. It is only then that a retirement community is even considered. Then there are those like myself who simply don’t have the family connections needed, so we are looking for a place where people like us reside. They do exist, but are difficult to find, especially in an area you might presently live.

For the purposes of this RetCom series, I will soon be visiting what I think is an “active” community. It is part of a series of communities dotted around the Midwest called Friendship Village. The one I will be visiting is near Columbus Ohio. I have visited their website several times and believe it is actually “active”. Of course, I will be putting out a post on my visit at a future date.

Let me clue you in on a secret about RetComs. The vast majority of retirement sites just don’t show you what they really look like. In reality there are usually mobility aids everywhere. My dining room has more scooters and walkers than chairs, but none are to be seen in any of the photos on their website.

Baby Strollers at Disney World

Of course, this non-reality view is not limited to RetComs. When I was visiting Disney World in 2016 I was astounded to see all the baby strollers. They are invisible when the photographer takes pictures of the park.

Another thing to be looking for in your on-site visit when the marketing director is showing you about all the activities there are, be sure to notice if there are actually any people around to verify their words. There might be activities on the agenda but if no one participates, then it is not likely an active community. Also, check out the “activities” list so see if there are any for “active” seniors. Things like walking clubs or exercise room get-togethers. If most are just transporting the residents to shopping and local events, then that should give you a clue.

I want to finish this post by once again telling you that there is nothing wrong with communities that focus primarily on pre-assistive “independent living”. Most of us, including me, will eventually need a place where we can live with some limited assistance until around-the-clock care is eventually needed.

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