Happiness is an Active Retirement CommunityMike Pacholsky
Retirement can be your chance to find exactly what you want out of life.
There is a line in the film Peggy Sue Got Married, where the title character asks her estranged, middle-aged husband why he left his young mistress: “I got tired of translating everything to her. She thought the Big Bopper was a hamburger.”
The reason the line was so funny is that it resonates so well with almost everyone. We all, regardless of age, want to be surrounded by people who share our experiences and our outlook. That goes double when it comes time to choose a community to settle down in...particularly if we believe it will be the last time we ever go through the process.
That’s one of the reasons active retirement communities have become so popular. Many retirees are forced by economic circumstances to downsize their lives; many others are dependent upon a profit from the sale of their now-too-big family home. Either scenario necessitates a move, almost certainly to another community.
Not that that’s a bad thing: even when it’s forced upon you by economic necessity, moving gives you the opportunity to improve your life in other ways. Depending on your destination, “lighting out for the territories” can mean lessening your taxes; it can mean finding better weather or better recreational opportunities. For some, it can even mean going home after a long absence, or being closer to other members of a dispersed family.
It also means you now have the chance to conciously take control of your destiny. Want to be surrounded not by random strangers, but by people who share your life experiences? Here’s your chance.
Active retirement communities (otherwise known as age-restricted or 55-plus communities) are purpose-built to accommodate people of a particular age group. In that sense, they’re simply planned communities; but what links their residents together isn’t income level, but age. For baby boomers who grew up in the Fifties and Sixties, planned communities offer the opportunity to return to a world (however small in scale) that’s still based around safe streets and close neighbors, areound a sense of shared values and shared community. It’s a form of “going home again,” and it is possible.
What does it mean, in practical terms? Most active retirement communities offer amenities tailored to their residents, including exercise facilities such as swimming pools and workout rooms. They offer planned activities such as dances, plays, pot lucks, and day trips. Many will have a particular character; golf communities are the most obvious example, but there are others: a community may be situated next to a lake and be a haven for avid fishermen, or it may have an active club catering to anything from ham radio to quilting. The point is, you get to choose.
Moving to an active retirement community gives seniors the chance—perhaps for the first time in their lives—to immerse themselves in exactly the circumstances that will make them happiest. At the same time, it can also give them the opportunity to shrink their budget, lessen their tax bill, and find a more amenable climate. It’s what’s called a “win-win” situation. Maybe even “win-win-win-win.”