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The Pros and Cons of Retirement Communities

Retirement communities can be great places for seniors to live after their working years are over, but not every senior will find a restrictive community like this to be a perfect fit. Here are some pros and cons you should consider before making the move.

• PRO: It’s easy to be social. After leaving work, it’s hard for many seniors to find a way to be social on a daily basis. But socializing is important to physical and emotional well-being. In a senior community, there will be other people your age and events in the neighborhood that all work to help ease loneliness.

• CON: It’s hard to be alone. Some retirement communities, those with individual homes, allow seniors to retain their autonomy and freedom. Others, such as those with apartments, condos or trailers, can put a crimp in the sense of privacy you feel. If you don’t like making small talk with people every time you leave home and you believe that fences make the best neighbors, be sure to choose your community carefully.

• PRO: Perks nearby are geared toward seniors. Many retirement communities have businesses on-site or nearby that seniors need. In the right community, you may find that you can get your hair done, buy groceries and stock up on greeting cards by just taking a few steps from your front door.

• CON: Neighborhood rules can be restrictive. Most communities have rules like any other homeowner’s association would. There may be construction restrictions, aggressive outdoor codes and more. This can be difficult for some seniors to adjust to.

• PRO: There are no children. Kids have an amazing sense of fun, adventure and abandon that can set your dog to barking, interrupt your nap and mess up your garden. In a retirement community, the age limits mean you will only catch the rarest glimpse of children as they visit the community.

• CON: There are no children. What? How can a pro also be a con? Well, it depends on your personality. Some people love to hear the sound of perky, young voices playing outside, or to peek out the window and see the neighborhood kids learning how to ride their bikes. If this is something you think you’ll miss, then a retirement community may not be right for you—but remember, you can always visit a local park to see kids in action.

Which setting do you see working better for your postretirement goals?

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