Sunday, April 29, 2012

Sexism After Retirement

Many women who are retired, or soon to retire, are independent women who have spent years in the work force.  They have lead busy lives, and have earned their retirement.  Often they felt that they had been held back during their working years because of blatant sexism in the workforce.  In fact, in 2008, the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development found that women continue to earn approximately 17% less than men in similar occupations.  Because their career is often interrupted during child rearing years, women tend to earn about 30% less than men over their lifetime.

The Retirement Effects of Lower Income for Women

The repercussions of earning less during their lifetime has a dramatic effect on the amount of retirement income they receive.  Because women earned less while they were working, they also receive lower Social Security benefits.  According to the Social Security Administration, in 2008 17% of single women over the age of 65 had an income that was below the poverty threshold of $10,326.  About 28% earned less than $12,907.

Other Types of Sexism After Retirement

A lower standard of living is not the only way that women are experiencing sexism after retirement.  After years of dealing with sexism in the workplace, many women are shocked to realize that they are still subject to social sexism after retirement.  A friend of mine, who lives here in our retirement community of Laguna Woods Village, told me about a recent incident of sexism she noticed in a club she and her husband had joined. When the club secretary resigned, the men in the club suggested that the women take turns being club secretary.  My friend said she was willing to take a turn, and do her fair share, but only if the men did, too.  She saw no reason why only the women should take over the many responsibilities of a club secretary.

Retirement was the one stage of our lives when most women did not expect to experience blatant sexism.  After all, since women tend to live longer than men, there are usually more women than men living in retirement communities.  Gradually, let's all hope the tide turns and retiring Baby Boomers will continue to promote more equitable financial and social status during the retirement years.

In researching this blog post, I was delighted to see this quote:  "You don't have to be anti-man to be pro-woman" -- Jane Galvin Lewis.  That is so true!  We all need to work together to promote a better society for everyone.

If you are interested in learning more about issues affecting your retirement, use the tabs or pull down menu at the top of this article to find links to hundreds of additional articles on where to retire, financial planning, medical issues and changing family relationships.

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Thursday, April 26, 2012

National Take Back Medicine Day

Many Americans have unused and unneeded medications in their medicine cabinets.  These medications can be dangerous to visiting family members who take them.  For example, young children visiting grandmother may think the pills are "candy," and pop a few into their mouths; or teenage relatives may decide to steal a bottle of painkillers left over from a recent surgery and either take the pills themselves or sell them to their friends.

How NOT to Dispose of Unused Medicine

It is important that unused medications be disposed of carefully.  Some people think they are doing the right thing when they pour their unneeded medications down the drain or flush them down the toilet.  However, this method of disposal can damage our water supply.  Imagine millions of people dumping a few pills down the toilet every month.  Most methods of water filtration and purification are not designed to remove these chemicals from the water.  The impact on the environment would be enormous.  In fact, it is not usual for independent labs to find measurable amounts of birth control hormones and other medications in the water we drink.  This cannot be healthy for anyone, but particularly not for our children.

National Prescription Take-Back Day

For the past few years, the Federal Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) has scheduled an annual National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day to assist people in safely disposing of their unwanted and unused prescription drugs.  During the event in 2011, Americans turned in more than 377,086 pounds (or 188.5 tons) of unneeded medications.

The events are held at different times of year from 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m.  There are 5,327 take-back sites located in all 50 states and the US territories.  To find a site near you, go to:

National Take Back Initiative Collection Site Search

The website will tell you the next available date.  You just need to enter your zip code or your county, city and state to find a take-back center near you.

When I entered my zip code, I discovered that I could turn my unused drugs into the police department offices and sheriff's department offices in my community.  A call to the non-emergency number for your local police department or sheriff's department would probably help you confirm the drug take-back location closest to you.

Other Ways to Dispose of Medications

If you have unwanted medications and you are unable to get them to a take-back center,  here are other things you could do.

* Break the pills up, mix them with dirt or garbage, leave them in the bottle and put them in the trash so that they go to a landfill.

* Call your local police department or city hall and ask if they have a place where you can properly dispose of medications.

*  Call your pharmacy or local hospital to see if you could drop off your unused drugs at one of their facilities.

Do not simply show up with your drugs someplace and assume that they will take them off your hands.  Not all communities have the proper facilities to dispose of medications.  If your community does not, you may want to contact your local city office and see if you can work with them to set up a place where people can properly dispose of their drugs.

Don't put your family and loved ones at risk by allowing dangerous medications to fall into the wrong hands.  Don't flush your pills down the toilet or wash them down the drain, where they could pollute our water supply.  Take back any medications you don't need, and allow the government to dispose of them properly.

If you are interested in additional information of use to Baby Boomers, use the tabs or pull down menu at the top of the page to find links to hundreds of additional articles on where to retire, medical issues, financial planning, family relationships and more.

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Sunday, April 22, 2012

Gambling Addiction During Retirement

Recently, several members of our family traveled to Las Vegas to celebrate the 30th birthday of our youngest daughter.  It was also a bit of a family reunion, with three generations of our family present. While walking along the edge of a casino to get to the hotel pool at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas, my nine year old grandson asked why so many "old" people liked to gamble!

I think that many of us tend to become less observant as we grow older.  I have become accustomed to seeing casinos filled with silver haired patrons, and didn't even notice how many were present until my grandson said something.  While most of the families that were visiting Las Vegas this weekend were enjoying a beautiful day at the pool or touring some of the fascinating attractions in Las Vegas, the casino was quite busy in the middle of the day with older patrons.  In fact, most of the chairs in front of the slot machines were filled with senior citizens.

Gambling Addiction is a Serious Problem for Senior Citizens

Upon returning home, I decided to research whether gambling addiction is a serious problem for retirees and I was shocked by what I discovered.  According to a Summer, 2009 AARP article, senior women are now the most likely group to develop a gambling addiction.

The same article reported that older people are more likely to develop gambling problems because they no longer work and have more available time.  Many casinos market directly to retirees.  They send buses to senior centers and retirement communities, pick up the residents of these communities, offer them a free lunch or other benefits, and take them to a casino where they spend the entire day.  These retirees then fill the day by sitting at a slot machine and pouring money into it until it is time to go home.  Despite the free lunch and transportation, these trips are very expensive for most seniors.  However, they often go to the casinos because they are bored at home and they want to get out and do something "fun."

According to the National Council on Problem Gambling, in an article on,, seniors are one of the fastest growing groups of gamblers.  Those who report that they have recently gambled have increased from 20% to about 50% during the past few decades.  As they gamble more and more frequently, seniors become more likely to develop a gambling addiction.

How to Get Help for a Gambling Addiction

If you, or someone you know, seems to have a gambling addiction, there is no reason to let it destroy your retirement.  Help is available.

You can find out more from Gamblers Anonymous at 1-888-GA-HELPS or

or contact the National Council on Problem Gambling at (800) 522-4700 or

Let's keep our entertainment fun and family friendly, without letting it destroy our lives and our financial safety net.

If you are interested in additional retirement information, including financial planning, medical issues, where to retire or family relationships, use the tabs or pull down menu at the top of the page for links to hundreds of additional articles.

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Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Healing Relationships with Your Adult Children

Many Baby Boomers grew up in constant conflict with our parents.  We talked about the Generation Gap and changing lifestyles.  We demonstrated against the war in Vietnam and the values of the 1950's.  We insisted that "the times they were a changin'." However, as the years went by, most of us were able to heal our family misunderstandings and eventually maintain some kind of a relationship with our parents.

Some Baby Boomers are Now Estranged from their Children

Sadly, now it is our generation's turn to be on the receiving end of resentment felt by our children.  Surveys indicate that a significant number of Baby Boomers have grown up to become parents who are estranged from their own grown children.  In an article entitled "The Stranger in Your Family," in the April/May 2012 issue of AARP Magazine, the author discussed the increasing number of Baby Boomers who feel estranged from their grown children. 

Causes of Family Estrangements

Several experts in the AARP article mention that they have seen increasing numbers of parents whose adult children have cut communications with them.  In these families, children rarely, if ever, contact their parents and they sometimes do not accept the parents' attempts to contact them.  There can be several reasons for this. It could have started with conflict during the teenage years or a sense that the parents disapprove of their adult children.

However it began, one reason the article gave for the estrangements is that society and therapists now encourage people to only stay in relationships that feel good to them.  Therefore, if being around their parents causes these young adults to feel uncomfortable, unhappy, or guilty, they simply choose to stay away.  If they believe their parents are controlling or critical, the young person feels justified in avoiding these negative relationships, often with the support of their therapist.

Reading this AARP article made me feel sad, despite the fact that I have been able to maintain strong relationships with my own adult daughters and step-daughters.  I know how painful these estrangements can be, because I have several friends who are going through this.

How to Heal a Broken Relationship with Your Adult Children

In reading the article's suggestions for healing estrangements, I realized that I have already incorporated some of them into the way I have dealt with our own daughters.  Because this is such a difficult topic for many parents, I thought I would reiterate some of the things that experts believe can help:

Do not criticize your adult kids.  They are more sensitive than you realize.  If you don't like something you are hearing, simply say things like, "Hmmm," "You could be right," "That's interesting," "It will be interesting to see how that turns out," and "I hope everything works out for you."

Do not compare your children.  Appreciate their uniqueness.  Your children could have careers ranging from actor to scientist.  Never point out how much better off one is than the other.  Every career has its advantages and disadvantages.  Give them the dignity to figure out their own paths.

If you have a suggestion, make it once.  If they seem to misunderstand it, clarify it once.  Then drop it and never bring it up again, unless they ask you to repeat it or explain it.  Don't give unsolicited advice, especially about how to raise their kids.

If you accidentally offend them in any way, apologize.  Don't just tell them that you are sorry.  Tell them that their decisions only affect them, not you, so you shouldn't have said anything.  (OK, you may have to swallow your pride on that one.  That's why saying "Hmmm" a lot will keep you out of trouble!)

Accept your children.  Accept that they can have different ideas, different religions, different political beliefs, different sexual orientations, and different attitudes about money and life ... and that is OK.  You don't have to live like they do.  Enjoy watching their lives from the sidelines, much as you would a scandalous soap opera!

Celebrate their successes.  Don't mention their failures.

The Benefits of Accepting Your Adult Children and Their Choices

It isn't always easy to live by this creed and sometimes you have to bite your tongue a lot, but it is worthwhile.  Like most parents, I have watched our adult children go through stages that left me shaking my head.  However, today I love being invited to spend time with them as they help their own kids choose their colleges, and pick out prom dresses.  I love being included in trips with our adult children.  I think they have finally reached the point where they feel comfortable that I will not criticize them if things go wrong or if they make mistakes.  I can shrug things off and admit that things don't always work out for me, either.  They feel like equals in our relationship, and that's all adult children really want.

What to Do If You Are Estranged From Your Children

If you have been estranged from your children, be patient.  You will have to work hard to let them know that you no longer feel critical of them and that you accept them just as they are.  They may test you by flaunting behaviors that annoy you, just to see if you can avoid commenting.  You will have to be very careful, especially at first.

Meanwhile, send them birthday and Christmas cards, but don't lay a guilt trip on them if they seem to ignore the cards and not reciprocate.  Invite them to family occasions, but don't get upset if they don't always show up.  Send an apology, if necessary, for your past actions or hurtful words.  Take it slowly, and things will usually improve, although it could take years.

If you are interested in more information for Baby Boomers about improving family relationships, where to retire, financial planning, potential medical issues and more, use the tabs or pull down menu at the top of the page to find links to hundreds of additional articles.

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Sunday, April 15, 2012

Electronic Social Security Payments Only Option Since 2013

Beginning in 2013, the federal government ceased sending payments by check for any benefit program, including Social Security.

If you are one of the 90% of Social Security recipients who already received your payments electronically, this recent policy change by the federal government did not affect you.  However, if you are among the 10% who were getting a Social Security, veterans' benefit, railroad pension or federal disability payment by check, you needed to make arrangements to accept those payments electronically.  If you are new to Social Security, you will have to decide which electronic method you prefer for receiving your benefits.

How to Receive Your Social Security Benefits Electronically

There are two ways to receive your payments.  You can either have them direct deposited into your bank account, or you can ask to be sent a debit card and the federal government will deposit your funds onto the debit card each month. 

There are significant advantages to the federal government with these changes.  First, the government saves about $120 million a year by not being required to deal with paper checks.  Social Security will save approximately $1 billion per decade.  This procedure for electronic payments is also safer for individuals.  In 2010, over 540,000 federal benefit checks were reported lost or stolen.

However, for some elderly people who do not have bank accounts or who are not used to electronic payments, there could be some difficulty getting used to handling their benefits electronically.  Those individuals will receive a debit card and they will have to use it to get cash from a bank or use it to make purchases.  Although there will be no charge to make purchases, the bank can charge them a fee for cash withdrawals.

If you have an elderly parent who may be impacted by the changes, you can get more information at 1-800-333-1795 or at the government website,

If you want to stay up-to-date with other retirement information, use the tabs or pull down menu at the top of the page to find links to hundreds of additional articles on retirement planning, where to retire, health issues, family relationships and more.

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Thursday, April 12, 2012

Simplify Your Life for Retirement

As most of us approach retirement, we look forward to spending our free time doing all the things we have wanted to do for many years.  Now is the time when we can go to the beach, go fishing, spend time camping and hunting, write books, read books and enjoy all manner of relaxing pursuits.

However, if we want to make these things happen, one of the things most of us must consider is how to simplify our life.  We need to cut back on our expenses, and find ways to do the things we enjoy in the most affordable way possible.

This simplification can be a very empowering experience, as we learn ways to make life a little easier.  Below are some of the steps you may need to do before your retire, so that you can afford to relax once you stop working.

How to Simplify Your Life and Enjoy Your Retirement

Cut Your Housing Costs -- Can you move to a less expensive place?  Downsizing would not only save you money on mortgage and taxes, but also save you money on utilities.  Are there other housing costs that you can reduce?  For example, can you switch to a less expensive cable TV system; or use a Magic Jack rather than a traditional telephone line?  Look for all the ways you can cut your housing expenses to the bare minimum.

Consider Moving to a Retirement Community -- There are many reasons why moving to a retirement community could help you simplify your life.  Depending on the community, many of them have affordable housing, low cost or free entertainment, and a wide variety of ways to stay mentally and physically active.

Cut Other Costs -- Can you cut back on auto expenses, restaurant meals, cell phones bills, internet, etc?  Think of cost cutting as an adventure, and work together to find all the ways you can reduce your expenses.

Find Inexpensive Hobbies -- Whether you decide to stay in your current home or move to a retirement community, find hobbies that you can afford to enjoy. Whether you take up walking in your neighborhood, swim in the public pool in your community, see movies during low-cost matinees, join a book club, or take free classes, there are many activities available to senior citizens that are free or very low cost.

The Advantages of Simplifying your Life

When you cut your costs, you may find that you are also making your life easier in several ways.  For example, if you reduce the size of your residence, you will also need to spend less time cleaning and maintaining it. This alone will enable you to spend more time in leisure pursuits.

If you cut your expenses, you may find that you have less stress over your financial situation.  It may also enable you to retire a little sooner than you thought possible.

Don't wait until after you have quit your job.  Start simplifying your life as soon as you begin planning your retirement, so you have a realistic picture of how much money you need to live, and what it will take to really enjoy your post-retirement years.

If you are interested in learning about other ways to get the most out of your retirement, use the tabs or pull down menu at the top of the page to find links to hundreds of additional articles about financial planning, where to retire, health issues that can arise in retirement, changing family relationships and more.

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Tuesday, April 10, 2012

How to Cope with Death and Grief

As we age, we all face the fact that there is a finish line looming up ahead.  At some point, we will need to not only accept our own impending death, but also the deaths of those we love.  As much as we don't like to think about these events, it can be helpful to have a better understanding of how to cope with death when the situation arises.

Recognize the Five Stages of Grief

In 1969, Elisabeth Kubler-Ross interviewed hundreds of dying patients, and used the results to write a book called "On Death and Dying." (available from Amazon).  In her landmark book, she listed what she considered the five stages of grief that most people will experience.  She learned that, while everyone will experience at least some of the stages, not everyone will experience all of them.  She also noticed that some people may spend a long time alternating between just two or three of the stages.  It may also take certain people much longer to reach the final stage of acceptance than others.

Whether you are facing your own death, or coping with the death of a loved one, it is important to understand and recognize the different stages of grief that we might be experiencing.  The stages are:

Denial -- refusing to admit that anything is wrong.

Anger -- raging against God, doctors or anything that may have contributed to the health problem.

Bargaining -- begging your Higher Power for more time; promising to change future behavior.

Depression -- feeling helpless, hopeless and despondent. 

Acceptance -- willingness to prepare for the inevitable, including finalizing plans, writing letters to those who will be left behind, talking about your good memories, etc.

Accepting the Inevitability of Death

Death is something we will all have to face at one time or another ... whether it is our own death, or that of a loved one.  Most of us will experience at least some of these stages of grief.  It is helpful to understand what we are going through, and realize that we will eventually pass through these different stages and reach acceptance, no matter how hard that may be to believe.

Once we reach the stage of acceptance, we can begin to take constructive action.  If you are the person who has been told you have a terminal disease, you may want to read my article called:

Redesigning Death - Bringing Joy to Your Final Days

This article offers a number of tips on how you can change the mood surrounding your death, so that you can make things easier for yourself and your loved ones.

If the death is that of a loved one, it can sometimes be even more difficult to reach the stage of acceptance.  The article on Redesigning Death is also a good way to open up the conversation about how to celebrate that person's life, rather than focus on their death ... as hard as that may be to think about.

If someone you care about is experiencing the death of someone they love, be patient with them and recognize that it may take some time to go through the various stages of grief.  There is no way to hurry the process.  The best things you can do for your friend is to be there for them, listen, and let them take their time processing the situation.

If you are interested in more articles of interest to Baby Boomers, use the tabs or pull down menu at the top of the page for links to hundreds of additional articles.

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Sunday, April 8, 2012

Keeping Romance Alive After 60

Last night my husband took me on a date to the Hollywood Forever Cemetery.  He wouldn't tell me why we were going to a cemetery on a date, or what we were doing there until we pulled into the gates and found a parking spot near the graves.  He wanted the evening he had carefully planned to be a surprise!

We were there to see the actor, Val Kilmer perform in a one man show called "Citizen Twain,"  a play about humorist Mark Twain. Val Kilmer wrote, directed, produced and was the sole performer in the play ... although he was accompanied at times by four live musicians.  He was performing his play at the cemetery because, as he pointed out, Mark Twain is dead!  The Masonic Lodge at the Hollywood Forever Cemetery in Hollywood, California also has a nice, private upstairs theater that seats about 220 - 250 people.  Val Kilmer strolled up and down the aisles and mingled with the audience as he performed, so nearly everyone was able to see well and feel close in these intimate surroundings.

The Element of Surprise can Enhance Your Marriage

My husband and I had never been to such a unique performance, and definitely had never been to a play at a cemetery.  Even though we are both in our 60's, this was a first for both of us ... which is exactly what my husband wanted.  Although we have been married over 40 years, he still likes to surprise me with special dates that are unique and interesting. 

On another occasion, he took me to a mystery dinner theater, where the wait staff were all members of the cast.  After the lights were momentarily dimmed, we watched in mock horror as one member of the cast was found "dead" on the dining room floor.  All of our waiters and waitresses were suspects.  Slowly, the dinner guests unraveled the mystery.  It was delightful.

My husband has also surprised me with concert tickets, tickets to musicals, and dinners at unusual restaurants.  He doesn't plan a major surprise every month; only, perhaps, once or twice a year.  However, when he does, it is always a delight.

Find Ways to Bring Fun into Your Marriage

There are other ways that a couple can enjoy fun activities together.  Perhaps you like to travel, go camping, sailing or walking on the beach.  Do you share a love of great food, animals, or artwork?

When elderly couples are interviewed and asked the reason for their long marriages, they nearly always say that it is important to have a sense of humor.  More than anything, it is important to find activities that make you laugh together.

Laughter seems to be closely entwined with romance.  Having fun should be a focus of every couple.

Snuggle Frequently

Of course, it is also romantic to hug, kiss, snuggle and engage in all the forms of physical contact that the two of you enjoy.  Couples who never touch frequently grow apart. 

Sometimes, in our busy lives, we can fall into a routine that makes us feel like we are living with a roommate rather than a romantic partner.  Every couple should take the time to, at the very least, kiss and hug as often as possible.

Do Not Forget Romantic Occasions

Few things can damage that romantic feeling more than a forgotten anniversary, birthday, Valentine's Day or special occasion.  While those days may not seem like a big deal to you, they can be very important to your partner. 

You don't have to make a big deal out of every holiday.  However, it is important to acknowledge them as an opportunity to show your love and appreciation for your partner ... even if it is only with a homemade card or drugstore box of candy.

Marriages Should Not Become Dull and Stagnant

My point is that marriage and other relationships do not have to become stale and stagnant after a couple has been together a long time.  You can still find ways to keep your romance alive and feeling new.  It is never too late to come up with a romantic surprise of your own!

For additional ideas about enjoying life after sixty, use the tabs or pull down menu at the top of this page for links to hundreds of additional articles on changing family relationships, where to retire, financial planning and more.

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Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Finding Niche Retirement Communities

Most large retirement communities are designed to appeal to a large number of people with diverse interests.  For example, Laguna Woods Village, the retirement community where I live, has horseback riding (as shown in this photo I took a few days ago from the back of horse).  It also has golf, tennis, parties and much more. 

However, what if you could choose a niche retirement community that is designed to attract a specific group of people ... people who are more like you and share your specific interests and hobbies?  Today, this is one of the exciting new trends in retirement communities.

What is a Niche or Affinity Retirement Community?

These new retirement communities are catered specifically to people who have common interests or traits.  For example, retirement communities that target intellectuals are being built near many universities.  There are communities for Asian Americans, and at least one for Baby Boomers who enjoy recreational vehicles.  There are communities specifically for the gay and lesbian community, as well as communities for people who are interested in art and music. Sometimes these niche communities are referred to as affinity communities.

How do you find these communities? 

How to Find a Niche Retirement Community

Here are a few companies that either currently meet these specialized needs or are planning new affinity communities in the coming years

Aegis Living:  for Asian-Americans

Oakmont Senior Living: for Gays and Lesbians, and Korean-Americans

RainbowVision community: Gays and Lesbians

Escapees CARE: assisted living for RVers

PANDAbare: building a nudist assisted living facility

Burbank Senior Artists Colony: for actors, artists, and writers

Holy Cross Village at Notre Dame: university-based retirement near one of our nation's premier Catholic universities.

Retirement with an Equestrian Facility: Laguna Woods Village in California is the only one I have run across.  The photo above shows one of its trail rides.  People have moved to this community from states like Montana and Colorado in order to retire someplace where they can bring their horses with them.

Should You Move into a Niche Retirement Community?

Niche retirement communities are not for everyone.  Sometimes people long for more diversity, and a broader range of activities.  In other cases, some of the niche retirement communities may be exceptionally expensive.  However, if you have a specific need, you may want to look for niche communities in the area where you want to retire. 

If you know of a niche retirement community that you believe might interest others, please feel free to mention it in the comments section below.  My readers will appreciate your thoughtful suggestions.

If you are looking for articles on more retirement communities, use the tabs or pull down menu at the top of this page to find links to hundreds of other articles on topics of interest to retirees.

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Sunday, April 1, 2012

Retirement Community Amenities - Which are Best For You?

When you think about retirement communities, what kinds of amenities would you like to have?  You may be surprised to discover that you have a wide variety of choices in nearly every region of the country.

Within just five miles of my home, there are many different types of retirement communities, and they each have a diverse menu of amenities and services that they offer.

Active Adult Communities for 55+ Senior Citizens

One of the most popular types of places for people over the age of 55 to live is an active adult community.  This may consist of single family homes, townhouses, or condominiums.  The residents all live independently in their own residences and participate in their choice of activities.  

For example, our community of Laguna Woods Village offers golf, horseback riding, tennis, five swimming pools, two gyms with trainers, art studios, a live theater, dance classes, bridge, parties, and over 200 clubs.  Some residents have chosen to live in our area because it is one of the few retirement communities in the United States that contains its own equestrian center and riding trails.  We often attract retirees from Colorado and Montana who bring along their horses and board them at the stables.

However, our community does not offer skilled nursing care, memory care or any of the amenities that you might need as you get older; nor does it provide residents with meals or similar services.  In addition, the homeowners dues are unusually high because of the number of activities that are provided at no charge or for a very low fee.

Senior Apartment Communities

There is one highrise senior apartment community, called the Towers, within the gates of Laguna Woods Village that does provide some additional services ... dinner every night and weekly maid service.  The average age in this building is approximately age 88.  However, even this facility within our gated community does not include nursing care.  It is an independent living senior apartment complex.  You can find senior apartments throughout the United States.  In addition to luxury ones, many cities have low income housing for seniors that would generally fall into this category.

Another senior adult apartment complex in our area is just a few feet outside the gated community of Laguna Woods Village.  It is called San Sebastian.  This building is very new and modern.  It has gorgeous apartments, beautiful pools, frequent parties, and a gym.  The building is very secure.  Although the facilities are very appealing, the residents cannot use the golf course, tennis courts or other amenities inside the gates of Laguna Woods Village, just a few feet from their door. 

What the Towers and San Sebastian have in common is that they are both apartment complexes that are designed specifically for senior citizens.

Continuing Care Retirement Communities

There are also a large number of other types of senior residences in the area surrounding our community.  They are called Continuing Care Retirement Communities or CCRCs.  

The ones in our neighborhood have names like Freedom Village, The Wellington, The Regency and Whispering Fountains.  They provide the residents with a private room or senior apartment, three meals a day, and full use of their facilities. Most of them provide private bus service to shuttle the residents around to shopping centers, doctors appointments, the theater and other activities.  They hold parties and have exercise classes, putting greens, hot tubs, and bridge groups. Many of them also have different levels of care ... independent living residential apartments, assisted living (for those just needing a little help), skilled nursing facilities, physical therapy,  memory care facilities, etc. 

The price you pay for a CCRC depends on the level of care you need.  I have known people who have a chronic illness or other future health concerns who wanted to move to these types of facilities while they were still active and capable of taking care of themselves.  It was reassuring for them to know that they would never have to move again if they became weak or incapacitated.

Which Type of Retirement Community Amenities are Right for You?

What type of facility do you want or need?  Before you buy into a retirement community, give a lot of thought to your future needs.  If you are comfortable with the idea of living in one place now, and moving into a residential facility with a higher level of care later, then you may want to select an active adult resort type community like Laguna Woods Village.  If you have a serious illness or feel your health slipping away, you might want to select a place that will care for you for the rest of your life.

Neither choice is better than the other.  Only you can decide which types of amenities will best suit your needs.  However, these are some of the issues you will want to consider before you make up your mind about where you want to live.  Once you do decide, relax and enjoy your new living situation.  All of these retirement communities have plenty of activities to keep you busy and entertained!

If you are interested in learning more about where to live after retirement, financial planning, medical issues that can arise, changing family relationships and more, use the tabs or pull down menu at the top of the page to find links to hundreds of additional articles.

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photo taken by author while horseback riding in Laguna Woods Village, California