Showing posts with label Lancaster County PA. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Lancaster County PA. Show all posts

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Housing Options When Your Spouse is Ill

Whether Baby Boomers like to think about it or not, you could reach retirement age and discover that either you or your spouse has a health or mobility issue that may make it difficult to live comfortably and safely in your current home or in the typical over-55 community.  Because of that, I thought it would be helpful to talk about some of the other living arrangements that are available as we age.

Remodeling Your Current Home

Probably the most common option is to simply remodel the place where you currently live.  Many people will make the necessary accommodations for their spouse for as long as they can.  They may add a chair lift to help them get up and down the stairs.  Ramps can be added to front doors, bars and walk-in bathtubs can be added to bathrooms, and other adjustments can be added to homes to make them handicap accessible.

People can also buy and lease hospital beds, wheelchairs, and other items that will make it easier for family members with mobility issues.

However, there are some problems that you may not be able to deal with by simply remodeling your current home.  For example, if you have a loved one with dementia, you could be concerned about what the future might bring.  Will they wander away from the house when you're not watching, or leave a burner on while they are trying to cook?  If the ill partner has physical problems and is unable to stand up, will the caregiver spouse be able to help them shower or perform other daily tasks?

In situations like these, the couple may decide that they need to move to a location where they can stay together but get some assistance.

Assisted Living Communities Like Garden Spot Village

When I posted last year about Garden Spot Village in the Lancaster County area of Pennsylvania, I revealed a community that has housing options that range from independent living villas and apartments to assisted living and dementia care options.  This community also features an indoor swimming pool, garden atrium, post office and branch bank in the main building.  There are exercise classes, art programs and a variety of interesting activities available daily.  This tremendous community is ideal for people who want to move somewhere while they are still healthy and remain there as they age and need more assistance.  A couple can both live there even if one does not need assistance but their partner does.

This wonderful community, however, is only one example of the many types of similar facilities that are available across the country.  Many Baby Boomers will want to seriously consider moving to one of these communities, especially if they or their spouse has a chronic illness that could limit their ability to live independently in the coming years.

Holiday Homes

An option that is similar to Garden Spot Village, but more widely available, is offered by Holiday Homes, a company that has over 300 communities across the United States and Canada.  All of them offer independent living apartments and about 70 of the communities also offer separate cottages for those people who do not need personal assistance at this time.

There are certain advantages offered by organizations like Holiday that can make their communities especially appealing to aging Boomers.  In particular, you may be interested in the Holiday Touch Travel Program that allows you to stay up to seven nights per visit in one of their other communities in the United States or Canada.  Your guest room, meals and other amenities are included at no additional charge beyond what you are paying to stay in your home residence.  This is perfect if you occasionally want to travel to a warm location during the winter or go visit your grandchildren in another part of the country.

Holiday communities offer meals prepared by a chef and served in a restaurant style dining room, a variety of activities, including outings and exercise classes, 24-hour assistance for those who need it, on-site dementia facilities, and personal security.  Every apartment is equipped with an emergency call system.

These are not sterile nursing homes, but true residential living facilities.  You are encouraged to bring your own furniture and decorate your apartment however you choose.  There is no long-term commitment.  You pay a monthly rental fee based on the services you need ... for example, whether you or your spouse needs any assisted living services. 

There are Holiday communities in nearly every state in the continental United States, as well as several in Canada.  Whether you want to live near your family and friends, or you wish to move somewhere warm like Florida, Arizona or Southern California, there is almost certain to be a location that will meet your needs.

To get more information or arrange a visit, use the phone number or website below: 


If you are interested in other interesting places to live, use the tabs at the top of this article to find links to more articles about wonderful places to retire in the United States and overseas, as well as additional information of interest to retirees.

You are reading from the blog:

(Public domain photo of an artist painting is courtesy of

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Retire to Friendly Lancaster County, Pennsylvania

For those readers who hope to retire in the Northeast and are looking for charming small towns, low taxes, and appealing retirement communities, one area to consider is Lancaster County, Pennsylvania.  This county is in the center of Pennsylvania Dutch country and has a large Amish population.  Last year I wrote an article on one of the retirement communities in the county, named Garden Spot Village, and thought my readers would enjoy knowing more about this growing retirement mecca.

Reasons to Retire in Lancaster County

There are a number of reasons why retirees are being attracted to this lovely area.  The number one comment that I have heard over and over again is the small town friendliness.  For people who are used to living in some of the big cities on the Eastern seaboard, this is very appealing.

Lancaster County is also in a convenient location for people who do not want to move too far away from their grown children and grandchildren.   Depending on exactly where you settle within the county, it is approximately 90 minutes from Philadelphia, two hours from Washington, D.C., and three hours away from New York City.

Low taxes are another attraction for retirees.  The sales tax is 6% and groceries, clothing, prescriptions and over-the-counter medicines are exempt.  The state income tax is a flat rate of 3.07% of your taxable income, and your Social Security benefits and both private and public pensions are exempt from the state income tax.  This means that many retirees will pay little or no state income tax.  Property taxes vary throughout the county, so new residents may want to take that into consideration when they decide where to settle.  In one estimate I saw, the property taxes on a $167,000 house would be $6,805 in the city of Lancaster and only $4,041 in the Ephrata Township.  This is a significant difference, and should be taken into account when choosing where to live.  However, for people who are moving out of the large metropolitan areas in the East, just the fact that they can find homes in the $160,000 price range is a welcome advantage to living in Lancaster County.

Retirement Communities in Lancaster County

Currently there are at several communities for residents over the age of 55 in Lancaster County.  Here is a little information about each of them, as well as their phone numbers in case you want more detailed information or would like to arrange a visit.  Since this article is being written in 2013, interested readers will have to check on pricing, since it will change over the years.  However, the prices listed below will give you a general idea what you expect.

Traditions of America at Mount Joy
(717) 492-4529

New homes ranging in price from about $225,000 to over $300,000.  There is a clubhouse and pool.

Home Towne Square
(717) 283-5790

Developed by nationally known Landmark Homes, prices for single family homes range from about $250,000 to around $310,000.   There is a clubhouse as well as walking and hiking trails.

Heritage Strasburg
(800) 325-3030

Built by Charter Homes & Neighborhoods, this 55-plus community is on 28 acres conveniently located adjacent to the main street in the town of Strasburg, Pennsylvania.  Homes range from approximately $225,000 to over $300,000.

United Zion Retirement Community
(717) 626-2071

Another choice in Lancaster County is United Zion Retirement Community.  According to its website, it is "a friendly, faith-inspired Life Plan Community .... which offers independent living cottages and apartments, personal care, and skilled nursing services, including short-term rehabilitation."

Willow Valley Retirement Communities
(800) 770-5445

This is a continuing care retirement community where you can start out in an independent living apartment and gradually move into a skilled nursing or memory support facility as the need arises.  Residents pay a purchase price which ranges from $73,500 to $428,500 to move into the community plus a monthly fee of over $1,235. 

Garden Spot Village in New Holland
(717) 355-6000

You will want to read more about this popular community by reading last year's article which I have linked here: Garden Spot Village.  They offer a nice selection of retirement apartments, cottages and homes, with continuing care available when needed.  The apartments start at about $81,000, with cottages and townhomes going up in price to over $300,000.

Healthcare in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania

In addition to the retirement communities that offer skilled nursing facilities, there are also excellent hospitals and medical centers in the county.  Among them are Lancaster General Hospital, Lancaster Regional Medical Center (affiliated with Penn State Hershey Cancer Institute), Heart of Lancaster Regional Medical Center in Lititz, and Ephrata Community Hospital.

If you are interested in learning more as you prepare for retirement, you may want to use the tabs or pull down menu at the top of this article, or check out the index articles shown below.  Each one contains links to a wide variety of additional articles on those topics:

Gifts, Travel and Family Relationships

Great Places for Boomers to Retire Overseas

Great Places to Retire in the United States

Health and Medical Topics for Baby Boomers

Money and Financial Planning for Retirement

Sources of information:
Where to Retire Magazine, March/April 2013

You are reading from the blog:

Photo of  North Duke Street in Lancaster, Pennsylvania courtesy of