Showing posts with label retirement communities. Show all posts
Showing posts with label retirement communities. Show all posts

Saturday, September 5, 2020

"The Senior Years Master Plan" is an Excellent Guidebook for Later Life

Many of us try to block out the fact that we are aging. As we approach our 50s and 60s, we may become even more determined to ignore the reality facing us. One reason is that we can become simply overwhelmed by all the different issues we have to consider.  Where should we live? How much money will we need?  How can we generate income which will last the rest of our lives? How can we manage our health, our illnesses and, ultimately, our deaths? There are so many things to think about, it can seem easier to procrastinate about doing anything.
As a result, I was curious when the author of "The Senior Years Master Plan", Ralph Mroz, contacted me about his book. (Ad) After reading it, I was impressed by the comprehensive way it brought up virtually every issue people need to consider, ideally before they actually retire.  However, even if you have already retired, there are some great suggestions in this book which you will find helpful.  I appreciated the detailed description of the different types of financial advisors and I loved the suggestion that we all put together an Index of where to find our important documents and everything else our heirs will need, if something should happen to us.  It will save our family a lot of frustration and confusion. I also liked the suggestion that we all assemble a "team" of reliable people we can count on as we age ... doctors, lawyers, financial planners, and wellness experts.
When the author contacted me about his book, he also provided a very complete description of what I could expect to find in the book.  I asked if I could use his description in this blog post, since he knows the book better than anyone.  After I read the book, I realized that his description was quite accurate.  Below is the information he provided.

Author's Summary of "The Senior Years Master Plan" (Ad)
"As I watched my parents' generation suffer in old age from lack of choices, or poor choices made decades earlier, the question in my mind was, 'So what do we need to do now to plan for the best outcome in our old age?'

There are thousands of books and websites on the subject of aging and its various elements.  But there isn’t a single, concise, overall guide to all of the practical aspects of aging that require planning and 
action, often years in advance.  This book’s audience is mostly Baby Boomers, and their children.

Here is a list of the major chapters:

•    The principles of aging
•    You will diminish
•    Housing and care options
•    Aging in place
•    Keeping busy
•    Pets
•    Stopping driving
•    Your team: doctors
•    Your team: financial planner
•    Your team: elder law attorney
•    Your team: the gym and trainer
•    Your team: maintenance people
•    Your team: a trusted sounding board
•    Your team: nutritionist
•    Your team: care manager
•    Psychological wellness
•    The last act: your funeral

The book is concise and stresses the need for practical action.  Each chapter lays out the spectrum of options, and de-confuses the plethora of perplexing terms that describe them.  Each chapter presents some hard truths, and stresses the need for planning.  Most chapters lay out the need for professional help.  However, no chapter tells the reader what they should do, but rather how to evaluate the options or how to engage an appropriate professional."
I highly recommend "The Senior Years Master Plan" (Ad) to the readers of the Baby-Boomer-Retirement blog. It could help everyone have a comprehensive, flexible plan for their senior years which will reduce their anxiety, save them time, and help them prepare for the inevitable.  I also suggest you browse back through the book every year or two, to make sure your plan is still up-to-date and reflects your needs and desires.
About the Book's Author
With a career spanning the private sector (high-tech and management consulting), public sector (police officer and law enforcement trainer), and the non-profit sector, Ralph Mroz brings a uniquely well-rounded perspective to his analysis. He has been a prolific writer and video presenter.

In the law enforcement arena, he's regarded as one of the leading critical thinkers regarding training.
In the management arena, he's the co-author (with Mitch Gooze) of Value Acceleration, (Ad) the book which introduced the structured strategic marketing system known as the Customer Manufacturing Process.  He's been appointed to two gubernatorial commissions (one concerning economic development, the other related to law enforcement).

As a Baby Boomer, he researched many aspects of aging in order to plan effectively for the upcoming decades.  Now retired, he volunteers at his local dog shelter and is involved with a police reform organization in his home state of Massachusetts. 
If you are interested in learning more about saving money, financial planning, Social Security, Medicare, where to retire, common medical issues as you age, travel and more, use the tabs or pull down menu at the top of the page to find links to hundreds of additional helpful articles.

Disclosure: This blog may contain affiliate links. If you decide to make a purchase from an Amazon ad, I'll make a small commission at no extra cost to you.

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Photo credits: author via Amazon

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Choosing a Continuing Care Retirement Community

One retirement option that is appealing to more and more retirees as they age is the concept of moving into a Continuing Care Retirement Community.   These are a great choice for people who wish to move only once after they retire and stay in the same place for the rest of their life, without the stress of worrying about ever having to move again.

There are approximately 1,900 CCRC's in the United States.  The most popular states for them are Pennsylvania, Ohio, California, Illinois, Florida, Texas, Kansas, Indiana, Iowa and North Carolina.

Cost of Moving to a CCRC

Although they appeal to a large number of retirees, moving to a Continuing Care Retirement Community is not cheap.  Most of them require the residents to make a large upfront deposit that ranges from about $80,000 to $750,000 ... with a average of about $250,000.  In some cases, a portion of the deposit may be refunded to your heirs when you die, depending on how long you lived in the community.  While this may seem like an impossible amount of money for the average person, the majority of residents used the equity they received when they sold their home ... since they had no intention of moving back into a single family residence, again.

In addition, you will be expected to pay a monthly fee that covers your housing, meals and other amenities.  This can range from $1000 to $2700.  Again, while this may seem like a lot of money for some people, remember that it covers your rent, utilities, meals and transportation for the rest of your life.  This expense is affordable for many people who are planning to live off of their Social Security and/or pensions.  Therefore, while expensive, these communities are not as unaffordable as many people may first believe, although some people may need to supplement their Social Security or pensions with money from their retirement savings or other sources.

Types of CCRC's

Your community may be all-inclusive, taking care of nearly all your needs for the rest of your life; or they may be partially inclusive, where certain things are included and others are covered by private insurance; or they may be set up with a fee-for-service structure, where you only pay for what you use.

Continuing Care Retirement Communities vary in how they charge you for medical expenses and nursing care.  Some CCRC's include health-care costs.  In other cases, residents can use their private insurance, Medicare, and long-term care insurance to cover their medical needs and skilled nursing care. It is important to discuss this with management in advance, so you have a clear idea of how this will be handled.

Before you move in, expect the CCRC to evaluate your ability to cover your future anticipated expenses.

What to Expect in a CCRC

These communities are appealing residential communities, not old-fashioned nursing homes.  Residents live in private apartments or cottages.  Depending on the community a resident chooses, they may either have one meal a day or all of their meals served to them restaurant style.

Like other over-55 communities, the typical CCRC will have clubs, activities, entertainment, transportation, classes, swimming pools, shops, hair salons, and fitness facilities.  In addition, many of them have access to caregivers or skilled nursing care, often provided by outside contractors for an additional fee, for those who need it.  These residences also have modern amenities like cable television and Wi-Fi.

While the average age to move into a CCRC is about 80, some people do decide to move in while they are in their 60's and 70's, especially if they have have a chronic condition that makes it more difficult for them to prepare their own meals, drive their own cars, etc.  It is an ideal living situation for many senior citizens who are single, have had a heart attack or stroke, who are losing their eyesight, developing Parkinson's Disease, or have similar infirmities.  Younger adults are frequently delighted that they made this decision when they realize that they are still young enough to fully enjoy the amenities.  Older residents often say they wish they had moved in years before.

How to Find a Continuing Care Retirement Community

One way to search for a CCRC in the area where you want to live is to go to  This is the website of the Commission on Accreditation of Rehabilitation Facilities ... which evaluates and accredits both rehab facilities and retirement communities.

On the website, go to Home - Find a Provider.  Click on Advanced Search. Then enter the State and under Program scroll down until you find Continuing Care Retirement Communities.  When I entered this information for my home state of California, I found 24 CCRCs in my state that were accredited by CARF.  By clicking on the ones in the towns that interested me, I was able to learn more specific information about them.

Once you have a list of CCRCs that interest you, I highly recommend that you look at their individual websites and then go out and pay them a personal visit ... possibly more than once.

In addition to the CARF website, you may also find information on the CCRCs in your state by going on the website for the Department of Social Services in your state.  Their site should explain state regulations for these communities and answer some of your questions.  For example, in California, I learned a lot at, including finding a list of both non-profit and for-profit providers.  The state list was much longer and more comprehensive than the list on the website for, which indicated to me that there are many CCRCs that are not affiliated with CARF.

Moving into a Continuing Care Retirement Community is an appealing choice for many people and one that should be explored by anyone who wants the security of knowing that they have a permanent home for the rest of their life, regardless of changes in their health.

Resources: (from the California Department of Social Services)

"Understanding CCRCs," Where to Retire Magazine, January/February 2014. (website for the Commission on Accreditation of Rehabilitation Facilities)

If you are looking for more retirement information, use the tabs at the top of this page to find links to articles about where to retire in the United States and abroad, financial planning, medical issues, family relationships and more.

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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.

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Thursday, January 24, 2013

Over 55 Retirement Communities by Four Seasons

Are you looking for a well-built, comfortable retirement home in an active adult community?  You may want to consider one of the many Four Seasons age restricted communities built by K. Hovnanian builders for residents who are over age 55.

Where are you interested in living?  You can find developments built by K. Hovnanian in Southern California, Northern Delaware, Southeast Florida, Maryland, Arizona, Georgia, Illinois, North and South Carolina, Ohio, West Virginia, Pennsylvania, Texas, New Jersey, Virginia and in Minnesota near Minneapolis/St. Paul. All of these locations have lovely developments and many of these developments have been specifically designed as Four Seasons age-restricted communities. Other developments are very appealing, but are open to residents of all ages.

The variety of locations makes it possible for people to live on either the East Coast or West Coast, in the Sun Belt or in the Upper Midwest.  Many people will find that they can experience an enjoyable retirement lifestyle while still living within driving distance of their adult children and grandchildren.

Amenities at Four Seasons Over-55 Communities

K. Hovanian Homes offers diverse home styles as well as a variety of locations.  Depending on the community you select, you can choose from a condominium, a townhome or a single family home.  Prices vary widely, as well.  For example, the Four Seasons at Beaumont in Southern California and the Four Seasons at Bakersfield in Central California both have single family homes with prices starting around $200,000.  Home prices may be higher or lower depending on the location that interests you.

I have visited the lovely community in Beaumont.  It is a gated community with a gorgeous lodge that contains a restaurant, pool, movie theater and space for club meetings and other activities.  The community also offers an exercise room, billiards room, ballroom, shuffleboard courts and nature trails where you can take an afternoon stroll.  Although there is no on-site golf course, there are a number of public golf courses in the surrounding area.  While Beaumont is not near the California coast, it is only a little over an hour drive away.

Whichever style of home you prefer, the goal of Four Seasons active adult communities is to provide you with a "resort-at-home" experience.  They offer a variety of recreational activities that are available the year around.  Living in a gated community with other retired adults offers you security, peace-of-mind and an endless variety of opportunities for friendship and socializing.  Many people have found this to be a more desirable lifestyle than living alone in their former neighborhoods.

You can learn more about the different  K. Hovanian communities, both those that are age restricted and those that are not, at

If you are looking for other wonderful places to retire in the United States and abroad, us the tabs at the top of the page to find links to hundreds of other articles.

If you are exploring your retirement home options, you may also be interested in reading some of these articles:

Over 55 Retirement Communities by Del Webb
Sun City Texas is a Premier Retirement Destinations 
Living in an RV after Retirement 
Tellico Village Retirement Community 
Best Places to Retire on $40,000 a Year

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Sunday, January 13, 2013

Over 55 Retirement Communities by Del Webb

If you are looking for a retirement community in the coming years, one over-55 community builder that should be on your list is Del Webb.  This company is one of the top developers of retirement communities in the United States with attractive homes and amenities that appeal to many retirees.  Before my husband and I chose our current retirement community, we looked at some very appealing Del Webb communities.  While we were just looking in the Southern California area, I was surprised to learn that Del Webb builds retirement homes across the United States.  Consequently, I thought my readers would like to know more about what these communities have to offer.

Locations Where You Can Find a Del Webb Retirement Community

Del Webb has retirement communities in Northern California, Southern California, Nevada, Arizona, New Mexico, Colorado, Texas, Missouri, Illinois, Tennessee, Indiana, Michigan, Ohio, Florida, Georgia, South Carolina, North Carolina, Virginia, Maryland, Massachusetts and Connecticut.  As you can see, they are not limited just to the Sun Belt.  They have communities in nearly every region of the United States.

Typical Community Amenities

A typical Del Webb retirement community has a large, beautiful clubhouse, swimming pools, tennis courts, clubs, classes, social events and volunteer opportunities.  Many of them also have golf courses.  These communities are designed to help residents lead an active lifestyle after retirement.

Examples of  Del Webb Retirement Communities

Below you will find information on two retirement communities that were built by Del Webb, with homes built by Pulte, the major home builder that owns Del Webb.  This will give you an idea of prices, sizes and community amenities.

Solera Diamond Valley in Hemet, California

Prices in this community range from about $225,000 to $350,000.  Homes range in size from 1511 to 2340 square feet and have two to three bedrooms and bathrooms.  Community amenities include a fitness center, indoor and outdoor pools, indoor walking track, courts for tennis, bocce ball and pickle ball, hobby rooms, clubs and classes.

Sun City Shadow Hills in Indio, California (near Palm Springs)

Prices in this community range from about $250,000 to $500,000.  The houses range in size from 1321 to 2955 square feet and have two to three bedrooms and bathrooms.  This community has an 18 hole golf course, an 18 hole par 3 golf course, an 18 hole putting course, indoor and outdoor pools, courts for tennis and bocce ball, a library, amphitheater, ballroom, hobby rooms, clubs and classes.
Where to Find More Information
If you believe that you might want to find a Del Webb retirement community in your area, you can get more details at:
If you are looking for more places to retire in the United States or abroad, use the tabs or pull down menu at the top of this article.  They contain links to hundreds of additional articles on where to retire, financial planning, health issues and more.

If you are trying to choose a retirement community that is right for you, you may also be interested in reading:

Over 55 Retirement Communities by Four Seasons
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Sunday, October 21, 2012

Niche Retirement Community for Rock and Roll Musicians

It is very rare for me to include a guest post on this blog.  However, this week a reader named CAD Man on the SodaHead website left a long comment at the end of my blog post on "Finding Niche Retirement Communities."  It was interesting enough that I thought it was worth it to offer it to my readers as a separate post.  Otherwise, very few readers would actually see a comment on a post that was written last spring.

The basis of his idea is the dream of creating a niche retirement community called "Rock Till Ya Drop."  I have included a link to help my interested readers find more information about it at the end of his guest post.

I'm not sure how he would go about buying and developing the land to create this niche retirement community.  When you read his full post, you will discover that he envisions homes, townhomes, condos and apartment houses, as well as restaurants, shops and bars.  It is a complex development. I know that my own brother-in-law, who is also an old rocker, used to spend a lot of time living in his RV at Slab City next to the Salton Sea in the Southern California desert.  There he was able to connect with many other Rock and Roll musicians and spend his winter evenings jamming with them.  However, Slab City is nothing compared to what CAD Man would like to create.

Perhaps one of the developers of niche retirement communities will see CAD Man's concept and decide to build a version of it.  If you think it is a place that sounds like the perfect retirement community for you, you may want to weigh in on it.

Keeping all this in mind, here's a re-print of the first part of the creative concept that CAD Man has for a retirement community that is sure to appeal to a certain niche market of Baby Boomers.  Out of respect for the SodaHead website, if you want to read more you will have to click on the link at the end of the post.  In addition, because CAD Man had reprinted his entire SodaHead post as a comment on my blog, I was forced to delete his comment from the Niche Retirement Community article to avoid accusations of plagerism.  However, I thought it was only fair to give CAD Man's idea a voice here.

The Rock Till Ya Drop Retirement Community

"We've been tossing around (for 6+ years) a concept for a retirement community called the 'Rock Till Ya Drop'

If you don't minding reading, you may find our thoughts interesting... enjoy.

Being a part-time musician and full-time lover of live music, I've been rolling this idea around in my head for the last 5 years and it's time to set it free... Why not band together with other musicians, artists, and anyone who truly loves live music and the arts to build the 'Rock Till Ya Drop' 55+ community (RTYD for short).

Here's the vision...

Build a small community (800-1000 residents) of various types of dwellings (single family homes, town homes, row homes, lofts, commune homes, and rental apartments) around an old-fashioned town square. The square would be built around a multi-purpose performance venue ..."

If you are interested in this niche retirement community, you can read more about it on SodaHead's webpage at:

If you are looking for interesting places to live after retirement, you may also be interested in reading:

Finding Niche Retirement Communities
Retirement Community Amenities
Simplifying Your Life for Retirement
The Best Sunny Places to Retire
Best Places to Retire Outside the US

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Thursday, October 13, 2011

Living on Social Security in the US

Beautiful meadows and charming towns
are available near retirement communities!
Are there places in the United States where a couple can live a middle class lifestyle on their Social Security, alone?  According to U.S. News, there are actually a number of communities scattered throughout this country where couples can afford a home and live comfortably on the average amount of Social Security. 

In order for U.S. News to come up with their list, they based their income assumption on an average Social Security Benefit of $1,179 per retired person in the United States as of March, 2011.  For two people, this comes to a household income of $28,296 a year.  (Since 2011, Social Security benefits have increased by a few percent and the average retiree is actually earning a little over $1,200 per month.  The communities on this list continue to be affordable for those retirees, on an inflation adjusted basis).

The researchers looked for communities in the United States where the median household income was lower than $28,000.  The cost of living in these communities has increased a few percent over the past few years, but so have Social Security benefits. 

Below is their list of towns from coast to coast that would be affordable for the average couple living on Social Security alone.

Where to Retire on Social Security Alone

Auburn, Alabama (median household income of $21,630)
Blacksburg, Virginia (median household income of $26,792)
Boone, North Carolina
Cheney, Washington
Mt. Pleasant, Michigan ($27,621)
Murray, Kentucky ($27,842)
State College, Pennsylvania ($23,800)
Sunland Park, New Mexico ($23,225)
Syracuse, New York ($27,475)
West Lafayette, Indiana ($26,000)

I listed the median household income for these communities, when it was included in the article. Several of these communities are college towns, including charming Blacksburg, Virgina, which is the home of Virginia Tech. They are also dispersed throughout the United States, so it is possible you could find one that is not too far from your friends and other members of your family.  If you expect to be living on the typical amount of Social Security, and you are worried about where you can afford to buy real estate and retire, you may want to do more research on some of these communities and select one that is best for you.

In addition, you may want to read  "Finding the Best Places to Retire", "Cheap Places to Retire", or any of the other articles listed in the archive section in the sidebar, or under Popular Posts at the bottom of the page.

If you are interested in more retirement ideas, use the tabs or pull down menu at the top of this article to find links to hundreds of additional articles.

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(Photo of meadows taken by Author, Deborah-Diane, near Laguna Woods Village, California)