For many new and soon-to-be retirees, this period marks the first time in decades when your options are nearly unlimited. Without being tied to a particular job or geographic location, you’re free to broaden your horizons and enjoy the travel and leisure activities you may not have had time for during your working years.
But this freedom can sometimes come at a cost. If you don’t have a plan or some specific goals for your retirement, you may find yourself floundering. Losing the social connections you get from going to work each day and the mental boost from taking pride in a job well done, can be an unexpected blow. Without some tangible ways to direct your energy and efforts, retirement may be a much tougher adjustment than you expected. Read on for some of the ways you can enhance your health— and happiness— in retirement by joining an established community.
Avoid Isolating Yourself
Even if you’ve always considered yourself an introvert and are thrilled at the thought of only having to interact with members of the public when you want to, isolating yourself in retirement can pose some serious risks to your physical and mental health. Seniors who don’t have some sort of regular social connection, whether monthly book club lunches or weekly game nights, could find themselves at risk of early dementia, an increased risk of falls, and a higher chance for hospital readmission after an illness or injury.
The AARP Foundation’s Connect2Affect has compared the health risks of prolonged isolation to smoking nearly a pack of cigarettes a day. Unfortunately, 46 percent of women age 75 and older live alone, while 40 percent of men and women over the age of 85 live by themselves. Living alone doesn’t necessarily always mean social isolation, but when combined with other factors, like mobility problems and limited transportation options, it can be challenging for seniors to get involved in their communities and develop the important connections they need to stay healthy.
Community living in retirement can combat many of these risks. By living close to other members of your generation who share some common interests and experiences, you’ll be able to forge friendships and enjoy social interactions with others whenever you choose. And with on-site medical care, including emergency care, the other health risks of social isolation (like an increased risk of falling) are also minimized. Many seniors affirm that selling their house and moving into a retirement community was one of the best decisions they’ve made.
Find New Activities
When you’ve spent decades focusing almost exclusively on work, household duties, and raising your family, it can often be tough to thoroughly develop the interests and activities you’ll focus on in retirement. And if you’re like many, your commitment to physical fitness may have fallen by the wayside while juggling other obligations. Retirement can give you a fresh slate to explore new activities and refocus on your health.
If you choose to move to a retirement community, you’ll have on-site access to a heated indoor pool, a wide range of cardio and strength training equipment, and both group exercise classes and individual personal training sessions. For those who’d rather commune with nature than hit the gym, outdoor walking paths can provide a welcome diversion.
Meanwhile, those who would rather focus on less physical activities will be able to interact with fellow community members from all walks of life, with a wide range of interests and experiences, and whose stories and skills can provide a rich backdrop for the next chapter of one’s life.
Financially Optimize Your Retirement Years
Retiring can be tough on one’s wallet, even for the well-prepared. Whether you’ve been a savvy investor throughout your working years or got a late start on your retirement savings, it’s important to be mindful of your retirement costs.
For many homeowners, this can mean decluttering and making plans for your next phase, which may or may not include home ownership. After all, when a new roof or new HVAC system can easily take a five-figure bite out of your savings, it can often make sense to sell your home and downsize to something that’s more manageable. Even if your home was brand-new when you bought it, the fairly limited lifespans of many home components can mean you’ll be facing a stream of expensive repairs for the next several decades.
Community living can often hold the answer to many seniors’ financial questions. By essentially eliminating your home maintenance budget in lieu of one streamlined payment, you’ll be able to say goodbye to worrying about how you’re going to afford a large repair bill or where you’re going to find someone to cut and treat your lawn this summer.
In addition, retirement communities can offer 24/7 emergency care, and connections to nearby doctors, hospitals, and specialists, giving you a one-stop shop for all your healthcare needs. No longer will you need to depend on family members to transport you to doctors appointments or pay for a taxi or Uber when you need a ride.
Although retirement can be a big adjustment for anyone, it also marks the beginning of the rest of your life. Take this opportunity to expand your horizons and connect with a diverse group of fellow community residents. Schedule a tour today and see what Cambridge Village of Apex can offer you!