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Today's Seniors Are Finding That The Time To Look Into Retirement Centers Is When You Don't Need One

Aug 17, 2007
Increasing longevity can be, and often is, a blessing. It offers extra time for retirees to enjoy the fruits of their labors. Travel and hobbies can be explored after the kids have all flown the coop and early retirement is opted for. Many individuals are in much better shape physically as they enter the "Senior" category--due to better health practices and fitness programs.

The early years of such a life style are often uncomplicated and full of adventure for those interested in creating it. The specter of the years ahead producing a "winding-down" effect may drop by fleetingly and haunt the twilight hours, but most of the time it is set aside, to be dealt with "when the time comes."

Something that is not often noted is that when that time arrives others may have to do the deciding. More often than not, it just isn't easy to face the need to down-size living quarters, seek help with the house and yard or face the fact that other arrangements need to be taken into consideration. The optimal time comes...and goes. Why would someone who is well and active want to think about such things? Who wants to look down the off-putting road that is the beginning of the end?

Practical people! People who want to be in charge of their lives for as long as possible and want to continue to make their own choices and decisions about their future. People who are fine-tuned to their adult children's full schedules and limited free time and want to alleviate pressure. People who respect their kid's opinions but who also want to create and preserve a mutual, reciprocal plan for problem solving.

The very best time to start to address future needs is when they are just that. There are an increasing number of retirement centers in all kinds of locations and in many different sizes and shapes. There is an amazing spread in what they offer and what they cost. Some have religious affiliations, and some have a professional connections. There are retirement centers that are non-profit and those that are for profit. For those who love to volunteer in their own community, the non-profits often have a lot more to offer to enhance the sense of "extended-family." All of them have brochures, tours, and staff to answer questions. And no choice has to be permanent. If it doesn't fit...we can look further. Some are even certified as "continuing care" or "full service" retirement centers with assisted care and nursing home facilities as part of the campus. Way, way down the line that might mean not having to leave a familiar community when you most need support.

When couples or individuals enter into their own search before there is any necessity to hurry the process, it can be a liberating experience. Many have found that so much is being offered that they want to move in and become part of the community while they are still relatively young and active. All retirement communities aren't "fossil farms"! For instance, the Warm Beach Retirement Community in Stanwood, Washington, which is a non-profit, continued care facility, has many residents that move in as soon as they reach the minimum age of 62. It's not uncommon for them to have people there for 20 or 30 years! Some even start out as "snow birds," spending their winters elsewhere.

Many retirees are finding that facing up to the problem reduces it to non-problem status. In most cases their offspring are delighted to honor their parents choice to lead active lives with peers. As a result, the days of "what are we going to do about Mom and Dad," may be, happily, drawing to a close.
About the Author
Luise Volta's life has included careers in nursing, teaching pre-school, interior design, Real Estate sales, insurance adjusting, and dairy herd testing. Visit for Aging with Wisdom.
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