Not every older person automatically has to go to a nursing home or other assisted living facility. We now live in the age of independent living for senior citizens, of retirement homes for people older than 55. They can be quite different from what most people expect when they hear the phrase “retirement home”; older people live and play in these great 55+ communities, which to the untrained eye don't seem much different than a high-quality resort! If you or a loved one are considering moving into a retirement home, you may be asking yourself, “Where are some retirement homes near me?”
You may also be wondering about the differences between retirement homes, nursing homes, assisted living facilities, and all the various terms for different types of senior living accommodations. In this post, we hope to shed some light on these differences, which are important to know so you can make the best choice. In addition, we'll help you answer your question of “how do I find retirement homes near me?”
Nursing Homes vs. Retirement Homes
Firstly, let's look at the difference between nursing homes and retirement homes. The term “retirement home” generally refers to these independent living communities mentioned in the paragraph above. That is, unlike nursing homes, older people are free to come and go, doing what they want – they aren't being constantly monitored by staff, and can just go have some fun in the pool, drive to the beach, or hit the golf course. 55+ communities are often sets of apartments (but sometimes condominiums, cottages, or single-family homes) where older people can interact with each other and just enjoy their golden years.
Retirement homes are for older people who do not require constant assistance or medical attention. If a senior citizen does require either of these, then they should consider retiring into a nursing home or a skilled nursing facility, depending on the degree of care necessary. These are “assisted living” facilities, in contrast to “independent living” facilities.
This is the key difference between nursing homes and retirement homes, although it's easy to mix them up due to the fact that both involve senior living and sometimes people use the terms interchangeably: nursing homes cater to frail older people who may need help getting dressed, going to the bathroom, eating, and the like. People with Alzheimer's disease or Parkinson's disease, or any other severe issues related to aging, may have to live in assisted living facilities, specifically skilled nursing facilities. Retirement homes, on the other hand, are all about independence, hence the common phrase “independent living.” Though the staff of retirement homes may keep a close eye on the residents, just to make sure everything's okay (they'd want to ensure the person gets to the hospital if there's an accident or emergency, for instance), the people who live in retirement homes are free to go about their business and more or less do whatever they want.
If you or your parents are getting older, and you're considering the possibility of a retirement home, you'll want to ask yourself a few questions first. Do you or the person in question require constant supervision, or help with things like eating meals, bathing, etc.? If that's the case, then you should be looking into nursing homes instead of retirement homes. If you or the person in question suffers from acute dementia or Alzheimer's disease, then retirement homes are not the ideal option. Ultimately, if you or the retiree can't live independently, then independent living simply isn't for you – assisted living would be the best option in that case.
Benefits of Independent Living
The benefits of independent living complexes, sometimes also referred to as “55+ communities,” are many. The most obvious one, of course, is that senior citizens get to retain their independence. They don't have to live in a nursing home under the watchful eyes of staff, nurses, or doctors. Of course all those people would genuinely want to help you, but having independence and freedom to do what you want is priceless. Another benefit of retirement homes is the community. Of course, you don't have to join in the activities of the retirement home if you don't want to, but many of the independent living communities offer a plethora of enjoyable group activities and amenities to their residents.
You may find yourself doing morning Tai Chi every day (which is great for keeping older bones and muscles from becoming inflexible, by the way)! The fact is that in a 55+ community you will meet many people in a similar situation to yourself, in a similar place in their lives. There will certainly be much to talk about and reminisce on. Finally, a third benefit is that you won't have to worry about maintaining your own house anymore. That's certainly a relief for many of the people living in retirement homes. Despite not having your own house, you retain all of the independence that would come with it. There are plenty of other benefits, but moving along we'll finally answer the question of “How do I find good retirement homes near me?”
“How do I find retirement homes near me?”
To find a retirement home near you, you should first ask people you know if they have any recommendations. Perhaps their parents moved into a certain 55+ community and love it. Ask yourself or your loved one what amenities are most necessary. In what region do you or they want to live? Perhaps down by the beach?
Consider all of your options before making a final decision, and make sure to visit each independent living community and maybe interview a handful of the residents as to their quality of life. Consider if you or your loved one needs to be close to a hospital, in which case you'll narrow down your options a bit. Take your time – it's a big decision! But we're sure you'll find a great retirement home near you that meets your needs perfectly.
Armed Forces Retirement Homes for Veterans
As an addendum, we'd like to mention the special retirement homes available for some of our veterans. For individuals who served in the US Armed Forces (all branches), there is also the option of staying in an Armed Forces retirement home. These are run by the executive branch the federal government, and provide all of the amenities you would find in a “normal” retirement home, plus some you wouldn't like physical therapy and other forms of specialized medical care. In addition, you'll get to enjoy your golden years in the company of some fellow servicemen and servicewomen.
To qualify, individuals must meet one of the following terms: they have served among the Armed Forces for more than 20 years and been honorably discharged; they are incapable of earning a living due to a disability acquired as a result of their service ; they served in a theater during a declared war or qualified for hostile fire pay; or they served in a women's division of the Armed Forces before June 12, 1948.