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February 26, 2010

Looking Forward To The Future

Yesterday I attended a sales presentation for a retirement village. I’m a long way from retirement yet, but I thought it would be interesting to explore the local retirement village at closer quarters. I’m always ready to do something in the name of research because I never know when it will come in handy for a story. Oh, and did I mention there was a free lunch involved? That was the tipping point since I didn’t have anything better to do.

Like many people I’ve heard horror stories about the way these places work, but hubby and I often see the residents out walking and the grounds look beautiful – what we can see of them.

Let me start by saying that not all retirement villages are created equal. Some go bankrupt because of poor management while others have bad reputations. Some retirement villages include rest homes and hospitals. This one doesn’t, instead catering to those who are fairly independent. Buying into a village like this is not a monetary investment. Residents purchase a right to occupy a property. If they die or require the use of a rest home, their families receive 75% of their purchase price back. The other 25% of the purchase price gets written off over five years. If a resident leaves within five years they get a portion of this 25% back as well, worked out on a daily basis. Once a resident dies, the property passes back to village ownership and is resold.

In return for their money the resident receives security and companionship. They have a say in the running of the village via a representative council and can join in one of the thirty-three activities on offer or they can do their own thing. This particular village has a bus so those who don’t enjoy driving or can’t doesn’t need to depend on friends or family to take them out. There is 24 hour medical care available from a nurse in the case of an emergency. Family and friends are welcome to visit and use the amenities, and they also have a motel room that can be booked for visitors. The amenities include a gym, a heated swimming pool, a bowling green, a restaurant, a library and a bar. The village has an active social club that runs the bar and has happy hour several times a week.

Evidently the bar and happy hour is well attended, but the manager of the club laughingly joked they had a problem with drinking and driving. But, he commented, that was better than the problem of prostitutes some of the other villages experienced. I had to laugh at that. Erotic romance writer that I am, my mind went all sorts of places.

The village management are responsible for building insurance and maintenance, all property rates (taxes) plus water rates. Residents remain responsible for power, telephone and personal contents insurance.

I inspected several of the housing options, which range from apartments to two and three bedroom units. Most of them have beautiful gardens and decent sized outdoor areas. There are gardeners and grounds people to take care of lawns etc, but residents are welcome to do their own gardens. I ride past several of the tidy vegetable plots when I go for my daily bike ride.

I left after lunch and two glasses of red wine (that magically refilled when I wasn’t looking!) with a very favourable opinion of this style of retirement. While it’s not an investment opportunity, a village like this has much to offer a healthy and independent retiree. I’ll definitely be checking it out again once I near retirement age.

I know retirement is probably a long way off for most of you, but do you have any idea of how you would like to spend your golden years?


  1. Mary

    My Mother In Law is in a Retirement place that has 24 hour medical staff available, dining room where all the meals are held unless you’d rather have your meals brought to you at your room. They have all sorts of things for the people to do during the day and the palce is surrounded by lush plants, flowers so it’s really pretty.

    I don’t know what I would want when I get old enough to retire. My mom told us kids that she expects to live with one of us when she gets too old to live by herself. She told us that if we put her in a ‘place’ she’ll be mad.

    So I fully expect that I’ll be in a mental hospital by the time I’m retirement age because my family will have driven me insane. LOL

  2. Cari Quinn

    LOL @ Mary…let’s hope she’s not in a mental hospital!

    I think la Nora says it best…paraphrased, she wants to die at her keyboard after having amazing sex. Sounds like a good plan!

  3. Maria D.

    I haven’t really given it much thought but I guess that I want to be independent as long as possible and the retirement home/community you visited sounds pretty good to me.

  4. Maria Zannini

    Our plan was always to buy a place in the country and homestead. I ‘retired’ first and it’s my job to get this place in shape by the time hubby follows me in the next year or so.

    There may come a time that I’ll need a retirement home–but they’ll have to catch me first. :grin: I don’t want to live under someone else’s roof.

  5. Amy W.

    Long way off, I know. We have a retirement community not much different from the one you described near where my parents live. Mom even teaches the water aerobics class there once a week. I always thought I’d end up there since it’s been there forever, but now that I’m 3000 miles away who knows. And hopefully I have another 20-30 years until I have to think about it. LOL!

  6. Shelley Munro

    LOL Mary – hopefully it won’t be that bad. Hubby and I don’t have any children to inflict ourselves on. We’re hoping to be old and doddery together and manage a little travel.

  7. Shelley Munro

    Cari – that’s the great thing about writing. You can do it at any age. Hubby and I were talking about that this week. I think anything that keeps your mind active is a good thing.

  8. Shelley Munro

    Maria – it’s not something you think of when you’re young and nor should you. I liked the retirement home because it didn’t really look much different from the street where we currently live.

  9. Shelley Munro

    Maria Z – my father turned 80 last week and has been on the land his entire life. He’s still going strong and would put most people half his age to shame. He had a bad break in his leg about 4 years ago when a bull gored him, but determination has him back at work, albeit with a limp now. He really is amazing.

  10. Shelley Munro

    Nessa – you’re ready to move today?

    Amy W – I’ve been thinking about retirement because of my visit, but we both have parents in their 80s. We’re lucky because they’re both fiercely independent and in relatively good health. I think that’s all any of us hope for.

  11. Debra Kayn

    I’ll be sitting on my rocker on my porch somewhere gorgeous being bored silly and loving every minute of it. :lol:

    My Grandma lived in a retirement village. Each person or couple had their own bungalow type apartment. She traveled the world with the other retirees and had the time of her life. For her, she loved it. She was a very social person and liked the companionships of a tight knit community.

  12. Shelley Munro

    Debra – rocking chairs are very comfy and great places to watch the world go past.
    I think retirement villages like this are especially good for single retirees.

  13. Mary

    LOL…ok well maybe I exaggerated a bit. :P

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