Every spring millions of homeowner experience  the annual ritual of getting their home ready for summer.

For me, it starts with power washing the patio and pool decks, setting up the outside furniture and getting the pool ready for the season. And every year, as I pick up the paint brush, fire up the power washer and prep the pool, I wonder if there isn’t an easier way.  Although I enjoy having everything in tip top shape and having a nice place for family to visit, my motivation for home repair and maintenance isn’t what it used to be. And frankly, I’m not convinced that I will get more motivated as I continue to age.

We American’s are an aging population. I did a little research and in Santa Clara County we have over 40,000 home owners that are 80 years of age and older. I wonder how many really enjoy the maintenance aspect of homeownership versus the many options that are available. I think many resist the unknown and silently fear the stereotype ‘old folk’s home’ that we’ve heard of.

With that in mind, our staff has visited numerous retirement or age restricted  communities in the last few months,  just to get an idea of what is available for us all as we age. Here is what we found:

The first option is Independent living. This can be condos, townhouses, smaller single family homes and apartments. The focus is on lifestyle and convenience allowing owners to maximize activities and minimize maintenance. One of my favorite developments is the Villages in San Jose. With over 260 social clubs, 24 hour security, 18 hole golf course, bocce, tennis, pools and more, there is always something for residents to do. Last year, we assisted a couple in their late 50’s purchase a home in the Villages. The husband told me that they have made more friends in the last 6 months then they made in 30 years in their previous neighborhood.  Isn’t enjoying friends and family better than working on the home?

In developments like this, Del Webb, or Sun City, you own your home and can take advantage of as many activities as you wish.

Your second option is independent Living apartments. We have toured a number of these communities and many are like living in a luxury resort. You have your own private apartment, with your own furnishings, plus the added benefit of an all-inclusive lifestyle. All meals are included, lots of activities, excursions and the freedom to come and go as you wish. This is truly zero maintenance because they also provide weekly housekeeping and laundry service.

The third option is Assisted Living- In Assisted living, you still have a private apartment with your own furnishings, and the benefit of an on-site staff, complete meal service, activities and outings. The added benefit is access to nurses and daily living assistance. Some homes offer more extensive medical and personal services.

The fourth option is Alzheimer’s and dementia care. These facilities specialize in caring for patients with dementia and Alzheimer’s and offer programs that address resident’s needs and provide an environment where then can live safely. They typically include personal care, such as bathing, dressing and administering medicine, along with dining, housing and housekeeping.

There are some Communities which offer all three levels of service. A person can begin in an Independent living arrangement, add the assisted living element when needed, and move to memory care if that need arises.

Weighing your options- Choosing the appropriate home is challenging not only because it entails and emotional dimension, but also because of the complex issues you need to weigh. They might include cost, location, services, amenities, activities and your current and future care needs.

I have been impressed by the communities we’re visited. The level of care, respect and consideration for the residents in the apartment homes has been amazing.  When you add world class facilities, beautiful gardens, daily outings and a great community of people, it sure beats painting the garage.

With all the options and a great selection of beautiful facilities, there is no need to struggle with this decision. Tour the various communities; discuss your options with your family and trusted advisors, and make the best decision possible for your future. I know for me, that power washer is looking less appealing every day.

 

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