Just fifty years ago, the first retirement community had not yet been established. Most couples reaching their sixties were comprised of a man, who was ready to retire, and a woman, who had never worked outside of the home. The first retirement community was designed with this existential American couple in mind, but demographics have changed dramatically.

Today, most retirees have worked outside of the home and more and more desire to keep stay active in the workforce even after they retire. They’re much more likely to let go of things to gain peace than hang on tight and hope for the best. All of these changes mean an industry that’s in a constant state of evolution.

Why people retire

A wide variety of motives back the very personal decision to retire, but many retirees leave the workforce because – or at least in part because – they look forward to the luxury of these years of their lives. This can mean a number of things, including:

  • more time with family, friends, and loved ones
  • more time to do the things they love, like travel and socialize
  • a desire to enjoy life more and spend time resting and relaxing

As a matter of fact, 64% of people cite the desire for more enjoyment and leisure time as a reason for their retirement. Among leisurely activities include these most common pastimes: gardening, biking, writing, volunteering, hiking, reading, traveling, and dining out with friends.

Fewer and fewer workers are retiring because it’s the norm or because they’re required to do so either by their employers, their spouse, or their own physical or cognitive limitations. More aging adults are retiring because they seek excitement, adventure, leisure, and perhaps even some time to do something they’ve never done before: focus on themselves.

Limitations in retirement

When your health and finances support the retirement lifestyle you want, it’s important that you choose a community that does as well. Living alone can make doing all the things you hoped to do in these years a challenge; after all, who will feed the pets, care for the yard, water the plants, and keep up the house so you can enjoy your time doing the things you love? Perhaps even more sobering is that these are, in large part, the same limitations that prevented you from the doing the things you loved before you retired.

It’s common for retirees to downsize at home and even cut their living expenses in half simply to allow more room for the lifestyle they’re seeking. This is a different perspective than past generations have taken. In many cases, downsizing was heavy with negative connotations, sadness, and resignation to changing health needs and mobility. Today, downsizing is often seen as letting go of the things that hold you back, allowing you to start enjoying the next phase of your life.

Retirement communities must change, too

Retirement communities that don’t change while the needs of American adults do face risk of becoming obsolete. Blockbuster and Polaroid are prime examples of companies who were once at the top and failed to change with the needs of their consumers; both faced an early end to what could have been a good run for years to come.

So how are retirement communities changing to meet changing needs? Here are a few examples:

  • they’re exploring new design and setup options that allow for living options that make sense today, including options for roommates and boutique-style communities
  • they’re building in opportunities to continually gain new knowledge in topics of interest through continuing education and adult learning
  • they’re developing restaurant-style dining options that can be the perfect solution for flexible, and more social dining options
  • they use technology to promote convenience and limit the need to snail mail and run errands, which can feel burdensome during retirement (it’s also a great way to stay connected with loved ones)
  • they’re considering the need for companionship that many singles and widows express; they’re offering more opportunity for socialization and dating
  • they’re partnering with community organizations to offer part-time work or volunteer opportunities for the retirees who enjoy the flexibility that a “side gig” or alternative work arrangements can offer
  • their on-site wellness programs support both looking and feeling great, and not just recovering from falls or managing arthritis

As retirement communities strive to compete with one another and answer the call of today’s consumer, you’ll find that you have expanded options that meet and even exceed what you envisioned.

Things to consider

Sorting through the retirement communities in your area (or the area in which you hope to live) can be difficult, but doing the legwork to choose the community that will be the best fit long-term is important. Consider these aspects when reviewing potential communities:

  • How does the community cater to your social needs? I.e. is there ample opportunity to meet new friends, spend time together, and engage in conversation even before you know anybody?
  • How does the community support your hobbies? Whatever it is that you loved to do and hoped to spend retirement doing – can you do it here? Is there enough space, lighting, equipment, etc.?
  • How does the community promote physical health and wellness? Is there a full gym on site, personal trainers, physical therapists, fitness classes, etc.? Do dining options cater to your preferences?
  • How does the community empower you to grow personally and spiritually? Are there opportunities to learn and join others in fellowship?

Cambridge Village has worked to provide all of these services and more for its residents. With a state-of-the-art fitness center, Medspa and Salon, full-service Restaurant and Pub, as well as many other amenities, Cambridge Village is connecting its residents with the ability to start a new and exciting phase of their life.

Choosing the right community requires serious consideration, so take your time when evaluating the services, features, and policies offered by those communities. Remember what’s important to you along the way and how a senior living community is more than just a place to live, it’s an opportunity to create the optimal lifestyle you want in your prime years.

Cambridge Village of Wilmington is the area’s premier resort-style retirement community, offering the conveniences and amenities that you’d expect from a luxury independent retirement community. We take a holistic approach to health, treating the whole person and focusing on well­-being in every area: physical, intellectual, emotional, social, and spiritual. Ultimately, we offer a community that makes people feel at home and an environment they can thrive in.

Contact Cambridge Village of Wilmington at (910) 239­-9500 for more information or schedule a tour today.

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