How to Be Prepared, Smart, and Flexible

November 19, 2015

When speaking with people about retirement living, we hear a lot of reasons why they don't, won't, or couldn't move to a retirement community.  Some of these reasons have to do with the cost of retirement community living.  Some are about the timing of when to move.  So, in this article, we are going to share the three reasons we hear most often and then try to give you another perspective for each.

I'm Not Ready

More than any other reason, Seniors tell us, "I'm not ready to move to a retirement community."  They may say things like, "I'm not ready to leave my house." or "I'm not ready to start over."  But, what they usually mean is, "I'm not ready to give up." 

Seniors (especially Baby Boomer Seniors) often see retirement living as "giving up" because their independence, their individuality, and control of their decision making is the very core of their identity.  What many don't understand is that moving to a retirement community doesn't necessarily mean that they are losing any of the things they value. 

This unfortunate view of retirement communities as "Old Folks Homes" comes from generations that didn't plan for retirement, so they moved when they had to.  Keep in mind that the idea of financed retirement with pensions and Social Security is a relatively new idea.  The World War II generation were the first ones to really experience this kind of retirement, so they didn't have anyone to show them how to prepare for it.  They simply saved everything they could right up to the point when they couldn't and then prayed that they had saved enough.

Today's Seniors claim that they're not ready, because very few of them have seen what "ready" looks like.  Therefore, they confuse "ready" with "have to."  The good news is that you don't have to be that way.

OK, So Be Prepared

It's OK if you're not ready.  You don't have to be.  In fact, don't be.  Instead, be prepared.  Remember that old scout motto?  Now is the perfect time to dust it off and apply its wisdom.

As part of the second generation of organized retirement, you have the blessing of foresight.  You can look ahead and make plans to retire on your terms.  By planning your savings, your investments, and purchasing long-term care insurance, you can remove the guesswork and know that you have enough. 

So, celebrate your "not readiness" by preparing for when you are ready.  Then you can relax and know that the decision will be easier to make when the time comes.

I'm Not Old

The second thing that we hear from Seniors is, "I'm not old."  This statement is usually followed by one like, "And I don't want to go live around a bunch of old people."  Our perception of what is "old" comes from the people that we have watched get old.  And, often times, we mistakingly associate the word "old" with some other, less positive terms.

Old and decrepit are not synonyms.  Neither are old and pitiful or old and helpless.  Just because we may have seen someone choose to age poorly doesn't mean that we need to make the same tragic choice.  Old is simply a measurement of time and time is relentless.  It is the one resource we can spend but not make.  This can leave us feeling a bit intimidated about its progression.

Just remember that your generation may be retiring, but it is still the generation that gave us rockets to outer space, satellites, computers, and cell phones.  For more than half a century the world has changed more rapidly than ever before because of the innovation you have shared.  So innovate when it comes to your retirement.

OK, So Be Smart

With that in mind, it's OK if you're not old.  You don't have to be old along with whatever that means to you.  You can be smart instead.  After all, you've been smart all your life, so why stop now?  If you can send a man to the moon, surely you can figure out how to retire.

First, realize that the time to make decisions about retirement is long before you retire.  If you want to take advantage of all of the most recent advances in modern medicine to prolong your health and vitality in your advanced years, plan and prepare now.  Talk with a financial planner, a lawyer, a retirement counselor, and even your minister.  You can decide now how details will be handled later.  At Hillandale Communities, we talk with people just like you about retirement planning every day.

By making your wishes known now, you'll be making things easier for your children.  They can know exactly how to help you live the way you want.  Then, instead of someone else making your decisions for you, you have a team effort where you make decisions together.

I'm Not Finished

Another statement that we hear often is, "I'm not finished."  This usually comes from a sense of responsibility and connectivity with a person's community.  It could mean, "I'm not finished working."  or "I'm not finished making a difference."  People who enjoy what they do, whether it's paid or volunteer work, sometimes think that they will have to give up these activities if they move to a retirement community, but that simply isn't true.

Again, just because you haven't seen anyone live the way you want to in retirement, doesn't mean it isn't possible.  You may be surprised at how technically advanced these communities have become.  Also, most retirement communities have a variety of living options that include many levels of independence.

The fact is that you never know what's possible until you ask and most retirement communities are willing to make adjustments for the comfort and happiness of their residents.  There's no reason to be finished just because you're retired. 

OK, So Be Flexible

If you don't want to be finished, how about being flexible?  Odds are that you have adapted to hundreds of situations in your lifetime and, if you stop a think about it, this is really no different. 

If you're not finished working, look into what you can do online.  With the advent of the internet and modern computer technology, you can consult within your field of expertise, sell merchandise, publish, and offer services from any location.  You may find that you can enjoy more productivity with the faster internet connections and modern devices you'll find in today's retirement communities.

If you're not finished volunteering, look into living options such as a patio home or an apartment where you can keep your car and your own schedule.  You may also find that there are volunteer opportunities right within your retirement community.  There will always be work for people who desire it.  By exercising a bit of flexibility you may even find more and better opportunities than you currently enjoy.

So, hopefully we were able to offer you some fresh perspective on these common statements.  In the end, retirement is what you make it.  And the sooner you make it, the better it will be.  As always, the kind professionals at Hillandale Communities are here to help you get the most out of your retirement.  Leave a comment below and let us know how you plan to be Prepared, Smart, and Flexible.  Or if you have any questions about designing your retirement, simply contact us today and we will gladly tell you whatever you want to know.

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