Exploring Residential Developments and Retirement Communities

In-person visits are essential when selecting a retirement community. Take the time to check out the apartment floor plans and interact with staff. Attend a few community activities and stick around for a meal.

CCRCs and senior apartments offer social spaces prioritizing resident preferences and interests. However, both spaces have observed cliques and may contribute to residents’ satisfaction with their social environment.

Location

A retirement community is typically a housing complex restricted to adults over 55 or 62. These communities may include single-family homes, condos, townhouses, or apartment living. Starting a new chapter in an active adult community is an excellent option for downsizing and connecting with like-minded neighbors.

Shifting demographics have forced retirement communities to expand their range of rates and services, resulting in a more diverse mix of options. Some have even added on-site healthcare clinics and physician visits to meet the needs of seniors.

When visiting a prospective retirement community, ask about their happiness index. This can be challenging to measure, but knowing how happy their residents are is essential. It can strongly indicate how well the community will fit your needs. Visit with current residents and connect with their stories.

Amenities

Many retirement communities, like Your Home Wichita, provide a wide array of top amenities to give residents the convenience and luxury of choice. Some include spaces that foster creativity and growth and socialization and wellness opportunities.

Creative Spaces

Many seniors look forward to taking up their favorite hobby full-time or learning something new in retirement. Leading independent living communities have amenities that accommodate these interests, including art studios, music rooms, and workshops. They also connect to nearby colleges for ongoing academic classes and cultural events.

As you tour potential retirement communities, look for these amenities and services in the housing units. See how easy it is to navigate with a cane or wheelchair and whether the kitchens can easily accommodate adaptive appliances. Also, observe the overall cleanliness of the property. Ask about community activities and make sure to attend a few of them. This will help you get a sense of the community and its personality.

Transportation

When visiting a retirement community, look for how easy it would be to access your favorite activities outside the facility. Is the location close to restaurants, museums, and shopping? Are there public transportation options? How about the distance to your physician’s office?

Specialized housing complexes for older Americans have been around for decades. However, shifting demographics force developers to diversify more rapidly across rates and services. These changes are resulting in a wide range of new housing-with-care solutions, including senior apartments, family care residences, and co-housing projects, as well as multiservice blocks or intergenerational service blocks (Jolanki and Kroger, Reference Jolanki, Hakli, Vilkko and Vahakyla2015; Pirinen, Reference Pirinen2016). While some research has been conducted about these new models, more attention should be paid to the contextually varying spatial, legal, and political processes through which they are initiated. Moreover, concrete legislative incentives to advance age-friendly living environments must be included or more specific. This gap is worthy of further exploration.

Socialization

Many seniors entering retirement look forward to the chance to pursue their hobbies full-time or learn new skills. To support this pursuit, leading independent living communities include spaces that enable residents to explore their creative passions through art studios and classes, workshops, and on-site theaters.

While the research literature on retirement villages and similar intermediate housing-with-care solutions is extensive, it focuses less on how these senior living environments are initially constituted, especially in novel national and local contexts. To examine this question, I apply a spatial-legal approach to study the complex legal possibilities and barriers to developing retirement villages in Finland.

The findings show that senior housing environments are characterized by the formation of social cliques, which are related to structural and interpersonal factors such as the common areas of the buildings, friendships established before relocation, efforts by staff to encourage inclusion, and the existence of a culture of unwritten social rules. Despite cliques, residents did not report dissatisfaction with their social environment.

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