As a professional who has worked with older adults for the majority of my career, I have likely heard the phrase “I’m not ready yet” 1,000 times. Not ready to move to a retirement community, not ready to leave my home, not ready to change anything about my current living arrangements and the list goes on. I am asked nearly equally as often, “When is the right time to move? At what age should I make the decision?” My experience tells me the answer is almost always, sooner than you think!
Perhaps it is human nature itself that makes us more enthusiastic and even skilled at planning for growth, but hesitant, even resistant to begin the conversation about a downsize. But that same experience has proved time and again, those who embrace the solution of a good plan for retirement living, enjoy retirement itself all the more.
I have often suggested to those with whom I talk to turn the question around. . . Exactly what are you not ready for? Not ready to make your own decisions regarding your future? Not ready to enjoy the peace of mind of a solid plan in place? Not ready to enjoy the many amenities that so many communities offer. . .like gourmet dinners, expertly prepared, freedom from the burden of yard work and housekeeping, social engagement and activity just outside your door? It seems most all are ready for the benefits, it is just the getting there that is tough.
I encourage everyone to imagine their ideal retirement, not in terms of where, but in terms of what. What matters most to you? Those answers usually strike the balance between independence and security. That’s exactly the niche continuing care retirement communities (CCRCs) seek to fill. That environment that allows you to design your own retirement path, while providing the services and safety net for the curveballs aging tends to throw. So, no matter your age, begin today to plan for tomorrow!
Lisa Burkhart, LNHA
Executive Director, Friendship Village Columbus