www.CUNA.org/newsnow (2/16/11) If you're one of the 78 million baby boomers reaching retirement age in the next 17 years, you won't be surprised to find that your generation is changing the retirement landscape (SmartMoney Feb. 4).
Three developments in retirement living deserve investigation:
1) Senior co-housing.
If you like people and want to be part of community decision making, but also love your privacy, check out senior co-housing. The defining characteristic of co-housing is participation. As a resident, you will participate in the neighborhood design of the community, which gives you the ability to own your own home and share common space.
You'll also participate in management, community meals, and decision making. You'll share services such as landscaping and maybe even nursing. You'll pay monthly dues, and meet with your community regularly to decide how to spend the dues money.
One bonus: If you don't require 24/7 on-site health care, these kinds of housing developments are usually less expensive than continuing care facilities.
2) University-based retirement communities (UBRCs). Beaches and golf courses aren't the only attractions that beckon retirees. An increasing number of retirement communities feature a university as the draw. UBRCs are usually located within a mile of a university. A UBRC forms a close tie with the participating university and offers health care at every level. The main attraction is access to college classes and events. Retirees also benefit from student interns who come into the retirement community.
Access to this kind of lifelong health care, continuing education, and interesting ways to socialize can cost a lot, depending on location and amenities.
3) Continuing care retirement communities (CCRCs) without walls. You don't have to leave home to benefit from the services and amenities of a CCRC. Continuing care retirement communities "without walls" are springing up, bringing services to you and you to the services. This works well if you have a lot of money and are not sick.
A more economical model involves paying a monthly fee for CCRC staff to arrange transportation and activities for you. If you want health care, the CCRC staff will coordinate access to certain services, but you pay for the care. If you need a lot of care, or have a lot of trouble moving around, this won't work for you.