Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Active Retirement

I had an interesting kind of week in mid-July when I was invited to go check out apartments suitable for a retiring person who is still active. No, it is not for me but it did give me a lot of food for thought when we went around looking at suites. It is amazing the variety of apartments out there and what they offer or don't offer for seniors. It gave me a whole new perspective on what is up and coming in the future when I look at retiring.

I think one of the most important things I came away with was how isolating being retired could be. Imagine moving to a new city where you only have a few relatives, no job and no car. I can't imagine anything more isolating. You have to somehow meet other people and set up a new life for yourself when everyone around you is already established into their lives and possibly have less time to socialize than you. It therefore becomes important that the place you choose has some sort of club or social area where you can meet other potential friends. These types of buildings are extremely few and far between or they are located in an out of the way locale.

You also have to find a new doctor in an already squeezed system. What with all the shortages of doctors in most locations, getting a doctor is like winning a lottery and almost as unlikely. As we age, most of us will require more doctoring than less, so finding a doctor is paramount.

Location becomes one of the most important factors in choosing an apartment - it has to be within walking distance of the mall so shopping is easier, otherwise you have to take our rather spotty public transit or depend on your relatives who are all working full-time (again spotty but heart-felt transportation). It also needs to be near that spotty public transit system or you are left with paying through the nose for taxis to get around.

You also have to think of the fact that you are getting older and that your living accommodations have to reflect this. Having an elevator in the building is a godsend when you are carrying groceries or if you later require a walker. Stairs can be a major obstacle to someone whose mobility is challenged. Then there is the issue of a suitable washroom with bars and a raised toilet. Unsavoury thought that it is but ask any senior whose mobility is challenged somewhat how far down a regular toilet can seem.

These are all things that are important - I just hope when I do retire and have to leave my home that there will be a nice place out there for me that is close to the mall, has access to transportation, and a good social center to meet friends. What a challenge retiring can be! I am glad I was given the opportunity, once more, to check out the facilities here. I am one step ahead of the game, only about 20 years or so early.

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