Small Comforts: The Many Advantages of Apartment Living

Written by Sally Perkins

When it comes time to retire, many of us oftentimes think this means finally moving to our dream home. However, while this dream may seem feasible in our minds, it might not make sense financially to sign onto another long-term mortgage payment. Rather, renting an apartment may be the best choice for living out your retirement.

Apartment living not only gives you the opportunity to rent, downsize and save money, but it has a range of advantages for people who have retired. Many retirees will be happy to learn that selling a home and renting will present an opportunity to earn capital that produces an income. Besides being a great option financially, here are some other benefits of choosing a small, comforting space for your retirement:

Let the Maintenance Team Do the Hard Work

With more than two-thirds of Americans leaving the workforce by age 66, retirees are not always of an age that want to be doing yard work and making home repairs. One of the undeniable benefits to renting modern accommodation is that many apartment complexes come with a maintenance team. This eliminates the issue of having to keep up with tedious tasks like raking leaves, mowing the lawn or shoveling snow.

Plus—who really wants to be doing that kind of hard work when you’re retired, anyway? Retirement is a well-deserved time to finally relax and not work. By having a maintenance team on hand any time something in the apartment goes wrong, breaks or needs repair is an extremely convenient feature for retirees, as it greatly reduces any anxiety over performing these tasks on one’s own.

Plenty of Privacy with Company Nearby

Another bonus of apartment living during your retirement years is the small comforts and privacy that come with downsizing. With less space to fill with your things and fewer rooms to clean, you will be more appreciative of the things you value and cherish most. Since we all crave privacy, this is a great option, as it offers the chance to put your personal touches on a smaller space.

At the same time, living in an apartment complex gives you plenty of new neighbors. By living in close proximity to other people who are a similar stage in life as you, you can easily seek out new social activities and meet new friends. Especially in complexes that are only for retirement-age individuals or couples, there will be many opportunities to interact with your other neighbors, which is important to avoid feelings of isolation.

In addition to the handy maintenance team and added privacy of apartment living, retirees have the chance to make friends with like-minded people and enjoy all of the comforts of downsizing to a rented space.

Retirement Blues

According to life’s great book of rules, retirement should be the satisfying, well-deserved culmination of a life spent in preparation for just this moment. Away from the stresses of the working world, able to pursue interests that are actually interesting, free to spend time as you want – darn close to the definition of the perfect scenario. How could anyone find they are anything but happy to be retired?

Be careful what you wish for…

What if you discover you are not entirely ready to retire? What if you are unprepared to fill your free hours with worthwhile, meaningful and fun things? Perhaps worst of all what if you become bored? The thought of twenty or thirty more years spent pursuing the same dismal course can bring on those retirement blues big time.

I enjoy being retired. But the beginning of my second act was anything but enjoyable. Having lost my job at the tender age of 53 no one was more surprised than me to find I was no longer hirable. Apparently 30 years of experience was no longer valued in the fast moving technology start-up rocket-to-the-moon companies I had been happily engaged with to this point. Upon finding myself “on the streets” I struggled for more than a year to find some fit, enduring multiple pulse-quickening sweaty-pit-inducing interviews but found no takers.

At first I was confused. To this point I had moved seamlessly from company to company with very little time between jobs. Someone always wanted me on their team. I thought I still had “it” but apparently that was not the case. What had changed so drastically?

I questioned my own worth. Was it something about me? Had I lost my mojo, was I no longer good enough? In the end I fear I was just too old to fit the bill with the twenty-something CEOs driving those enterprises onward. My original plans had been to work to close to age 62. Forced retirement could put a major crimp in the financial position I had hoped to be in before my exit. Not the best way to start a retirement life.

What if you find as you enter your “golden years” you are not physically or mentally up to launching a new life chapter? Many retirement age folks have worked long and hard along the way. Some may just be worn out. Now that you finally have the time to do all you dream of you just don’t have the energy. Talk about grounds for a serious case of the retirement blues.

What if you find yourself living your retirement dream solo? Probably not exactly the dream you envisioned but sometimes reality just the same. All those adventures you planned with your significant other, those spur-of-the-moment escapes, those travels to previously unvisited destinations, those peaceful times spent side-by-side reading or just enjoying being together – without someone to share the moment a piece of the magic is missing.

What if retirement is just not what you expected? You may be free to do what you want but do you know what that might be? Will an empty calendar be a good thing or not? You may have hobbies but are they enough to entertain you for ten or twenty or more years?

Before you let those retirement blues get the best of you take a moment to remember what you have dealt with and survived to arrive at this stage of your life. Each of us has faced challenges. If you have raised a family you have weathered storms the likes of which only fellow parents can imagine. You have withstood everything from teething to tantrums, sleepless nights to dance recital jitters, teen angst to bewildered young adults struggling to grow up, and on and on. You have to be pretty tough to get through all this with all your marbles (or at least most of them).

Many have weathered careers that were a far cry from what we imagined when we began. Not all bosses are a joy to work with. Not all deadlines are reasonable. Not all who should be promoted are in fact promoted. Sticking with it is no easy chore and yet you prevailed.

Retirees are survivors. Don’t sell yourself short. Call upon those super hero strengths you developed along the way.

I try not to worry about things out of my control. Too often I imagine all the bad outcomes that could be and then when the moment arrives it turns out not nearly as awful as I imagined. Unfortunately I cannot take back those worrisome moments spent in anticipation of something that ultimately never was. I am learning it is better to go with the flow rather than try to prepare for every possibility.

Coping with the blues is part of the human experience. Retirement blues is just another track on the same record. We have done it before and with a little luck and determination we should be able to do it again.

Happy Retirement!

Five Ways to Encourage Seniors to Stay Social

Written by Nurse Susan

Regular social interaction is essential for seniors, especially those who are living alone and face an increased risk of developing depression.

However, even if they know about the benefits that come with socializing, many seniors feel unmotivated to seek out social engagements, or they feel that they have physical limitations that are holding them back. They may also simply not know how to go about finding opportunities socialize with their peers.

This is where you come in. If you’re worried that a parent or loved one is spending too much time alone, it’s important for you to take some initiative and help them combat social isolation. If you’re feeling a bit lost, start with these five tips:

  1. Help Them Find Transportation

Whether they no longer own a car or suffer from a medical condition that leaves them unable to drive, many seniors end up isolated because they lack transportation.

If this is an issue for the senior in your life, coordinate with other family and friends to arrange regular rides for them.

You might also want to check with your local senior center to see if they offer any kind of shuttle to help seniors run errands or get to community events. Some cities even give seniors free or discounted bus passes.

  1. Provide Them With Adaptive Technologies

Some seniors are also hesitant to go out and socialize because they worry about mobility limitations or hearing deficits.

Making sure your parent or loved one has the proper adaptive tools at their disposal may help them feel more confident going out and spending time with their peers.

Some tools that can make a big difference in the experience seniors have out in public include:

  • Hearing aids
  • Telecoils for busy places like movie theaters and churches
  • Walkers
  • Wheelchairs

Some seniors may be hesitant to use these devices, either because they’re embarrassed about needing extra help or because they think they’re too expensive. It may take a little coaxing at first, so remember to be patient as you talk up the benefits of adaptive technologies.

  1. Address Any Incontinence Issues Ahead of Time

Incontinence is a major issue for the majority of seniors. In fact, urinary incontinence affects more than half of non-institutionalized women over the age of 65 and more than one-fourth of non-institutionalized men.

If the senior in your life struggles with incontinence, they may feel less inclined to leave the house, even for short periods of time. To help assuage their fears, make sure you have incontinence supplies like portable toilets and wipes on hand before going out.

  1. Don’t Ambush Them

When it comes to encouraging seniors to get out and socialize more, it’s important to avoid ambushing them with surprise, last-minute outings. These events will most likely end up increasing their anxiety and may even anger them, especially if they feel like you’re not respecting their wishes.

If you have a particular event that you want to your parent or loved one to attend, be sure to let them know about it ahead of time and continue to remind them leading up the event.

It can also be helpful to contact the person planning the event and let them know about any accommodations your parent may need.

  1. Start Small

If it’s been a while since your parent or loved one has gone out and socialized, they may become overwhelmed very easily.

To make the event more enjoyable for them, be sure to plan it around their current schedule and avoid keeping them out for more than couple hours at a time.

Planning events earlier in the day can also be beneficial, especially for seniors who are starting to struggle with memory loss or dementia, as they often begin to feel confused in the evening (this is known as sundowning).

Don’t let the seniors in your life become isolated, especially if they’re struggling with an illness, the death of a spouse, or another major life change.

Keep these tips in mind as you encourage them to continue to get out and interact with other people, and remember to always be patient when encouraging your loved ones to break their routine or try something new.