So you’ve spent the time thinking and decided you’re going to move into the home you’ll live in for the rest of your active, fulfilled life. What’s next? Plan, plan, and plan some more. Experts say that people in your 40s should consider seriously what they want and need later in life.

“Pick a house, condo, or apartment that facilitates services, should you not be able to take care of yourself,” says Linda Roden, owner of Retirement Living Solutions. She sometimes see people in their 70s or 80s who live in fabulous homes they moved into just a few years ago — before they knew they’d need a hip replacement or have a mild stroke.

Many homebuilders are catering to these needs. “Although we don’t market exclusively to seniors, we find that baby boomers on up are ready for a new lifestyle,” says Susan Neff, director of sales and marketing for Jimenez Haid Custom Builders/Liberty Grand Villas.

“The kids are gone. They are tired of mowing grass and shoveling snow. They are looking for more free time as well as making new friends.
“The majority of buyers moving into our communities have sold a larger home and have decided to downsize their contents but upscale their living,” she adds. Jimenez Haid also builds ranch-style homes with plenty of storage on the first floor, which appeals to most people over 50.
But a new home is not the only choice. Some boomers seek senior communities that offer independent living with activity programming, workout rooms and amenities on site. These places offer peace of mind, with residents knowing care is available if needed.

Lifesphere’s Maple Knoll Village in Springdale and The Knolls of Oxford in Oxford are two examples of continuing care. “The communities of LifeSphere have the motto: Live Life,” says Rose Denman, vice president of marketing and development.

Besides living accommodations, the communities offer activity programming and wellness centers, club rooms, gift shops and hair salons.
At Monte Visa in Green Township, owned by Ameritek Custom Homes, senior residents also enjoy a wide range of activities and amenities, according to Terence Sojda, director of sales and marketing. Outdoor pools, indoor racquetball court and a fitness center are among the attractions.
The earlier you begin working on your retirement dreams, the better those can be. “Planning for retirement takes a lot of preparation, but it’s a task many people keep putting off,” says Kathy Liguzinski, CLTC, of Retirement Resource Center Inc. in Covedale. “As we hear over and over, budget and save. The worst thing we can do while trying to plan for retirement is to put ourselves in debt.”
Liguzinski says sensible financial planning for retirement must include realistic expectations. “No matter what path you take, the costs of living still exist,” she notes. “We must include for everyday cost of living expenses such as food, clothing, home, heat, maintenance, utilities, property taxes, insurance, special activities, medical expenses, along with emergencies and the reality of inflation, and maybe outliving our assets.” ■