Why City Retirement?
The Baby Boom generation redefined America, and they continue to do so as they reach retirement, demanding a wide variety of lifestyle options.
In keeping with this trend, many of today’s retiring boomers and seniors are opting for city sidewalks over country roads, thanks to an ever-growing list of amenities. Plus, many people find that the pace of city life helps them think younger and maintain their interest in life as they age. So, if you identify with the hit song “You Belong to the City,” then urban retirement may be the right decision for your golden years.
The city retirement choice is expected to become more appealing as we approach the next post-millennium decade, given that the number of Americans over age 50 is expected to triple in the next 10 years, to some 252 million individuals.
That means most major cities will develop large populations of 50+-aged residents, and can be expected to adapt their services accordingly.
|Among the advantages you can expect in the best retirement cities:
Social Opportunities: Research has found that establishing a good social network is critical to a person’s satisfaction with post-retirement life. In fact, it’s more important than either the size of their retirement income or their overall quality of health. People who relocate to the city generally find it easier to develop or expand their circle of friends, through such agencies as community senior centers, hobby clubs, religious institutions, special interest classes, and volunteer networks. This can be particularly helpful in avoiding depression in the wake of a health crisis or the death of a spouse.
Public Transportation. Seniors who live in the country and become unable to drive are dependent upon others for basic transportation. Even if they are physically able to drive, they must be able to afford car payments, auto insurance, repairs and gasoline. All of these expenses obviously can be a major burden for someone living on a fixed income. In contrast, older residents in urban areas have ready access to public transportation, usually at discounted senior citizen rates. If no subway or bus station is nearby, taxi service is readily available, and the fees usually are reasonable. Access to public transportation can be a good way for seniors to remain independent and mobile, without having to impose on family and friends.
Access to Medical Services. It’s not hard to figure out how your odds of surviving a heart attack or stroke improve if you live 15 minutes from the nearest hospital, rather than an hour’s drive into the country. But it’s not just emergency services that are more readily available. As people live longer and medical treatments improve, it’s realistic to assume that most retired couples will be dealing with some sort of medical issue on a longterm basis. Urban living offers the chance to be close to doctors, specialists, pharmacies, physical therapists, rehabilitation centers, pain clinics, home health agencies, support groups and other types of care that you and your spouse are likely to need.
Access to Local Businesses. Seniors who live in downtown lofts, condos or apartments often only need to walk one or two blocks to get their dry cleaning, pick up a loaf of bread, get a newspaper or find other daily living items they need. Even if it’s necessary to travel a bit further, shopping opportunities are plentiful in virtually every urban area. Both smaller and larger cities also contain more discount shopping outlets – a bonus for seniors on a restricted income.
Restaurants. After years of cooking for their families, many seniors prefer the luxury of restaurant dining. Even smaller cities offer a wide variety of dining experiences, many of which are affordable, offer senior citizen discounts and/or deliver food to the customer’s home.
Fitness. Exercise is arguably the single greatest thing seniors can do to improve and maintain their health. Cities are home to gyms, fitness centers, hospital wellness programs and other options tailored to the special fitness needs of older Americans. Those who don’t want to sign up for an organized program can walk in local parks or at an indoor mall during inclement weather.
Continuing Education. Today’s seniors know the importance of exercising their brains, as well as their bodies. Urban living provides access to a wide range of classes, through local universities, museums, city recreation departments, etc. Enrolling in these types of courses can help stave off the depression that some people feel once they stop working full time.
Entertainment. Most people’s post-retirement goals include enjoying all the things they didn’t have time for as parents and working adults. Cities offer access to everything from museums, theater and concerts to sporting events, festivals, zoos and historical sites. And again, virtually all these attractions offer discounted rates to people over age 65.