Last winter we spent more time than we planned to in our home base, Escapees Rainbow’s End park in Livingston, Texas. We would’ve much rather been on the road but as we waited for our Wyatt to heal from his butt lump treatment at Texas A&M, we were forced to wait it out in one spot.
As the “young’uns” at Rainbow’s End, it was good to get a glimpse of what life is like for much older RVers who’ve hung up the keys. After meeting these folks I did a lot of thinking about what our life will be like when Jim and I can no longer roam about, which hopefully will be many, many decades from now. Recently, we were asked by a sponsor to write about retirement living so here are more thoughts about “the golden years” and hanging up the keys.
Why Retire in a Community Setting?
The more time we spent at Rainbow’s End, the more time I saw how beneficial it would be to someday many years from now, permanently land somewhere that offers the kind of camaraderie and support that Rainbow’s End and it’s CARE Center provides. It’s weird to even think about “retirement” since I don’t ever really see that happening with us, but I realize that someday Jim and I will get old, and when that time comes we may need the types of services places like that provide.
Retirement communities like CARE seem like a good place to call home in the “old age” phase of life. If you need any kind of medical or physical support, CARE is there for you with services while allowing you to stay in your RV, which is extra cool. CARE is unlike most retirement communities in that there is no set age requirement (most have some sort of age restrictions). However most CARE residents were in the over 70 age bracket and most seemed to have waited until they absolutely needed these types of services. We RVers are stubborn and independent folks!
When we were at Rainbow’s End we learned that when you’re old, settling down into into a retirement community isn’t as unaffordable we thought. In most cases residents actually save money. By living in a place that purchases services, activities and products in bulk for its residents, the cost of living goes down. In addition, if you can live in a community with scheduled group visits to shopping and services, you’ll decrease your dependence on cars, which is another huge, unnecessary expense if your driving ability is limited.
I think one of the greatest benefits of living in a place with other old folks is you have centralized access to activities and services like high speed Internet access, sports, activity centers and health clubs, such as in this retirement community in Wilmington, NC.
Lastly, one of the biggest bonuses of living in a place like Rainbow’s End or Plantation Village is that these facilities provide residents with numerous ways to build friendships and keep social networks alive, versus being a shut-in living alone in a sticks and bricks house in Suburbia USA. And as research has repeatedly proven, old folks who study or explore their interests, engage in physical fitness and build strong friendships and ties to their communities will lead longer, healthier lives.
We don’t plan to think of “getting old” for many decades from now, but until then we hope that communities for retirement aged people get better and better over time so that by the time we need them, they’ll be as beneficial and affordable as ever.