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The New Year offers us a fresh slate — an opportunity to reflect on what we have accomplished and what we would like to do in the coming year in order to lead happy, balanced and productive life.

It may be worthwhile to put retirement planning on your New Year’s resolution list.  Here are a few tips:

  • Involving the family is a good start. While some adult children don’t want to acknowledge their parents’ decision to make life changes, others find it a relief when a parent initiates the discussion. The holidays are a good time to start the conversation.
  • It may be helpful to ask your adult children to start researching senior living alternatives on your behalf. They can start sorting through the maze of options that are available.
  • The internet offers a number of websites for retirement communities. Request brochures from communities that catch your eye and get on their email list. You need to differentiate what type of community fits your needs and if you are seeking a continuing care community known as an “entry fee community” or rental community. It gets confusing since many communities call themselves retirement communities.
  • It’s helpful to use a spreadsheet or chart to keep track of the information you gather. You want to compare apples with apples so this chart will be useful. Have a column designated to the costs of maintaining your current living situation. These costs will be important to factor when comparing communities. You may be surprised at how much your current home may actually cost now and into the future.
  • Take advantage of trial-stay opportunities. These give you a chance to spend a few days at a community. You’ll get a real sense of the community and meet residents. For example, East Ridge offers a “Stay and Play” package. You will stay in a one-bedroom residence and sample dining and activities over two days while having an opportunity to talk with residents and management.
  • Every community has a monthly activity calendar. You can try to find programs that meet your interest. You may enjoy working out in the fitness center or attending a lecture or show to also sample the lifestyle.
  • It may be helpful to bring your children or a trusted advisor to meetings with a sales counselor. It’s helpful to have someone who is an impartial listener to be of help.
  • Start readying your home for the next stage of your life. Make decisions about who you would like to give your treasures to now. It is more meaningful to go ahead and gift these items. It’s good to ask if your children really want Aunt Ann’s hand-me-down china. It may be better auctioned or donated.
  • If your garage and/or attic have accumulated years of household stuff, bring in a professional to help divest these areas of this accumulation. This can seem like an overwhelming obstacle. Often, the community can recommend specialists to help.
  • Retirement communities help future residents every day prepare for this new stage of their lives. Take advantage of their trained counselors. This is their business and they are trained to be of help to families.

Best wishes for the New Year.  We hope that East Ridge may be in your future and we’re here to be of help in any way that we can.

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