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While many New Year’s resolutions list fitness and health goals, a 2020 goal that may be perfect for your list is retirement planning.

“A financial planner typically asks someone what are their financial goals for the future while a senior living counselor asks what your future health care plans are should you or your spouse need care later in life,” explains Mary Scott Russell, Director of Marketing for East Ridge, a life plan community in Cutler Bay. “We believe educating consumers about their retirement options is a good first step in retirement planning.”

Here are a few tips when retirement planning is on your resolution’s list:

  • If you’re in good health, you don’t have to make a decision quickly. Take the time to compile information, ask questions and make personal one-on-one visits.
  • The internet is a great resource and starting point. Reviewing the community’s websites and requesting brochures and literature should be the first step. Be cautious of consumer sites rather than specific websites of communities because they tend to promote communities they have in their database. Despite promoting they’re here to help, they have ulterior motivation steering you to their recommendations which may be inappropriate for your needs.
  • Learn what type of community is truly suited to your needs and if you are seeking a continuing care community (now called a life plan community) that offers further health care assistance—from assisted living and memory care to short- or long-term rehab.
  • Plan time to meet with a community’s senior living counselor and take advantage of lunch invitations and tours. They are experts in explaining their community and working with people researching their options. They want to help find the best fit and their skills incorporate patience and empathy. No question you may have is unreasonable.
  • Every community has its own personality and sampling their events is a good way to meet residents and see if you feel comfortable. Every community has a monthly activity calendar. See if there are programs that pique your interests. You may want to follow the community on Facebook to read about events and programs.
  • Take advantage of trial-stay opportunities. These give you a chance to spend a few days sampling the lifestyle. East Ridge offers a “Stay and Play” package and offers a one-bedroom residence to try. Guests sample dining and activities over two days. It’s a great opportunity to mingle with residents in a casual setting. Relax by the pool, stroll the grounds, or use the fitness center while picturing yourself living in the community.
  • You may want to enlist the help of an adult child, relative or trusted advisor to meet with the senior living counselor. Having another person can be a great help and a sounding board when it comes to narrowing choices.
  • While you are researching options, it’s a good time to start readying your residence for the next stage of your life. Make decisions about those items filling closets, drawers and cabinets and the garage. It’s good to ask if your children really want your treasures, or these would be more beneficial donated to a worthwhile charity. Professional organizers are available to help you downsize for a fee.
  • While decisions about the next stage of retirement may be difficult, our residents tell us these are cathartic. Everyone always agrees they wish they had relocated sooner. They relish the freedom from home maintenance, grocery shopping and cooking. The comradery of newfound friends is more than they ever imagined.

Best wishes for 2020! We hope East Ridge may be in your future and we welcome you and your family to come and learn more about our community.

East Ridge at Cutler Bay is Miami-Dade County’s only true life care retirement community. The not-for-profit community draws from the neighborhood charm of suburban Cutler Bay and the vibrancy of Miami in a lush tropical setting of 76 acres, located at 19301 S.W. 87th Avenue.  The community offers a continuum of care including independent and assisted living apartment homes in a neighborhood setting, respite and skilled nursing care, and rehabilitation services available within Three Palms Health Center.  For more information or to schedule a tour, please call (305) 256-3564 visit