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You’re ready to embrace your retirement full-force and live the life you’ve been dreaming about. One thing’s holding you back, though: your house. That big, five-bedroom home is turning into a big, five-bedroom headache. Too many rooms to clean, too much upkeep to do, too much … well … everything. Not surprisingly, your thoughts have been turning to downsizing to a smaller, more manageable place, which begs the question: should you buy? Or, perhaps, should you rent?

“The idea of renting a place to live, after many years of homeownership, can seem pretty strange to a lot of seniors,” says Mary Scott Russell, Director of Community Relations of East Ridge at Cutler Bay, Miami-Dade County’s only true Life Plan Community. “However, renting can be very attractive to today’s senior, because home ownership can be costly and exhausting.”

Your decision, says Mary Scott, should be based on a variety of issues, including cash-flow needs as well as emotional issues. “For example, is it more important for you to own your own place and do whatever you want with it? Or is it more important for you to no longer have to worry about things like a broken sump pump or water heater?”

“At East Ridge at Cutler Bay, we offer the best of both worlds. As a Life Plan Community our residents can purchase a home here, providing a predictable monthly fee along with the peace of mind that their health needs will always be met, no matter how they may change. But we also offer a rental contract option for residents who want to ‘try before they buy.’ It’s an excellent opportunity for seniors to experience the lifestyle here before making a huge commitment.”

“Both our rental and Life Plan residents enjoy a lifestyle that’s maintenance-free and a community designed with the needs of aging seniors in mind. You won’t have to worry about renovating your home in order to stay safe. We also provide meals, activities, events and a whole community of peers who are excited and interested in enjoying retirement … just like you.”

The Benefits of Renting

Renting is a great option if you’re not sure where you want to spend “the rest of your life” yet. Renting a home (or apartment) at a senior living community gives you freedom and flexibility so that, if you decide in a few years that you want to move to a place closer to family, you have that option.

Even if you know where you want to live forever, renting can free up your cash flow in a big way. Renting allows you to save your money and lower your expenses. After years of paying home insurance, taxes and maintenance, the idea of one monthly payment can seem downright blissful. Plus, you free up a large chunk of your cash flow and net worth that can be invested in other ways. Experts call this “opportunity cost,” but it can also be called “peace of mind.”

The Benefits of Life Plan

Buying a home at a community like East Ridge at Cutler Bay provides a lifetime of stability and security. Residents pay an entrance fee, which secures their residence and gives priority access to a full continuum of care, if it’s ever needed. For seniors who know that this is where they want to spend their golden years, it’s great peace of mind.

Unlike buying a traditional home, buying at East Ridge at Cutler Bay means ownership and a maintenance-free lifestyle. You don’t have to mow the lawn, fix the roof or even do laundry – we take care of everything for you. You also don’t have to adapt your home to meet your needs as you get older. Everything has already been designed with seniors in mind, from grab bars to one-level residences to easy-to-navigate hallways.

Unlike renting, “buying” into East Ridge at Cutler Bay means that you will always have a home here, even if you are unable to pay the monthly cost through no fault of your own. As a not-for-profit organization, we have funds available to help residents who may need financial assistance, so they never have to leave “home” again.

The Benefits of Senior Living Communities

No matter what option you choose – renting or buying – seniors need to consider how their needs may shift as they age. “These days, when seniors start considering downsizing in retirement, they are still relatively young and healthy,” says Mary Scott. “They may not start thinking about aging-related needs until they actually start having issues, by which point you have to make a hard decision.”

Instead, says Mary Scott, moving to a senior living community is a great option. “Many communities these days offer a wide variety of living options, from independent living all the way to memory support and skilled nursing,” she says. “East Ridge at Cutler Bay offers standalone independent living residences. Our floor plans range from one- or two-bedroom bungalow-style villas, all the way to our Garden Home residences that are as large as three bedrooms and three bathrooms. It’s basically the best of both worlds: the independence of living in your ‘own home’ but with all the benefits a senior living community can provide, like zero maintenance and full dining options.”

As a Life Plan Community, residents at East Ridge have the peace of mind and flexibility to change care levels as their health requires. Assisted living, memory support, rehabilitation and skilled nursing residents reside in Three Palms Health Center, the new LEED-certified health services center that has specifically been designed to be seamless. Best of all, these services are available as a “rental” basis, too – all residents pay just one monthly fee in order to receive a maintenance-free lifestyle along with all the care they need.

“Whether you rent or buy in your retirement, you’ll have many benefits and a lot of choice,” says Mary Scott. “And after all, that’s what it’s all about, isn’t it? The choice to have the lifestyle and experiences you want – and the freedom to do it.”

About East Ridge at Cutler Bay

East Ridge at Cutler Bay, a SantaFe Senior Living Community, is Miami-Dade County’s only true Life Plan 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 SW 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.