Del Webb Communities

Can 55 Retirement Communities Make You Happy?

John wanted to have a happy and full-filling retirement.

John considered what would be needed to have a happy retirement.

Thinking of things that would be beneficial to a happy retirement and that was under his control,  would help John find a happy retirement.

John remembered hearing Financial Security would help, at least according to all the financial advisors. He had been working for nearly 40 years and invested in his company’s 401K from the start and owned some stocks, bonds and a little real estate. Being financially secure alone would not make a happy retirement for John but would help.  Thankfully, he had that covered.

  1. John knows having a happy retirement could only be truly enjoyed if he had good health, living free of chronic disease. He knew healthy people are generally happy people. He also knows that to be healthy, one needs to be active.

John had a friend who was happy living at an Active Adult Living 55+ Community and was very active with walking and use of the gym at the clubhouse. His friend  had really gotten into a game called pickleball and played for one and a half hours two or three times a week, or whenever he wanted as a game was usually going 6 or 7 days a week.

John’s friend also said there was a hospital and plenty of medical office buildings nearby where his Active Adult Community was.

John considered these as some of the things that could lead to happy retirement.

  1. Having just retired, John was missing the social activity with friends from work. The people in the subdivision where he has lived for 20 years are still working and young couples are moving in. John pondered how to make new friends at his age. He was not meeting that many new people.

John’s friends living in the 55+ Community are always talking about the new friends they have made. With all the activities they are sharing with people, this introduces them to people they like and which share their interests. They go to lunch or dinner with them, even sometimes travel with them.  But mostly just share activities like going to trivia, playing bocce,  putt golf  or playing cards.

John considers that this may be the way he can make new friends and be more active.

  1. John has a 4 bedroom, three level home with the bedroom upstairs. Last year, John’s wife had a medical procedure and it was difficult even bringing her into the house with the steps, then she had to sleep on a day bed in the living room for a week,  with only a half bath on the main level. This is a problem which needs to be addressed.  His home is no longer ideal for their needs.

Home repairs were also getting expensive with aging and not very efficient appliances. Tree limbs always seeming to be falling down from the now mature trees.  Not to speak of the high property taxes he was now paying on his suburban home in an area that was becoming more urbanized and expensive.  Traffic was a nightmare and the road warriors were always in a hurry and would run you over.

John had visited his friend at his 55 Community on the outskirts of the metro area.  It was close enough to restaurants and shopping but the traffic had not gotten bad yet.  There were community theaters, putt golf, and movie theaters and really anything you would want nearby.

The residents really have a good social lifestyle and seemed to enjoy the people, even more than they did the amenities.

His friend just turned 70 years old and now gets a senior exemption and will not have to pay school tax, which saves a lot of money.

The homes are ranch style and come in different model sizes ranging from 1450 square feet to over 3,000 square feet. Some have basements and some have lofts. John’s friend has a Cumberland Hall model with 2,777 square feet including a nice sun room.

John considered how having a one level ranch house with no steps, more energy efficient newer appliances and HVAC, and livable floor plans with a universal design would accommodate his needs.

Lower property taxes and landscaping included in his HOA fee would save some money.

    1. Since John is no longer working,  he figures it would be nice waking up with a purpose and passion again. With so many things to do at an Active Adult Community, there would always be something to look forward to and people to do it with.
  1. John knows he and his wife are entering his 70’s and with the life expectancy of the average American only 78, well he is concerned about a death of a spouse and what would happen to the survivor.  He hears good things about the social support from neighbors living in an Active Adult Community and the “we are in this together” feeling.

John wants a happy retirement and realizes that moving to an 55 plus Community will make their retirement living easier and happier.

John’s plan is to get an hour of physical exercise a day, make new friends and enjoy being social while being active in learning and traveling as much as he can. He believes living in an Active Adult Community will help him and his wife do that.

Next blog post, we explore how John approaches finding a home in 55 Communities.

Robert Fowler


Active Adult Living Del Webb Communities Retirement

Making Friends in Retirement: First Impressions Can Be Wrong

We were told during our working years how important first impressions were. We needed to be groomed and clothed in the right way and of course have a positive attitude. They were right, it did make a difference, when in the fast paced working world, people would make hiring or purchasing decisions, many times based on first impressions.

As we grow older, now we can see that often times our first impressions are wrong.

First Impressions of People

I know and admire a lot of people who I didn’t get a good first impression about when meeting them the first time or two. I have even become friends with a few of those people that I was wrong about.

Therefore I try to remind myself of this problem with first impressions and try not to jump to too many conclusions so fast about people who I meet for the first time or two.  Sometimes you just get off on the wrong foot with someone. Remember the childhood fight with a kid who later became your best friend. Well we don’t fight now do we, but we can forgive.

When moving to a retirement community, you come in contact with a lot of people, some of which you will become friends with.  Don’t filter out people too fast because maybe they are from a different part of the country, maybe they are too formal, maybe they are older or younger, maybe they are a different race, maybe they are too competitive, maybe they don’t have the same religion or politics, maybe they are different than you.

Fortunately, I see that people in our community have a way of focusing on the positive and what we have in common, rather than any differences. We are in this boat together and love our community.

In the context of a retirement community or even a senor center, if you come in contact with people enough, say because you participate in an activity together or maybe even because they are neighbors, you will soon get to know the person a lot better. It is important not to write anyone off based on first impressions. Later, you may see your first impression was not correct.

First Impressions of Communities

One lady who I spoke with at an Active Adult Community in NC, told me when visiting communities to see where to live, she would sit in the clubhouse just inside the front door and see how many people came up to talk with her.  She said she visited the community where I now live and that the people were not friendly.

I know that’s not the case in my community, people have been and are very friendly to us during our first year here. If she had asked anyone a question about living in the community, they would have been glad to tell here. It doesn’t sound like she talked with anyone, just did a test to see who would approach her.

don't wait to moveIn scouting communities in which to live, yes visit the clubhouse and ask the residents questions.  All you need to do is ask. Also participate in some  of the activities,  because then you really get a feel for the people. Play a game  of  bocce or take a line dancing class or cooking class, like we did when scouting communities.

I honestly don’t think the friendliness of people will be a problem at any of the Active Adult Communities. People are people, but I think you will find people who live in an Active Adult Community are some of the most accepting, friendly, positive and interesting people around.