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Choosing Your Perfect Retirement Location

As anyone in real estate will tell you: it’s all about location, location, location. Now that retirement is on the horizon (or you’ve already crossed the finish line), you’re ready to reap the rewards – but first, you have to answer one big question: where will you retire?

“Retirement is one of the only times in your life that you truly get to choose a destination that you want without thought to things like raising a family or a career,” says Pamela Klapproth, CEO of Kendal on Hudson, a not-for-profit Life Plan Community serving older adults in the Quaker tradition in Sleepy Hollow, NY. “Unlike other times in your life, you have great freedom to choose practically anywhere in the world. However, this can also lead to being paralyzed by the seemingly endless options available to you.”

There is no perfect retirement location—or, rather, there is no one perfect retirement location to which we can easily point and say there! “Depending on your goals, wants and needs, the answer can vary greatly,” Pamela says. “You may also have more than one perfect retirement location—the question then becomes, which is the most perfect?”

Pamela cautions that your retirement location isn’t something to choose lightly. “You don’t want to make a snap decision because your location will truly affect all aspects of your quality of life in your golden years,” she says. “It’s important to explore your options, weigh the pros and cons and ultimately choose a location that aligns with your lifestyle, your family commitments and your overall well-being.”

As you begin thinking about the perfect location for your retirement years, here are some tips for helping narrow your decision.

1. Imagine what you want retirement to look/feel/sound/be like.

Years ago, people retired because they wanted to sit back, relax and enjoy doing nothing. Preferably in a warm place like Florida or Arizona. But as Baby Boomers start to retire in droves, “retirement” is becoming a lot less “retiring” and a lot more invigorating. Today’s 60 is the new 30, and the Boomers are looking at this next chapter in their lives as just that—a chance to say goodbye to the things they “had” to do and instead do the things they’ve always been wanting to do. Want to start a new business? Go ahead! Want to go back to school and go into a new career? The world is your oyster! Today’s older adults aren’t content to sit back and let the world pass them by, and by choosing the perfect retirement location, you’ll be able to jump-start your perfect adventure.

Spend some time thinking about your retirement goals. Do you want to pick up an old hobby or learn a new one? Would you like to tour the world and play on every top-rated golf course possible? Would you like to go RVing across the country, seeing new sights, making new friends and meeting old ones? Once you’ve figured out what and how you want your retirement to be, you can start figuring out the best location that will allow you to do everything you want.

2. Know what locations appeal to you.

Do you enjoy living in the center of everything, in a large city with excellent public transportation? Or do you prefer the serenity and natural beauty of a more rustic area? Whether you want the former, latter, somewhere in-between or something else entirely, you can bet there is an independent living community that suits your needs. You may want to be in a place where there’s a significant senior community (so you can quickly make friends), or someplace you know and love that has a strong intergenerational community. Determine what location sounds good to you, and then begin searching for communities in that area.

3. Check the weather.

Are you a four-seasons type of person, or do you prefer a warm climate year-round? Some of us naturally enjoy certain areas of the country over another, especially if doing outdoorsy things is something you like to do. If you don’t enjoy the cold, certain areas of the country may not be a great place to retire. On the other hand, even if the climate isn’t perfect, it’s always good to think about how you’ll manage staying interested and engaged even when the weather isn’t to your liking.

4. Understand your transportation needs.

A lot of this can depend on what your goals, wants and needs are for your retirement. If visiting family and friends is important to you, but you won’t be living in the same area as them, what sort of transportation options do you have? Will you be able to drive to visit, or is there easy access by train or by plane? Or, if you plan on jet-setting throughout your retirement, is there an airport nearby and what sort of options do you have available in terms of direct flights? At the same time, you’ll want to look closer to home as well. Do you enjoy driving and plan on still using your car? What about public transportation—is that important to you? Knowing your travel options can help you better plan what a “perfect” location looks like.

5. Consider a trial run.

This is always an important consideration, but it’s especially important if you’re deciding to move to a senior community that’s in a new location for you. Many senior living communities offer the option for short-term stays, which is a perfect opportunity for future residents to “trial run” the lifestyle, meet other residents, experience what living there looks like and get a feel for, well, everything the community has to offer. Spending a good amount of time in the area will help you feel what the rhythm of daily life feels like and allows you to determine what life would look, sound and feel like before you have to sign on the dotted line.

“Our beautiful location is the perfect spot for native East Coasters and transplants alike,” says Pamela. “We’re just 35 miles from New York City and have all the cultural opportunities and natural beauty of the historic lower Hudson Valley right at our fingertips. Our community is on a spectacular, picturesque site overlooking the Hudson River with vistas of the Gov. Mario M. Cuomo Bridge (formally the Tappan Zee Bridge) and next to an 80-acre state park preserve. We are the perfect blend of urban and suburban, appealing to nature-lovers and urbanites alike. It truly is a perfect retirement location … for so many reasons”

Together, Transforming the Experience of Aging.®

Founded on Quaker principles and guided by our values and practices, Kendal on Hudson provides a vibrant, active and social senior lifestyle on our 25-acre campus next to the historic Hudson River. As the only Lifecare community in Westchester County, we offer five levels of service for our residents: Independent Living, Assisted Living, Memory Support, Skilled Nursing and Rehabilitation.

Kendal on Hudson is a not-for-profit 501(c)(3) organization led by a volunteer Board of Directors. Kendal on Hudson is an affiliate of The Kendal Corporation, a system of communities and services for older people based in Kennett Square, PA. We support diversity, inclusiveness, and independence and support the values and practices of Kendal by remaining focused on healthy aging. Located in Sleepy Hollow, New York, just 35 miles from New York City, we offer a vibrant lifestyle, cultural programs, continued learning and health care for life.

 For more information, please call 866-358-5802.