Will you age in your home or a retirement community?

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Oh, the nirvana of retirement. Now there's time to do everything you always wanted to do - travel, volunteer, play more golf and tennis and check-off those "bucket list" items before physical or mental issues become problematic.

Retirement can be a great time to enjoy life, and if you're lucky, it can last 25 to 30 years or longer. So, how are you going to grow older?

If you retire at 65, on average, the government says men will live to 83 and women to 86; however, more and more folks are living into their 90s. We all know "time is money" so the longer you live, the more money you'll need based on living expenses and future health care needs.

While continuing to live at home into your 80s, ongoing tasks like home maintenance and landscaping, cooking and cleaning, even driving becomes more challenging. If budgeted funds are available, hire outside senior-oriented companies to provide those needed services - you've earned the right to take it easy and let someone else do the work.

While aging in your home, even if you have no mortgage, there continues to be real estate taxes and homeowners insurance to pay, along with additional upkeep expenses.

The equity in your home could be the "nest egg" you'll need down the road to help pay for long-term care, etc. Ultimately, the idea of "downsizing" becomes not only financially prudent, but a necessity to receive the best health care available in the future.

Continuing-care retirement communities (CCRC) offer an additional choice for seniors as to how they will enjoy their "golden years." Studies show that people who live alone and have no active social life often suffer from poor nutrition and depression.

Living in a retirement community offers seniors an opportunity to be social - whether it's weekly cocktail parties, exercise classes, various clubs, lunch outings or going as a group to pick blueberries or see a play.

CCRC residents enjoy exquisite meals prepared each day with an array of choices available for those with special dietary needs. Sharing meals with fellow residents is a wonderful way to get to know your neighbors and see how much you have in common.

Most CCRC communities offer their residents transportation to the grocery store, bank, doctor, etc., which is extremely convenient and saves the cost of a cab.

There are a number of senior living options available. Do your research, evaluate your finances and see what option is the best fit for your personality and pocketbook.

Joe Agee is the marketing and sales director for The Seabrook of Hilton Head. www.TheSeabrook.com

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