Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Back to Comfortville: The Over 55 Community Lifestyle

There's a fine line between the intergenerational communities, whatever kind, and the over 55 communities, that when you cross it, you are happier.

My husband and I began enjoying the lifestyle of an over 55 community ten years ago and still do today. If I moved again I would prefer this type of community. But that's me. I want to tell this story to help you better understand what type of community is for you.

Two years ago my daughter and her husband moved to another state on an assignment, and they asked my husband and I if we would like to move into their condo while they were gone. We jumped at the chance.

Her condo is in an urban environment and the majority of the population is in their 30's. They are also young professionals with lots of discretionary spending money.

This type of area attracts entertainment, restaurants and services of all kinds.

Our 55 condo is in a suburban setting. So the temporary move into her condo would be like night and day.

Benefits of the move:

  • A change of scene would be nice
  • Try out the urban lifestyle
  • Be around younger people
  • Easier shopping
  • Huge number of restaurant choices and all walkable
  • Every convenience nearby
  • Bookstores and coffee shops
  • Cutting edge clothes and furniture stores
  • Stimulating

We very much enjoyed our time there (nearly 2 years). Everything literally was walkable. We shopped, we went out to eat breakfast, lunch and dinner, and usually at a different restaurant every night. We enjoyed fine dining and sophisticated stores that were not walkable near our suburban 55 community.

We occasionally went back and spent a day or two at our 55 community to catch up on mail, etc. But we always looked forward to going back to the urban environment. It wasn't sleepy like our 55 village.

But after thoroughly enjoying this environment for 2 years, things began to change. My husband's health was becoming an issue. He could no longer walk the mile to the farmer's market, stopping for coffee along the way, on a Saturday morning that we so much enjoyed.

He began to get out of breath. Then one sunny afternoon he tripped on the sidewalk. A much younger couple rushed over to help. He was ok but shaken up and somewhat embarrassed. I was upset and concerned. We bought his first cane which he uses more and more to this day. But it also made him feel more conspicuous in the younger environment.

The urban environment that we were enjoying so much was becoming less available as we could not get around like before. We loved the young people, but they were becoming more obviously accommodating to our ages by opening doors, letting us go first in lines and other things one would do for the "elderly." I began to feel uncomfortable.

We began going back to our over 55 community more often. We realized we got more rest there than in the midst of the constant noise created by trucks, cars, and people in the city. It was darker at night, quieter all day, and many seemed to be having the same challenges that my husband did. Some people had canes (although most did not). Seniors were trying to stay fit (were still very active). Some were in wheelchairs, and no one noticed because it wasn't that unusual. We were all in the same boat, and I found that incredibly comforting.

The young faces, the squealing kids, and hot singles out for a good time, were all gone.

I am still, knock on wood, feeling very young and fit, but my husband has some health issues. It was becoming too hard for him to keep up with young people just starting their work lives.

After the past 2 years of an "exciting" lifestyle, we have moved back to "comfortville," our over 55 community. We still had with us our more chic clothing, our more discriminating dining palate, and our tons of books from B&N that was once just a block away. Sure we miss it. Living there was a gift that we truly appreciate, and we have our amazing memories, but we can't go back. That was a time we will always remember, but we are happier now.

A New Appreciation for the Benefits of an Over 55 Lifestyle Community

This is something we didn't expect to gain from our experience: We now enjoy our over 55 community more. We appreciate it more. We don't take it for granted anymore. We see all the advantages and benefits more clearly.

The urban lifestyle we enjoyed taught us to look around and broaden our span of attention thus we began finding some rather interesting restaurants right in the area of our community. We have to drive to them, but that is preferable now. (Our recent acquisition of GPS is very helpful in this regard.)

Our urban lifestyle taught us to reach out beyond the borders of our 55 community for more excitement, but at the end of the day, the quiet peacefulness and serenity of our over 55 refuge wins hands down.