Lessons Learned From My Stay At The Villages Florida

Lake Sumter Landing

Lessons Learned From My Visit To The Villages Florida

I made a mistake of calling The Villages in Florida a small town, according to one of my social media friends.  He said “Obviously you have not been there!”  Well I took this under advisement and just returned from a weeks stay at Lake Sumter Landing in the heart of The Villages. He was right, The Villages is a large place with 110,000 residents and 60,000 golf carts, three town squares, probably 15+ recreational centers and much more.

I had been hearing for years how much residents loved living in The Villages and I have to agree they have an attractive and somewhat unique idea. So returning from my trip I began thinking of what makes The Villages so unique. What ideas could be learned so other 55+ communities and small towns could benefit from what The Villages is doing.

Here are two ideas that struck me as unique that The Villages is doing and that might be a good idea in other places too.

1. They simply call their senior centers “recreation centers“. I like that. Everyone knows many people don’t like the name “senior” so senior centers started called themselves “adult centers” and other such names.  They are really only recreation centers.  Why not call them 55+ Recreational Centers or whatever minimum age fits.

2. The Villages are open to anyone to visit, eat, shop and use. Their three town squares have all kinds of events like the Arts and Crafts show and the Classic Car show when I visited. Families and persons of all ages were enjoying the town squares. Now the “villages” as they call the residential communities do have a security gate but the rest of The Villages is wide open. I like that.

Lake Sumter Landing Arts and Crafts
Lake Sumter Landing Arts and Crafts

I think towns could benefit from idea 1 above and just call their senior center “55+ Recreation Center”. I also think 55+ communities and small towns could benefit from more of a collaboration in joining the 55+ Community or even several 55+ Communities around a rejuvenated town square with shopping, activities, entertainment, outdoor spaces and the like. It would benefit the town and the community, which really are one and the same.

I still think, even after my visit, The Villages have a small town feeling.

Even though in total they are quite large, the three town squares certainly gave me the feeling of a small town. People greeted, acknowledged and spoke with others like they do in a small town.  Like a small town, people were relaxed and not in a big rush. The recreation centers are close by to each residential community so you are likely to meet your neighbors there. Yes, I think I still consider The Villages a small town.

Robert and Mary Ann Fowler

 

Lake Sumter Landing
Lake Sumter Landing

55 Plus Homes for Sale – 55+ Homes for Rent

Announcement:
55CommunityGuide.com has now added two new sections, 55+ Homes for Sale and 55+ Homes for Rent for ads for individual property listings. Just like our community listings, these ads for individual properties are free.   We already show up at the top for 55+ homes for sale and rent.  We are at the top of the search engine result for many terms relating to 55 communities and rank number one on Google for “retirement communities”.  By placing your free listing(s) you will get exposure right away.   If you already have an account at 55CommunityGuide.com, to place your ad for an individual property  for sale or rent, just log in from the left side of the home page.  Then on your Member Section page look in the left column to place your free ads in either of these two new sections.  If you are new, just click the “Advertise with us” tab on top of the home page.

These new sections are separate from the “community” listing you now have and will give you great free exposure for your listings. You can upload photos and get a direct link to your web site from our high rated PR5 site! That’s worth it right there. We have options for each age qualified group 50+, 55+, 62+ or none.  We have property types for houses and homes, condos and townhouses, apartments, duplexes, lofts and modular homes.

Your ad in either of these two new sections will be promoted on our extensive social media accounts at twitter and Facebook where we have thousands of followers.

Thanks, Robert Fowler

Move Before It’s Too Late

My wife and I were discussing her mother’s dilemma.  She is 88 years old and in a nursing center rehab program now for two months with her fate becoming increasingly clear; she will not be able to live by herself anymore.   She fell in her home and couldn’t get up.

Only a little over a year ago she turned down a chance to move to a nice little independent living community when her name came up on the list.  She said she was still not quite ready for that.

She had placed her name on the waiting list for this independent living community maybe 5 years ago.  But each time her name came up she wasn’t ready. My wife and I couldn’t understand her decision not to move to a better place, where she could socialize more and be near help if she needed it.  This last time in an interview meeting, the director of this community advised her not to wait too long – enjoy in while you are still able.

Now it appears she will be skipping the independent living stage, going straight to assisted living or to the nursing center.  She didn’t want to move when she had a say so, but now it looks like she will be moving with no say so.

We see parallels in our own lives.  When we sold a business five years ago we started looking around for places to retire.  This process helped me to start Retirement Media which has turned out to be an enjoyable retirement job and I am still learning and exploring the options.

However it is now five years later and at age 63 we are still “thinking” about our options in retirement.  We came close last year to buying a home in a 55 plus community (see Analysis of a Move to a 55 Plus Community) but with the uncertain economy and depressed real estate market, decided the time was not right.

The time was not right for us.  Where have we heard that before.  Are we doing the same thing as my mother in law.  Just not ready yet.   It is not like we are giving anything up.  To the contrary, this should improve our lifestyle.  So why are we reluctant.  It is really the real estate market or is it something else.

Last year when we told our neighbor of our plans to move to a 55+ community, she replied “so that’s where you are going to end up?”.  Humm.  Didn’t think of it that way.  Or did we?

Even a change for the better is hard to make.  You are giving up what you are familiar with for something new.  Maybe now I can understand the mother in law’s reluctance a little better.

Retirement CommunitiesAssisted Living FacilitiesSenior CommunitiesSenior Centers