Categories
Retirement

Retirement States Gain in 2010 Census

Retirement States Gain in Population

Some of the results of the 2010 Census was released today and one thing I noticed is the the best retirement states are the ones to gain in population.  So job transfers is not the driver these days, it’s gain from those retirees moving to a new retirement destination.

Overall the US population grew 9.7% in the last ten years.  That is down from a 13.2% gain in the previous 2000 census, but still a respectable gain.  By region the biggest gainers in population are the South at 14.3% and the Southwest at 13.8%.  By comparison the gain in the Northeast was only 3. 2%.

By state Arizona had 24.6%, Nevada 35.1%, Georgia 17.3%, Florida 17.6%,  South Carolina 15.3% gain in population the last 10 years.  These also happen to be the states that are popular retirement destinations.  Some have speculated that people are not moving for retirement anymore, however these numbers do not bear that out.

Categories
Senior Living

When is it Time to Put the Brakes on Elderly Driving?

Family Conversations with Older Drivers

senior driving

Our nearby senior community, Somerby of Alpharetta, invited me to a seminar they were giving titled “We need to talk… Family Conversations with Older Drivers” one of several excellent seminars they were giving. This is a good service they are doing and the meeting room was full. Didn’t hurt they included dinner, but the seminar was very professional and included speakers Thomas Corrigan who is a Geriatric Consultant, Mr. Jim Swain an elder care attorney, an Alpharetta police officer, and Ms Deann Young the Somerby representative.

The stop driving seminar was excellent and here are some of the highlights from my notes.

Ms. Young pointed out age alone is not sufficient to make the decision to stop driving.  Their is a post man in Birmingham Al who is over age 90 and still drives his postal route and has never had an accident. Many elderly drives are fine despite the jokes about old drivers.

There was a resident of Somerby who got up to talk about his decision to stop driving.  He and his wife had been living up at Big Canoe when he started having mini seizes, just going blank a couple of seconds.  He got better, then off on on he might have one.  He said he always had a practice throughout his life of arriving early for an appointment and to do that, he had to leave early. So in his mind he certainly didn’t want to hurt or injury anyone, and although he might could continue to drive until something happen, he would stop now. It was not about him, but about other people and their children.  Just like leaving early to keep his appointments, he would stop driving now, maybe early but the safe route.

Elderly Driving

Mr. Swain pointed out most people have been driving longer than they have been married, or longer than their career. It is difficult decision for them to make, to stop driving.

Some facts were presented.  You can’t say when a safe time of time to drive is, accidents happen all the time. An elderly driver has a 66% chance of dying in a vehicle crash. When you are young you can bounce back, but vehicle crashes are more serious to older people.

Age related conditions like macular degeneration and cataracts can interfere with driving.  Your field of vision really goes down hill fast after age 75. Medical factors which impact driving include diminished eyesight and hearing, prescription medications, decreased reaction time, physical flexibility, impaired judgment, dementia and memory loss, increase use of alcohol or OTC medications.

So how do you being a conversation with an older person about whether it is time to stop driving?  Begin collecting information.  Take a ride with the driver. Ask yourself would you let your 5 year old grandchild be in the car with them?  Get a driving evaluation (cost $300-$500)that will test cognition, reflexes, vision, flexibility, and visual attention. Has the Senior been in “close calls” or got lost while driving. Take a walk around their vehicle and look for dents and scrapes. Seniors have may difficulty turning to check over their shoulder while backing up or changing lanes. Has the Senior received multiple traffic tickets or warnings from law enforcement offers? All of these could be warning sign tells about driving problems.

It was pointed out that Seniors are a tough generation and don’t know quit, stop or give up. Later Officer Howard offers that you should talk with Seniors about Retiring from driving -not quitting.

Discussion About Driving

It is good to have the whole family on board before having conversations with the Senior about not driving. Discuss in a private setting. Then maybe the least confrontational relative or friend should begin the conversation about it maybe time to stop driving. Try to be non-confrontational. Encourage the Senior to express their concerns about their driving. Realize but remove the emotion from conversation. Then the whole family could reinforce the conversation.

Maybe give the Senior socially acceptable reasons that they could tell their friends why they stopped driving, like a hip replacement or medications for example. They need to explain why they stopped driving.

Offer up solutions

Other options for getting around could include take a taxi, using senior center vans, home care agency, senior service agencies, public transportation, and family members or neighbors and friends.

New Activities

Some new routines for the Senior that do not include driving may be gardening, spending time with grandchildren, travel, senior centers, family activities.

Positive steps Loved Ones Can Take
Schedule an eye exam with an Ophthalmologist, ask physician if there are assistive devices which could help with driving, have senior undergo a complete physical examination, consider neuropsychological testing if dementia is a concern, review all medications and side effects which could affect driving, arrange for the Senior to take a driver education refresher course through AAA or AARP, offer to pay for a comprehensive driving evaluation.

Professional Help

Doctors can help but it was pointed out they are not going to tell the Senior they can’t drive anymore.  Geriatric Care Manager can assisted as well as counseling professionals, Senior Realtors and certified driving instructor.

Hope this points help if you are concerned about a Senior continuing to drive.

Senior Community Guide

Categories
Virginia

Charlottesville Virginia – Check It Out!

Rotunda – The University of Virginia

When one makes a trip to spend a few days in an area you have never visited and discovers it’s an attractive area, sometimes it turns in to a “Let’s move here” idea. I could see how that could happen in Charlottesville Virgina after spending 3 days there this week.

We just wanted a getaway and picked Charlottesville off the map. Having never been there, we did a little research and found it’s a good place to visit and to live.

Charlottesville Trip Report

Day one we flew to Richmond Va and took our rental car for an easy drive over to Charlottesville via I-64. Takes a little over an hour with stop an a visitors center on the way.

Seeing one of the big attractions is visit to Thomas Jefferson home (Monticello) we exited I-64 and followed the signs. We first came upon historic Michie Tavern cir 1784 which offered a buffet lunch which we were about ready for and then a tour of the tavern by ladies in period dress. We went ahead and got the Presidential tour package which includes Monticello, Michie Tavern, James Monroe home and James Madison’s home at Montpelier. After eating we took the Michie Tavern tour with a nice lady as guide. This got us in the right frame of mind for the next stop.

So about 2pm we arrvied at Monticello which is right up the road from Michie Tavern. This is a popular place and lots of people were coming in from the parking lots. We stopped by the ticket office and immediately got on the bus for the next tour of the home. The bus takes you up to the top of the hill to Monticello. Their is a guided tour of several rooms of the home and it has a lot of the items owned by Mr. Jefferson and other period pieces to look just like it did when he lived there. Thomas Jefferson worked on Monticello for 30 years and made it his unique home. Afterwards we joined a tour of the grounds and made a day of it. I think Monticello was the highlight of our trip.

Day two we take the short drive down to the University of Virginia to find the Rotunda designed by Thomas Jefferson. We park at The Corner, a popular place for students, and just follow them up the hill, over looking grounds framed by historic buildings. Every hour there is a tour by a student guide starting at the Rotunda. We visited several rooms inside the Rotunda and hear about it’s amazing history, then go out in to the academic village for more of the tour. After wards we stop by a student hangout at The Corner for a coke.

Next it’s a short drive to the downtown mall, which is an area several blocks long with the main street closed to auto traffic. Side walk cafes all around and we try on out for a delicious lunch. For the afternoon, we drive out to tour the farm of James Monroe which was part of the Presidential homes ticket.

Day three we drive out to Montpelier James Madison’s huge home and farm. It is a about 15 miles north of Charlottesville, right off the path to the Blue Ridge Parkway, which we would be visiting that afternoon. We pass many farms on the way. This property has been restored by the National Trust, and they have done an excellent first class job. There is a large visitors center where we watch a short movie about James Monroe, the father of the US Constitution. Next we tour the large home and walk the grounds.

It getting around noon so we head East to the Shenandoah Park. Ticket is $15 but since I am 62, I am offered the Senior Pass for $10 and it is good the rest of your life. What a deal! We get on the Blue Ridge Parkway and about 9 miles along stop at the Big Meadows Lodge for a nice lunch in their dining room. We enjoyed he views and head back to Charlottesville where we dine that evening at the Boat House, the best new restaurant of the year.

It was an amazing trip and to see so many things in such a short period of time! Charlottesville is a college town with history and everything you would want, without the traffic of a large city. If you have never visited Charlottesville you need to. You just might want to move there.

Categories
Over 55 Communities

Analysis of a Move to a 55 Plus Community

55 plus community model home

Del Webb 55 Plus Community Here We Come

After looking for over a year, we found the perfect 55 plus community for us.  It is on the edge of the metro area, about 40 miles from downtown but 18 minutes from a major regional mall and more retail-shopping.  Nearby there is a winery with hotel and six restaurants, 15 minutes from outlet mall, and nearby some good places for lunch. It is far enough but not too far. We can still meet our friends in the metro suburbs for lunch every month.   It will definitely change our way of living to a new lifestyle while being close to familiar areas too. Not a major relocation but a positive adjustment none the less.

Forty percentage of the people living in Village at Deaton Creek,  this active adult community on the outer edge of our metro, still work.   This means, at age 62, some will  be our age or younger.   So the age balance is right for us.

It took us some time to come up with the model home that we decided on.  We live in a 4 bedroom, 3.5 bath two story with full  basement.  Not because we had a big family, but because we had a home office and one employee.  We no longer have the employee coming over and have cut back the business to the minimal, but still my wife and I do want our offices.   We had thought going in the perfect retirement home for us would be a “ranch with a basement”.  Basements we found out are a little pricey.  A basement runs $50,000 and then $30,000 to be finished, thus $80,000 extra for a finished basement.  At Del Webb they have come up with another less expensive option, that of a loft.  The finished loft is an option that runs $23,000 to $25 ,000 more, but does add a large room, a bedroom and a full bath upstairs. So we reasoned that would work as I could have my office in the loft and my wife could have the office on the main level and like the 2 bedroom plan.  So a 2 bedroom with a loft we went searching for.   But when touring the available homes, there was not a loft available, so it would take 5 to 6 months to  have one built the Del Webb  salesperson explained. Huh.

So next we decided to check out resales so we went through the brochures we picked up while riding around in our golf cart during our two night vacation getaway stay at the community.  I asked about any listings with a loft and none were available since the loft is a relatively new option and none of the resales have a loft.  But the agent did tell  me about another listing which is a large ranch in the Overlook section rather then the middle size homes in the Vista collection.  The plan was the Cumberland Hall floor plan.  It is all on one level and has a large corner office and 3 bedrooms, one of which could be our second office.  We liked the floor plan layout too.  In addition, this resale has a large screen porch and a nice kitchen and many extras.  The price was only $15,000 more that the two bedroom with loft that we would have to wait 6 months for.  Wow, this is maybe the one for us!

The resale agent was very helpful.  She could come to our current home and let us know the market price and what we could expect to get. So how would this work, we begin to ask.  Would we contract to buy the resale and immediately list our current home for sale.  Do you sell your current home first to reduce the risk then find a home to move to?  One resident said she listed her home for sale and put a contract for Del Webb to build her a home but her home sold within two months.  What did she do I asked?  Got on a boat and traveled she replied.

Being the cautious planner that I am (and who isn’t when you are retired), none of these options looks that great.  Yes, we could cash in a CD and buy the resale while listing our current home for sale.  Both homes are similar in price so we may almost break even.  Then take the sales proceed and buy the CD back.  Sure there is a 3 month interest penalty, but that may not stop us.  However the bigger risk is selling our current home.  We have heard story after story about negatives of selling in this market.  It is in great condition, with many improvements in a good location (doesn’t everyone think their home is special and more valuable than the rest of the neighborhood). Or another option would be to sell our current home and then find our new home, but that means maybe moving to a temporary residence if we cannot find a home to move in to right away.  I don’t like moving that much.
About now I am asking, and why are we moving?  Oh yes, the new lifestyle, new friends, activities, slower pace, nature walks around the pond, fun, etc. Yes, we are sold on the community and have a floor plan we think would work for us.  We are positive about the move, it is just how to do it.

So thinking about this during this long Memorial Day weekend, my wife and I think we don’t want to put ourselves in an uncomfortable situation right now, just because we would like to move to a 55 plus community.  We have our house paid off, we are retired, so why complicate matters. Our assessment is in this environment it is no time to roll the dice and try to sell your home if you don’t have to.  We don’t want to move twice and we don’t want a vacant unsold home to worry about. We still plan on moving to a 55 plus community and now have a much better idea of where we want to live and the floor plan that would suit us. You just don’t know until you have checked things out, if it will work for you.  We will keep our options open and look forward to making the move when the time is right for us.

Categories
Retirement Plan

Retirement – Are You Ready and Can You Do It?

Retirement – When Does It Begin?

Looking forward to retirement is the current pastime of many of us 50+ years old boomers.  Anticipating our retirement and what it will be like is a pleasant thought.  They say you really don’t know what retirement is until you actually retire.

The expected benefits are many: having more time, doing things we like, making new friends, traveling, experiencing new things, less stressful life and a better balance between work and play.

Using the new definition of retirement as being a better balance between work and play, when do we pull the trigger and consider ourselves being in retirement? When you leave your full time career job?  When you start drawing social security somewhere between age 62 to 66?  Or when you say so?  Many people find it hard to say they are retired, even after they have retired.

Some people ease in to retirement. They start working from home doing consulting or a Internet business.  People start working part time or take some time off then jump back in for a while. Some people move to a 55 plus community on the edge of a metro area and still work full time.  All of these are the transition to retirement and help easy the process. The exciting part is actually starting the process for a better balance of work and play in our life, no matter what you call it.

Robert, age 62 and retired

Categories
Retirement Hobbies

Libraries Offerring More for Boomers & Retirees

Library for Boomers

Have you checked out your local library lately? These days libraries offer way more than books. For a while now they have been offering other media such as CDs, DVDs, audiobooks, film archives, all kinds of magazines and newsletters, research rooms, voter registration, and tax forms. There are wireless Internet access and computer terminals for your use, which is great when you are away from home.
Some libraries have very interesting web sites with digital content and archives, blogs and photo galleries. These are really virtual libraries where you can check out eBooks, videos and music on line and download for use for a limited period of time.
Now libraries are becoming community centers with free activities, senior programs, exhibitions, lectures by authors, and classes on many subjects.

No wonder about 66% of American 50+ already have a library card. Maybe you have a card but have not kept up with the new services your library is offering.  Now is the time to “check out” your library to get up to date.