WSJ: The New Retirement Resorts (Forget Assisted Living Facilities)

Move over, assisted living and nursing homes—there are new alternatives in town for retiring seniors, and they’re more adventurous and personalized than ever before, according to a recent Wall Street Journal article.

A growing number of intrepid retirees, wary of spending years in an assisted-living facility or staying at home, are opting for arrangements that provide them with a full range of services and a greater sense of adventure—fully staffed homes in Costa Rica, backyard bungalows on their children’s property, so-called cohousing arrangements, full-time spa living and even serial cruises.

Assisted living emerged in the 1990s as a popular alternative model to nursing homes for older people who no longer felt comfortable on their own but were too independent for a nursing home. An estimated 733,200 people in the U.S. lived in an assisted-living facility as of 2010, the latest data available, according to the American Health Care Association’s National Center for Assisted Living.

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Now, some pioneers are piecing together similar services on their own in a setting more to their liking—often with help from their adult children—and at a price comparable to or cheaper than an assisted-living apartment. A one-bedroom unit in an assisted-living facility cost as much as $9,500 a month in 2011 before any add-on services, according to long-term-care insurer Genworth (NYSE:GNW).

People are getting much more creative in their retirement years, according to a Northwestern geriatrician quoted in the article, and they “don’t want to spend their time in one room every day.”

Alternatives to assisted living or nursing homes listed in the article include retiring abroad, constructing small dwellings in adult children’s backyards, “permanent” cruises, spa resort living, and cohousing.

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Read more here at the Wall Street Journal.

Written by Alyssa Gerace

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