Community Living Options in Retirement

Except from Over 50: The Definitive Guide to Retirement by Auren Uris on the discussion of community living options in retirement.

In my view, a key to successful retirement is the ability to keep oneself usefully occupied and absorbed in life. It struck me that retirement activity falls into two major categories, as probably does all human extra-vocation affairs. A person can receive or give, or do both; be entertained or render service, or do both. In fact, I am convinced that a happy retirement for active people is a judicious combination of both categories.

Because it gave us the opportunity for receiving and giving, the [retirement community] Heritage Village is proving to be an almost ideal retirement residence. The opportunities for entertainment, for physical, social, and cultural activities are large. The residents use their skills and backgrounds to enrich the cultural life of the village. For example, a retired teacher conducts a lecture series on poetry. A former professor from Antioch conducts the Shakespeare cycle; plays are heard on tape and discussed… Artists promote exhibits and sponsor classes. An the light side, dances and dinners are promoted. Concerts are held frequently. Organized trips are available.

The life here also offers many opportunities for service. Many residents serve as volunteers in nearby hospitals, state institutions, and public schools. Others have found their niche in helping to govern the village, as members of condominium boards and committees. A fair number of residents participate in the town government as elected or appointed officials.

Shortly after we began living in the village, I decided that I would like to work with the village’s volunteer ambulance service, which the residents had organized. Both of us had decided early on that we did not wish our activities to be limited to the village. Mildred joined the League of Women Voters and soon found herself chairing a group studying the financing of the education system of the local school district.

To round out our retirement, we plan about six weeks of travel each year, either in this country or aboard. Travel lets us get away form the routines that develop even in retirement and prevents the growth of the ivory-tow syndrome that could so easily develop in our enclave of community living.

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