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Planning for Retirement: Your Guide to Senior Living

Planning a move to senior living isn’t just about money. Choosing where you’ll live plays a big part in a happy and secure future.

Whether you’re years away from transitioning or actively considering your options, this resource empowers you to approach this important decision with knowledge, control, and confidence.

Benefits of Early Planning

With time and research, you can explore diverse locations, compare options, and choose a path that best aligns with your retirement lifestyle and budget.

Here’s the breakdown of the benefits of planning early for senior living:

Informed Decision-Making

You have plenty of time to research options, visit communities, and compare features without pressure. This ensures you choose the environment that best suits your needs, preferences, and lifestyle while also giving you the ability to join a community wait list if the residence you want isn’t available.


By proactively planning for retirement, you gain control and avoid reactive decisions driven by sudden health changes or family emergencies. This not only empowers you throughout your retirement journey; it helps you play an active role in your healthcare delivery.

Financial Security

Exploring costs and potentially locking in rates early can safeguard your finances. You can also investigate long-term care insurance before health factors impact eligibility, protecting your assets and giving your loved one’s peace of mind.

Stress Reduction

Having a plan eases worry for yourself and your family. You can enjoy every moment of your retirement knowing your future has been thoughtfully curated to your unique needs.

Exploring Senior Living Options

Exploring senior living options early empowers you to make informed choices and find the perfect fit for your needs and lifestyle.

These are common senior living choices:

Independent Living

  • Ideal for active seniors who value an independent lifestyle and a vibrant social environment
  • Offers private residences, maintenance-free living, amenities like on-site dining and a fitness center, and social activities
  • Best for individuals who require minimal assistance with daily living activities

Assisted Living

  • Designed for seniors who need some help with activities of daily living (ADLs), such as bathing, dressing, and medication management
  • Provides private or shared residences, 24/7 staff assistance with ADLs, meals, housekeeping, laundry, and social activities
  • Best suited for individuals who require some personal care support but want to maintain an independent lifestyle as much as possible

Skilled Nursing

  • Offers short-term or long-term care for individuals recovering from illness, injury or surgery who require around-the-clock medical supervision
  • Provides private or semi-private rooms, 24/7 care by licensed nurses, specialized therapies like physical and occupational therapy, and assistance with ADLs
  • Primarily focused on recovery for individuals unable to manage independently

Memory Care

  • Caters specifically to individuals with Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia
  • Offers secure communities or neighborhoods, specialized staff trained in dementia care, personalized care plans, stimulating activities designed for cognitive engagement, and emotional support
  • Best suited for individuals with memory impairment who require specialized care and a safe environment


  • Offers personalized programs for individuals recovering from injury or illness
  • Often staffed by licensed therapists, including physical, occupational, and speech therapists
  • Provides individualized care plans focused on regaining independence

A Special Note About Life Plan Communities

While upfront entrance fees and monthly service fees are involved, Life Plan Communities, also known as Continuing Care Retirement Communities (CCRCs), offer predictability in your long-term care costs. With one comprehensive contract, you lock in predictable costs compared to rising healthcare expenses if you need a higher level of living.

Unlike other senior living options, Life Plan Communities like Blakehurst also provide a guaranteed continuum of care within one community, including independent living, assisted living, memory care, skilled nursing, and rehabilitation.

This means you can transition seamlessly between levels of care as your needs change, eliminating the stress of searching for new options later and maintaining flexibility within your retirement plan.

Understanding Your Retirement Income

Planning for retirement income goes beyond simply saving money. It involves understanding the diverse sources available and crafting a personalized strategy that meets your unique needs and goals.

Here’s a breakdown of key components to consider:

Social Security

  • Eligibility: Age, work credits, and disability status determine your eligibility. Use the Social Security Administration’s online calculators to estimate your benefit amount.
  • Claiming strategies: Understand how choosing a claiming age (62–70) impacts your monthly benefit. Remember, Social Security alone may not cover all your expenses.

Retirement Savings

  • 401(k)s and IRAs: These tax-advantaged accounts offer different contribution limits and investment options. Explore your plan’s rules, fees, and withdrawal options. Consider consolidating accounts for easier management.
  • Pensions: If you have a traditional pension, estimate your potential monthly payout and understand any survivor benefits.

Long-Term Care Insurance

This insurance helps offset the cost of assisted living or skilled nursing, potentially saving you and your family significant expenses down the line. However, there are eligibility requirements, multiple coverage options and premiums to consider.

How To Ensure Smooth Transition to Senior Living

Moving to senior living is exciting, but it’s natural to feel some apprehension. By taking proactive steps and planning ahead, you can ensure a smooth transition into your new community.

Look at these practical steps to get you started:

Touring Communities

  • Ask questions: Explore dining options, resident activities, wellness programs, floor plans, and ask if they are a pet-friendly community. Get a feel for the community culture and resident engagement.
  • Compare features and amenities: Consider transportation options, area attractions, housekeeping services, social spaces, and outdoor areas. Be sure a potential community can provide everything you need for a convenient and active retirement lifestyle.
  • Trust your instincts: Visit multiple communities and choose the one that feels most welcoming and aligns with your personality and needs.

Open Communication With Family

  • Discuss preferences and priorities: Share your vision for your new lifestyle and desired level of involvement from family members.
  • Clarify decision-making roles: Establish who will be involved in key decisions and how you’ll navigate potential disagreements.


  • Start early: Give yourself ample time to downsize. Sort through belongings, donate items, and prepare your pet for their new home in senior living.
  • Get support: Involve family or friends in decluttering, or hire professional organizers for assistance. Consider hiring movers for heavy and bulky furniture, and schedule pickup for large donation items.
  • Process emotions: It’s natural to feel overwhelmed, but just remember downsizing is a small part of your retirement journey, and senior living is just the beginning of your most exciting chapter.

Connecting With the Community

  • Participate actively: Explore social events, clubs, and volunteer opportunities to connect with residents and staff.
  • Build relationships: Foster friendships with neighbors, and engage in shared interests.
  • Embrace new experiences: Step outside your comfort zone and try new activities to discover new passions.

Remember, planning for retirement is an empowering process. Take your time, gather information, and make choices that align with your unique needs and preferences. By starting early and planning proactively, you can ensure a fulfilling and secure retirement.

Searching for a Community That Checks All the Boxes?

Stop searching and start living! At Blakehurst, we understand the importance of finding the right fit. That’s why we offer a variety of floor plans to suit your lifestyle and retirement budget.

Contact us online or call 410-441-5996 to schedule your tour and discover the retirement lifestyle you’ve been looking for.