Home nursing care: a guide to condo retirement living

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Retirement is full of opportunities, with many people choosing to purchase a condo in their home town or across the country. While there will always be financial and lifestyle challenges to overcome when you stop working, retirement is a special time that should be treasured and enjoyed. People are living longer and healthier lives than ever before, so you can look forward to active and independent living for years to come.

Rather than holding onto your family home for longer than necessary, or moving prematurely to a retirement home, more people are deciding to buy a condo and take advantage of home nursing care. Regardless of where you want to live, there is a growing network of specialized support services available to retirees. 

From standard condos and 55+ retirement communities through to niche communities and continuing care, it's easier than ever to find the support you need in the location you deserve.

Retirement and the condo lifestyle

Condominiums are often associated with young people and inner-city living, with a number of projects springing up across North America. Condos are also very retiree-friendly, however, with a growing number of specialized communities catering to the growing demographic. Rather than a type of building, a condo is a special type of ownership arrangement that involves ownership of an individual unit along with shared access to community areas and assets.

While you own the unit outright, you are obliged to pay monthly condo fees for building maintenance and amenities. The condo lifestyle can be ideal during retirement, with the social nature of many communities and lack of building maintenance both big drawcards. Condos also make it easier and more affordable for people to live in desirable locations, with many condos located in trendy inner-city neighborhoods or peaceful beachside towns. 

A number of towns and regions across America have decided to embrace retirees and the condo lifestyle, with Florida as the obvious example. While retirees can choose to live in standard condos, specialized retirement condos offer a number of advantages. 

There are age restrictions in many of these communities, with people benefiting from easier access to nursing care, age-specific amenities and clubs, and tighter rules and regulations.    

  • Age restrictions - Retirement condos are called 55+ communities for good reason, with age restrictions applied and only a limited number of people under 55 years allowed resident status. This restriction ensures age continuity among residents.

  • Access to home nursing care - While home nursing care is available anywhere, retirement condos often have existing arrangements with care providers. Depending on the condo in question, this can lead to lower prices and easier access.

  • Amenities and clubs - Retirement condos are likely to include age-specific amenities and social clubs, including sporting amenities such as lawn bowls, and social clubs based around popular activities.

  • Rules and regulations - Dedicated retirement condos often have tighter rules and regulations regarding noise levels, pet ownership, and overnight guest restrictions. While not popular among everyone, these restrictions can lead to a better community life.  

What is home nursing care?

Home nursing care is a valuable resource for people who live independently but still need a little extra help. Rather than moving to a retirement home prematurely, more retirees from the US and Canada are choosing to use home nursing services. Also known as in-home nursing care, this level of support is ideal for retirees who want to live an active and healthy lifestyle for as long as possible.

Home nursing care involves professional support and medical care by licensed healthcare professionals. While this type of care is often used while someone makes a transition from hospital or into a retirement home, it is also available on a long-term basis as an alternative to full-time residential support services.

Home nursing care is a type of formal outpatient care, and can be distinguished from non-medical or private-duty home care. Healthcare professionals who provide home nursing can be employed in isolation or together with non-medical caregivers. This service is available from a number of companies across the United States and Canada, with flexible care packages available based on your healthcare needs. 

Depending on the company in question and the needs of the patient, support may be available from licensed nurses, registered nurses, physical therapists, occupational therapists, and social workers.

Doctors do not normally form part of a formal home care package, although they may be available for home visits when required. Home nursing care can be privately funded and may also be available through government or insurance funds depending on local and state laws. Regardless of who pays for this important service, home nursing care inspires independent living and is an affordable alternative to retirement homes or full-time residential care.

Common home nursing care tasks

Home nursing tasks are often distinguished as either activities of daily living (ADL) or instrumental activities of daily living (IADL). ADL refers to the patient's capacity for self care, with IADL referring to the patient's ability to live independently in the community. Depending on the level of care needed and the professionals involved, home nursing care may include the following services:

  • medical assessment

  • psychological assessment

  • medication administration, education, and reminders

  • pain management

  • physical therapy

  • occupational therapy

Home nursing care vs regular home care

In order to research and compare home nursing care packages, it's important to make a clear distinction between home nursing care and regular home care. Home nursing care is a form of home health care, which is medical and clinical in nature. 

In contrast, regular home care is non-clinical and does not include any medical services. Home health care normally involves a registered nurse and can also involve many other trained healthcare professionals.

  • Home nursing professionals can administer a full range of medications. Regular home carers can only remind people to take their medications.

  • Home nursing professionals can provide physical and occupational therapies. Regular home carers can help people with everyday physical challenges.  

  • Home nursing care is covered by insurance programs such as Medicare and Medicaid. Regular home care is always privately funded. 

Living options for home nursing

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As a retired person looking into home nursing care, there are lots of living options available

While the place you live and the care you require are not necessarily linked, retirement condos can make it easier and more affordable to access the care you need. Home nursing professionals can and do visit people in a range of living situations, including existing family homes, standard condos, rented accommodation, retirement condos, niche retirement communities, continuing care, and more.

Let's take a look at your living options as a retiree who wants to live an independent lifestyle and access home nursing care.

Existing home

Living in your existing family home is a perfectly valid choice as you pass the age of retirement. While there can be challenges when it comes to building maintenance and cleaning, it's hard to beat a home that you already know and love. If you decide to stay put, you need to ensure your long-term finances and ongoing access to support. As your existing home is likely to be close to friends and family, you may have less need for home nursing or standard care services.

Standard condo

Downsizing from your family home to a condo is a popular and clever choice for many retirees. There are more condos out there than ever, so you can move across town or follow the sun across the country. While there's lots of great locations in North America, retiring to Europe is also a great option. Moving into a standard condo can be challenging, however, with condos not always catering to the needs of retirees and different age groups often creating problems.    

Retirement condo

A specialized retirement condo is the choice of many, with these condos also called 55+ retirement communities. Unlike a standard condo, a retirement condo has been designed to meet the needs of retirees from the outset; from age and noise restrictions through to special clubs and age-specific amenities. Home nursing care may be easier to organize when you live in a retirement community, with management boards often having existing arrangements with care services.

Rental arrangement

While buying a condo provides you with a greater degree of financial freedom and control, many retirement communities also allow people to rent an apartment. Also known as rented co-housing, this allows a broad range of retirees to have access to age appropriate amenities and social support systems. While you won't be able to build equity or sublet your unit as you chase the sun around the world, you can still live independently, access home nursing care, and become part of a retirement community.

Niche retirement community

A niche retirement community is a community that has developed around specific interests or common goals. For example, there are some retirement communities based around artistic endeavours, some based around participation in a nude lifestyle, and others based around military history or trade union membership. While these communities are similar to other retirement projects, they may have more restrictive membership criteria and more specific amenities.  

Natural communities and villages

A natural occurring retirement community, or NORC, is a community of older people that has developed organically in a specific neighborhood. While this is the dream of many, it only happens in very specific communities or by accident. If you want to buy a standard condo or retirement condo and live among other retirees, there are certain neighbourhoods in Florida and elsewhere which have become famous for hosting a higher-than-average proportion of retirees. The "village" or "golden girls" model is similar, with elderly residents who live nearby sometimes organizing home nursing care together in order to save money and improve access to services.  

Continuing care environments

A continuing care retirement community, or CCRC, offers a continuum of care for people as their needs change over time. CCRCs are normally larger communities with multiple buildings, with some residents living totally independently and others requiring assisted or full-time home care. CCRCs can be much more expensive than other retirement condo communities, with a graduated price and care plan available based on need. Saying that, however, CCRCs also provide the most comprehensive level of support, along with the security and safety net that comes with living in the same location as you age.

Benefits of condo living during retirement

Regardless of your age or where you choose to retire, the condo lifestyle offers many benefits during the later years of your life. In many ways, buying a retirement condo provides you with the perfect balance between independent living and support. While some retirees move directly to a retirement home after they sell their family home, this transition is not ideal for everyone.

People are living longer and healthier lives than ever before, and are likely to experience decades of active and independent living after they stop working. Rather than moving to a retirement home earlier than you need to, it's important to weigh up your options and find the perfect solution based on your financial and healthcare needs. 

Dedicated retirement condos offer a number of benefits, including less maintenance, greater access to amenities, and the ability to live in a desirable location.

The age-restricted nature of these communities can be a great advantage to retirees who are looking to make new friends and enjoy increased socialization. Loneliness and isolation can be very real issues after you retire, with 55+ condos and home nursing care helping you to connect with an active community while getting the support you need to live a long and healthy life.

Let's take a look at the many benefits of buying a retirement condo.  

  • Cost - Purchasing a condo is more affordable than buying a detached home. While retirement communities are often more expensive than standard condos, they can save you a lot of time and money in the long run. For example, retirement condos often include their own social clubs and recreational amenities, along with cheaper access to home nursing care and other support structures.

  • Location - Retirement condos are often situated in beautiful or desirable locations. Whether it's a beach in Florida, a mountain retreat, or a trendy inner- city neighborhood, moving to a condo is a great way to experience expensive and exclusive areas that you may not otherwise be able to afford. For example, while buying a single detached home in downtown San Diego is out of reach for most people, a condo purchase is much more accessible.   

  • Amenities - Retirement condos allow retirees to access a wide range of high quality and age-specific amenities. From sporting amenities that promote an active lifestyle through to social amenities and shared living spaces, many of the things you need on a daily basis will become part of your community. Some retirement condos even include commercial and healthcare amenities such as beauty salons, hairdressers, and massage therapists.

  • Community support - Moving to a retirement condo can have a very positive effect on your quality of life. Retirement condos often include their own social clubs and support systems, with a variety of activities taking place in-house and regular day trips available to local attractions. Retirement condos often have age restrictions in place, which makes it easier to connect with people in a similar age bracket.

  • Lifestyle - Living in a retirement condo is all about the lifestyle, with access to amenities providing you with an opportunity to live an active and social life. Condo living also involves very little maintenance, with cleaning and other tasks taken care of by the condo board in exchange for monthly condo fees. In a typical condo arrangement, residents are only required to look after the interior of their own unit, which means there’s more time available to enjoy your life.

Choosing your ideal retirement location

Deciding where you want to retire is critical, with your new location likely to affect your finances and lifestyle for years to come. North America is blessed with lots of amazing retirement destinations, from rural hideaways through to seaside towns and vibrant cities. 

While everyone has different needs and lifestyle preferences, most people will need to make similar compromises when comparing retirement locations.   

Home vs away

The first choice you have to make is whether you want to retire close to home or in a new location. There are pros and cons associated with each approach, with each person needing to make their own choice based on their financial and lifestyle needs. Retiring in your home town may seem boring, but it offers plenty of advantages.

First and foremost, you're likely to stay in contact with friends and family, who can be a great source of practical and emotional support. While retirement condos can be a great way to make new friends, leaving your existing support network behind is not always a good idea. When you retire close to home, you're also likely to be familiar with local neighborhoods and property prices, which can help you to make clever real estate decisions.  

Moving away from home is not all bad news, however, with sunny weather and picturesque locations often too hard to resist. Moving across the country to retire is a dream for many, with an increasing number of North Americans going even further by retiring in South America or Europe. If you do want to move away from home to retire, it's important to research locations carefully and spend some time on the ground to get a feel for your new potential home.

Price vs lifestyle

All real estate decisions involve a compromise between affordability and desirability. While the very rich may be lucky enough to have it all, most people need to make decisions based on financial and lifestyle considerations. In most cases, living in a large city will be more expensive than living in a small town. Particular neighborhoods in the inner-city will be more expensive again, which is why so many retirement condos are located in outer suburbs or smaller towns.

Accessibility is an important issue as you get older, with public transportation, congestion, and commute times all needing to be addressed. While there are many affordable condos located in out-of-the-way locations, you need to make sure that you can easily leave the area when required. 

Other than trains and buses, you should also think about proximity to shops, restaurants, recreation spaces, and entertainment venues. While many condo communities offer day trips to neighbouring towns and attractions, independent transportation is also important.  

Retirement towns across Florida are popular for a very good reason, with retirees able to access affordable housing in a location with great weather and a desirable lifestyle. Not everyone wants to move to Florida, however, with people also choosing to move abroad in order to find affordable condos and a lower cost of living. 

From Mexico and Costa Rica through to Portugal and Italy, the world seems to be getting smaller all the time. Most people will have to make a compromise between price and location somewhere along the way, so think long and hard about what's important to you and what you're willing to sacrifice in order to get it.    

Independence vs healthcare support

Retirement is a special time of your life that comes with many opportunities and challenges. As you get older, it's important to make sure you have access to healthcare and professional support services when needed. You don't want to age faster than you have to, however, which is why it's also important to protect your independence for as long as possible.

Finding the perfect balance between independence and support is the key to every good retirement, which is why retirement condos make such a good investment. You can live in your own place for as long as possible, but without the headaches and excessive maintenance often associated with home ownership. Paying monthly condo fees allows you to avoid things like mowing the lawn and cleaning the gutters, giving you more time to sit back and enjoy your new lifestyle.

Home nursing care is an important piece of the puzzle, because it allows you to live in your own home while getting the support you need and deserve. A wide range of home nursing services are available across the United States and Canada, so you can choose flexible care packages and options based on your unique healthcare needs. In-home nursing care is covered by many insurance programs, with people able to add or take away services based on need.

Do you want to stay in your current home and waste your life on cleaning and maintenance? Are you ready to move into a retirement home and give up your independence? An increasing number of people are saying no to both of these questions as they look for a valid alternative.

Buying a retirement condo and taking advantage of home nursing care is a clever solution that allows you to live an active and independent life as you age gracefully and enjoy your golden years.