55 + communities in Florida

Dec 31st, 2006, 07:39 AM
  #1  
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55 + communities in Florida

Hi all,
I know this isn't really travel related but since we have so many posters that are knowledgable on Florida I thought I would take a chance. We are looking for a 55 + communities in Central Florida for my Mother In-law. We have found a few on our own but I was hoping for some more suggestions. We are stuck with a budget of 260K and she doesn't drive a car anymore but a golf cart is fine. She isn't as active as she would like to believe as she has a hip that bothers her so she uses a cane. In otherwords, she won't be doing all of the physical things but she does love to socialize. Thanks for all your help.
No_name is offline  
Dec 31st, 2006, 07:47 AM
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My main suggestion is to be sure to follow through on her future at whatever place you're looking at. Do they offer assisted living? Do they offer full nursing care? Nothing is worse than buying into a place and 6 months down the road finding she needs more assistance and that can't be gotten where you purchased. I like the places that offer easy transfers into greater care facilities -- particularly those that allow the resident to stay in her own place when moving on to assisted living.

By the way, I dreaded the day I had to look for a place for my mother, but after a visit to one place where we talked about putting her on a waiting list for the future, she called me a couple hours later and said, "I think we should take that one apt. they have now". You could have knocked me over with a feather. But she moved and never looked back, often saying it was the best move she ever did.
NeoPatrick is offline  
Dec 31st, 2006, 08:02 AM
  #3  
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Thanks for the quick reply. We have been looking for a while so we know all the things to ask. She isn't interested in anything that also offers assisted living. She wants a single family home and loves what 55+ communities offer (club house, restaurant, bridge clubs, get togethers etc) Unfortunatly that 260 budget doesn't go too far. She wants a house with up grades and what we have found is her average upgrade package of what she would like runs about 30K. We have seen Lake Ashton in Lake Wales which is a bit pricey because there is no shuttle and we would have to budget for a taxi for her to get her nails and hair done, go to the grocery store, pharmacy and whatever other things might pop up that she needs. We also saw Kings Gate in Port Charlotte which we liked a lot but she didn't. It was too "hot" looking.
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Dec 31st, 2006, 08:56 AM
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The Villages (on the north side of Leesburg) might fit the bill. You can go practically everywhere in a golf cart plus there is a bus shuttle service. However, for 260k, she will probably have to go for one of the smaller townhome type properties. And the monthly fees may be off-putting. But it's a VERY sociable place. Plus there are a gazillion shops, restaurants, etc. that she can get to without driving.

My mother lives in the Plantation, which likes to bill itself as The Villages without the congestion. However, while it's a very beautiful community, you can't live there without driving. You can go everywhere within the community in a golf cart, but it doesn't have the onsite services/amenities the Villages can offer.

NP's suggestion about looking to the future is a good one. My parents were fine for several years with their home at the Plantation, but then my father died 2 years ago. Now my mother feels it's too much for her and she's worried about the days ahead when she won't be able to drive. So she's looking into communities that offer that independent/assisted/nursing home continuity back in Pennsylvania. She's very interested in Cornwall Manor, but there is a pretty long waiting list for the type of unit she wants.
BTilke is offline  
Jan 1st, 2007, 05:23 AM
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Thanks BT. I have info coming from The Villages and just from looking at the website it looks like something worth considering.
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Jan 1st, 2007, 06:20 AM
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We just had guests who live in Solavita (sp? in Kissimmee. They love it there!
thurstonbb is offline  
Jan 1st, 2007, 10:14 AM
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One other thing: how old is your MiL? More and more, it seems like the 55+ communities (at least in Florida) are splitting into two groups...those that cater to younger retirees (55 to say 65, and often with one of the spouses being under 55) and those that have more residents in their late 60s and beyond. My mother has noticed that the demographics of her community is shifting toward the younger retirees, people building bigger, more expensive homes with lots more amenities (private pools, 3 car garages, etc) than in the older sections of the community, where the houses are smaller and most people (who tend to be 70+) use the community pools (which are very good).
So...make sure your MiL gets a good feel for the type of people living in the communities she finds attractive as well as the quality of the houses and amenities.
BTilke is offline  
Jan 1st, 2007, 03:32 PM
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Thanks thurstonbb and BT. I have something coming from Solavita. It looks great.
BT its funny you bring up that point about the age differences happening at those places. We have seen it too and it has been a big part of our talks. She is on the 70+ side but wants to believe she looks and acts under 60 (she doesn't though). Its been challenging to say the least. I appreciate all of the suggestions.
No_name is offline  
Jan 1st, 2007, 04:48 PM
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I have been reading this thread and thought that your MIL must be in the 55ish age group. But now that I see she is 70+, I thought I would add my 2 cents.

Please try to show her the wisdom of planning ahead. It is very difficult to have to move when you are this age. If she lives in a private residence and then at some point in the future she needs to move to a place with more help...it will be all the harder. And there are waiting lists for the nicer places, so she may be forced to go somewhere not as nice as she'd want or have to wait. And there is the issue of her settling in to a new place each time she needs a change in the level of care.

My MIL lives in an "independent living" townhouse in Apopka. There is also assisted living and nursing home levels there as well. When the time comes for her to have to move up a level of care, she is in the same surroundings with the same people she already knows and will have less trauma making the adjustment.

She had surgery during the summer and was able to go into the nursing home part until she was able to go back to living in her own home. That was a big help.

The truth is hard for our parents to accept, but they will need more and more assistance and care. That is not the question; the question is sooner or later. No one knows when they will have a change in their health and it is in her best interest to be in a place that would suit her needs now, but in the future as well.

There was a similar thread on here a while back. I will try to find it and let you see what others offerred.

I wish you luck, it is not easy dealing with parents. Role reversal starts now.

Debi
DebitNM is offline  
Jan 1st, 2007, 05:10 PM
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Here are those old threads -- they are not exactly the same question as you ask BUT they will give you some insight into what lies ahead and why your MIL needs to think about what is best for her in the long run.


http://www.fodors.com/forums/threads...4&tid=34899540

http://www.fodors.com/forums/threads...4&tid=34899537

Hope this helps...
Debi
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Jan 2nd, 2007, 04:48 AM
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Thanks Debi. It helps very much. We have talked with her about what the future but she is dead set on living on her own (which she has done since her husband died last Feb) and does not want to be (and she does not need it yet) in a place with assisted living options. Back home she does have a good group of friends and they are all about 20 years younger than she and she claims that is what keeps her young, lol. We are just having a tough time finding places she likes and can afford. Thats why I was hoping maybe there were some other places out there that I haven't found.
No_name is offline  
Jan 2nd, 2007, 05:23 AM
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You say she doesn't need assisted living "YET". That does not mean she wouldn't benefit from being in a community that offers all levels of care. After my mother died, we moved my father into an over 55 community in Pennsylvania. He was in totally independent living. He had his own apartment and cooked his own meals, etc.
Then he had some surgery and needed to move up to the assisted living section. He still had his own apartment, but meals were provided and someone checked on him every two hour and they gave him his medication.
Then he fell and broke his hip. He then moved up to the "skilled nursing" section for what we thought would only be rehab, but it turned out he needed to stay there because he could not get around on his own. We felt awful, but he told us he was grateful to be there. He said he felt "safer" and well cared for. If he had not been in a community that provided "continuous care", we would have had to move him to three different communities. That would have been tramatic for both him and us. Sadly, my father passed away this past September, but he was around people who knew him and cared for him right up to the end.
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Jan 2nd, 2007, 05:41 AM
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I simply say yet because who knows what is in the future. Even her doctors agree she is in great health. She has never broken a bone, had a surgery and we don't remember that last time she had a cold. She only takes Fosomax(sp) as far as medications goes.
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Jan 2nd, 2007, 06:34 AM
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My point was my mother was like that too. And she moved into a community with multiple levels of care. She was in completely independent living. But three years later when she needed some assistance, I am so thrilled she could stay in her same place and the assistance could be added, rather than say, "OK, Mom, now you've got to leave this great place and all the friends you've made so we can get you more care somewhere else". That's the real issue here.
More and more these communities have two or even three different levels of service so that they can remain with friends. That's the only type place I'd consider for a 70Plus mother!
NeoPatrick is offline  
Jan 2nd, 2007, 06:44 AM
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I think you both may be missing the first phase of these communities.

Independent living is exactly as schmerl said -- there own individual unit [could be house, townhouse, condo like apartment ] where they are for all intents and purposes living on their own. They fix their own meals, come and go as they please. No assistance is provided except as they wish: my MIL get her home cleaned everyweek and chooses to eat 1 meal at day at the dining room in the main building.

If you find the right place, there will be lots of others living in similar conditions and she will still have a wordl of friends and activities.

The assistance only starts when she needs it.

My MIL is 92 and also never had as much as a cold and took no medicine. At 90 she was watering a house plant and tipped over holding the gallon jug of water [she is about 4'6" tall and weighs about 90 lbs] and broke her leg. That was the first time she had any kind of real medical need.

From that point, it was decided that driving was no longer viable for her and as she was living on a second floor condo, she needed to be somewhere where she had no steps and had transportation available to her. Luckily, my SIL found this place and she was able to move in quickly.

All I am saying is that being prepared for the inevitable will make both of your lives better and easier.

Again, the first phase is truly independent and is just like living in any other over 55 community.

Hope this helps...
Debi
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Jan 2nd, 2007, 07:16 AM
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Thanks again Deb. I do get your point and understand all of the options out there as we have been searching for about 6 months now. My MIL is just very insistant that she does not go somewhere that offers different levels of assisted living. I personally think she is a little vain and thinks she is not as old as "those people". She only wants to be around people who are all independent and live in a place that only focuses on independent living. Her sons would like for her to move to a place that has those options but she is 100% completely against it. There is no talking her into it. Lake Ashton was ideal but she would have to drive. She was in a car accident a couple of years ago where a man went through a red light and smacked into the side of her car. It frightened her to the point she doesn't not like to drive on roads that have speed limits over 40 miles per hour. The only reason she is moving is to be closer to her sons. She is moving from an area in Michigan that is a beautiful small town and she could get around in it with her eyes closed.
No_name is offline  
Jan 2nd, 2007, 07:22 AM
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I know what you mean about the vanity thing. My partner's mother was invited to a dinner at a very posh high rise by good friends who had just moved there. It was independent living but also had assisted living and even an attached full nursing facility. The place really was deluxe and the friends were hoping she'd move it. But she said, "it's nice, but there's no way I could live surrounded by all these old people all the time." She was 92 at the time and it great health. She died the following year.
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