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New Retirees Take a Test Drive of Retirement Community Living

By Daniel @ LivingSenior - May 7, 2011

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There’s been a lot of talk lately about how the "Baby Boomers" are entering into retirement age. Most of the discussions have been centered around what this could mean for rising health care costs as more citizens become dependent on medical services. However, missing from these discussions is the issue of where will all these new retirees be living. If the estimates are right in the next ten to fifteen years there could be around 79 million new seniors looking to put down some new roots. Ironically, many retirement communities are experiencing a glut of vacant housing units. This is why some clever management companies have come up with the idea of a retirement "test drive".

With this plan, potential retirees can spend a weekend at a community of their choice to get a feel for the place. Special deals are being offered at communities in Arizona, California and Florida as retirement getaways. The idea behind these promotions is if a couple can spend a weekend in a model home they might just become convinced to move in.

One of the first retirement communities to try out this approach is the Trilogy at Monarch Dunes near San Luis Obispo, California. This is an idyllic beachfront community established for retirees who are 55 and older. Their package is a two-night all inclusive experience for $299 per person. Over in Palm Beach at the 55+ community Valencia Reserve they are offering a two-night, three-day stay and play getaway package for a very reasonable $99 a night.

Just because you’re getting a weekend away doesn’t mean you’re getting a weekend away from a sales pitch. Prospective buyers will most likely be asked to participate in a sales seminar to go over the potential details of a move-in. In Phoenix, the Pebble Creek Retirement Community has the weekend all planned out to include a one hour meeting with a sales associate, a special guided tour and a dinner with a resident couple.

This isn’t so much about a hard sales pitch as it is to give retirees a chance to really appreciate all the benefits of a chosen retirement community. If they are going through all the trouble of moving from their homes into one of these new neighborhoods, the last thing they should experience is buyer’s remorse.

Savvy retirees might just make an adventure out of these "test drives" by seeing how many they can fit into over the course of the summer. If there is no specific destination in mind why not try a bunch of communities out?

If you are considering one of these getaway weekends, make sure to arm yourself with plenty of questions about what each community has to offer their residents. This is especially important when it comes time to talk about the bottom line and discuss pricing. With a decision this important you don’t want to be surprised by any hidden costs or fees. And remember, just because you’re visiting a community and meeting some nice folks doesn’t mean you have to move in right away. Consider all your options with smart planning.