5 Affordable Alternatives to Retirement Homes

At this point in your life, you’ve likely spent decades preparing for retirement. You have a retirement fund, perhaps even an accountant to manage it and a home that is perfect for your golden years. But what if you don’t want to spend your later years in isolation?

What if you want to continue interacting with people, making new friends and staying active? A retirement home might be the right choice for your future. However, they can also be quite expensive. Luckily, there are affordable alternatives to retirement homes that can help you achieve a balanced lifestyle while remaining fiscally responsible.

1) Travel

Traveling not only exposes you to new cultures and lifestyles, but it also provides health benefits as well. Traveling helps build new relationships, relieves stress, increases exercise, improves mental health and even encourages you to eat healthier as you’re more aware of what you consume.

There are a variety of ways to fund your travels, such as setting up a travel fund, working part-time or even applying for travel scholarships. Additionally, if you’re retired, you may be able to apply for discounted or free travel programs for seniors. If you’re able to save up enough, traveling abroad is an affordable way to enjoy your golden years while getting away from the cold.

Alternatively, if you’d like to travel closer to home, visiting nearby attractions, cultural sites and famous landmarks can be an affordable way to stay engaged with society and enjoy your retirement years. Though you may not build as many new relationships, you’ll gain valuable insight into the society and culture around you.

2) Elderly-Friendly Apartments

If you don’t have family nearby to help you out while you’re in retirement, an elderly-friendly apartment could be the perfect solution. These types of apartments boast amenities like ground-floor entrances and wheelchair access to help you remain independent and active as you age. In addition to accessibility, elderly-friendly apartments often include services like meal preparation, cleaning and transportation to help you save money and remain healthy.

However, before you sign a lease on an apartment, make sure it’s the right fit for you. You should feel welcome and safe in your new home, so be sure to inspect the neighborhood and amenities in person before signing a lease. Most importantly, you should feel like you’ve made the right decision for your future.

3) Taking Classes

If you’re feeling active in retirement and would like to spend your time doing something productive, consider taking a class. Not only will you be remaining engaged with your peers and society, but you’ll also be gaining valuable skills that you can use in your retirement. From photography classes to foreign language classes, there are a variety of subjects that you can explore.

However, be sure to look for classes that are elderly-friendly and allow you to take your time and make mistakes. If you have a passion that isn’t offered at your school, don’t be afraid to start a club or have one of your peers teach you something new. Alternatively, you could create a skill that can be used to financially support yourself.

4) Helping Others

If you’d like to engage with society, but you don’t want to commit to a class, you can always volunteer at a local organization. From animal shelters to retirement homes, there are a variety of organizations that could use your help. Not only will you be assisting others, but you’ll also be enriching your own life at the same time. Helping others, especially those in need, can be a very rewarding experience, and it can be done in your own time and on your schedule.

However, you may wish to investigate organizations that are elderly-friendly, as many senior citizens do not have the same energy level as you do. Organizations like the Humane Society or Meals on Wheels are great places to start but don’t be afraid to ask around and do some research to find the right fit for you.

5) Going on Tours and Visiting Culture Sites

If you’re more interested in culture than helping others, then you can always find tours and events that focus on learning more about different cultures. From Chinese New Year celebrations to African dance festivals, many events and tours are offered locally. Some of these tours are free, and others may be affordable, depending on the event.

Alternatively, you can visit cultural sites in your city to learn more about the history and people around you. Museums, art galleries, monuments and even houses of historical significance are great places to start. You can also look into lectures offered by local universities to gain insight into different cultures without having to travel far away.