Florida loses ground as America’s retirement capital
By Danielle Rexrode
THE ERICKSON TRIBUNE
The Sunshine State is losing its luster as America’s top retirement destination. According to a study by The American City Business Journal, today’s retirees are thinking beyond traditional hot spots like Florida and putting higher emphasis on maintaining personal connections, like family, friends, and community.
Three retirement principles
While the media has long labeled Florida, Arizona, and California as the most popular retirement destinations, only about 4.5% of people over 60 actually move across state lines, says Chuck Longino, director of the Reynolda Gerontology Program at Wake Forest University.
Longino, who studies migration trends, has discovered three principles:
1. Regionally rooted people search for a retirement location only 30 to 50 miles away from where they have lived in order to stay close to friends, family, and patterns of life.
2. Proximity to a metropolitan area provides access to the amenities of a city while offering a relaxed, small-town style of life.
3. Regional retirement centers allow people to more easily maintain some degree of social continuity.
“People want the best of both worlds—a place without the hassles of city life, but with the lifestyles they’ve developed over the years,” Longino says.
Benefits of staying close to home
Maryland combines all three of Longino’s principles, appealing to people who have lived here their whole lives, as well as those who first retired elsewhere.
Audrey Soracoe of Charlestown, moved back to Maryland from Florida’s Palm Coast.
“I wanted to be close to my family,” says Audrey. “My son lives in Catonsville and now we’re only ten minutes from one another. I knew about Charlestown for a long time and chose it because of the lifestyle. There are so many activities and things to get involved in here,” she says.
No need to seek a warmer climate
Convenient access to amenities like a pool, fitness center, bank, and a convenience store are making retirement options like Charlestown and Oak Crest extremely popular. Winter weather, which once drove many Northerners to seek out a warmer climate, is no longer a concern when everything you need is under one roof.
Charlestown and Oak Crest’s integrated health care system, Erickson HealthSM, provides an advantage most communities don’t have: full-time physicians and medical professionals. Erickson Health physicians use Centricity, an advanced electronic medical records system. Such lifesaving technology is still not available in most doctors’ offices.
Could Maryland face a retirement crunch?
With Americans wanting and expecting more from their retirement, demand for options like Charlestown and Oak Crest could soon exceed supply. Over the next several years, the U.S. Census Bureau predicts that the number of people of retirement age living in the U.S. will double to 72 million. That means one in every five Americans will be 65 or older.
As one of the nation’s fastest-growing retirement markets, Maryland could be particularly hard hit. An aging population could lead to a shortage of local retirement options. With communities like Charlestown and Oak Crest growing in popularity and drawing an ever-greater number of people, Maryland residents who wait even a few years to start researching their options may find themselves forced to retire farther from home.
Which retirement destination is right for you?
• Sense of community: To get a sense of the community, read all the brochures, check out message boards, and pick up a copy of the local paper.
• Safety: The FBI’s Uniform Crime Reporting program releases annual data on crimes for nearly every jurisdiction in the country. Local police can provide more upto- date statistics.
Mind, body, soul
• Continuing education: Retirement is the perfect time to renew old interests or pursue new ones. What opportunities are available?
• Religion and spirituality: Will you have opportunities to continue your worship? Beliefnet, an Internet site, provides links to worship locators for all major forms of Christianity and Judaism.
• International transportation: Retirement is the ideal time to travel. Is your destination close to major airports?
Out and about
• Recreation: Will you have an opportunity to pursue your favorite outdoor and indoor activities, like biking, swimming, or hiking?
• Food: You probably won’t want to cook every night, so check out local dining options.
Compiled from aarpmagazine.org.