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Retirement communities: Separating fact from fiction

Are you missing out on the best years of your life?

Created date

July 7th, 2015
Seabrook resident with dog
Seabrook resident with dog

With hundreds of choices, selecting the retirement community that best fits your needs and lifestyle can be overwhelming. But often, common myths about retirement communities can cloud your judgment.

So before you make up your mind whether a community like Seabr..., the Erickson Living community in Tinton Falls, N.J., is right for you, it’s important to make sure you have all the facts. Below, we clear up some common misconceptions about Seabrook and help shed light on what is fact and what is fiction. 

Fiction: “Staying in my house is what keeps me independent.”

Fact: Perhaps the biggest misconception ascribed to communities like Seabrook is they are places people move to when they can no longer live on their own. In other words, it’s for “old people.”  

On the contrary, most people who live at Seabrook wish they had moved sooner. That’s because Seabrook frees you from the year-round responsibilities of a house that hold you back from living your best life. 

“Here, there are so many people you can meet and opportunities to get involved,” says Maureen Sullivan, who moved to Seabrook with her husband Tom last year. 

At Seabrook, there are no lawns to mow, leaves to rake, or decks to maintain. It’s this maintenance-free aspect that relieves you of your everyday worries and instead lets you spend your free time doing what you want. 

With 120 resident-run activity groups and amenities like a fitness center, indoor swimming pool, physician-staffed medical center, chapel, and even college courses, it’s easy to nurture your physical, mental, and spiritual well-being.  

“We moved to Seabrook for well-being, security, and happiness,” Maureen says. “It’s a wonderful place to continue what activities I was already involved in and to begin new ones.”

Fiction: “Seabrook is for rich people.”

Fact: Compare your current cost of living with Seabrook’s inclusive monthly fee, and you might be surprised with what you find. Even if your mortgage is paid off, it’s not free to live in a house. Unpredictable maintenance, repairs, and upkeep are crucial in protecting the value of your property. Taxes, utilities, and insurance also add up. 

“As a homeowner,” says Jack Coogan, “you’re never quite sure when the furnace is going to go out or something like that.” Jack moved to Seabrook in 2010 from Spring Lake Heights and serves on the community’s finance committee.

Seabrook requires a refundable 90% entrance fee that protects your nest egg and one convenient monthly service package. By bundling all expenses—all utilities and maintenance, a flexible meal plan for the community’s five restaurants, use of all community amenities, full-time maintenance staff, and round-the-clock security—into themonthly service package, community members avoid unexpected costs and can trust their budget. 

The predictable monthly service package gives you greater control over your expenses. The refundable entrance fee allows you to secure your nest egg and promote a financial legacy for your family. 

“You know what your monthly costs are going to be. There are no hidden costs. There are no surprises,” says Jack.

At Seabrook, the monthly service package also includes each apartment home’s portion of property tax, which is divided among all residents based on apartment size and days of occupancy. This way, the tax is spread out over the entire year instead of cut into three large quarterly payments. And because residents are choosing a more manageable living space, their bill is significantly smaller in most cases than if they still lived in a large house. 

“Our residents pay property taxes only on their apartment home, but they can take advantage of all the amenities at Seabrook, like the fitness center and indoor pool, restaurants, convenience store, and activity rooms,” says Sales Manager Alexis Bouhoutsos.

Fiction: “If I move, I would have to give up my pets.”

Fact: Seabrook is a pet-friendly community featuring a dog park, pet club, and pet-friendly activities like the annual Strutt Your Mutt where dogs and cats parade and perform tricks.

“It’s wonderful to own a dog at Seabrook,” says Mary Alice Smith.

For the comfort of all neighbors, animals must remain on a leash whenever they are out of their homes. With the exception of assistance animals, pets are not allowed in indoor public spaces and are to remain in their residences. 

Fiction: “I’ve lived in my house for 40 years. It would be impossible to downsize to an apartment.” 

Fact: Concerns about downsizing are common. But don’t let those doubts keep you from discovering what could easily be some of the best years of your life. 

“For many people, the thought of moving from the house they raised their family in and parting with the possessions they’ve lived with for so many years can be intimidating. But those who have been through the experience will tell you, ‘It’s worth it,’” says Seabrook Personal Moving Consultant Laurie Williamson.

Williamson provides complimentary in-home consultations for members of the community’s priority list to assess their downsizing needs. She also works closely with accredited downsizing and staging professionals, senior move managers, real estate agents, and moving companies to facilitate a stress-free move. 

Williamson helped Lee Joslin move from her oceanfront home in nearby Belmar to Seabrook by assisting with furniture placement and downsizing. 

“The process of measuring furniture was a whole lot of fun and a wonderful service. You know ahead of time what you can bring and where it will go,” Lee says. “The sales office made my move much easier than it should have been.”