• If you’re aging single, or your kids are grown and you’re tired of tending to the yard and doing constant home upkeep, why not look at some interesting alternative ways to live?

    For instance, did you know that you can actually live aboard a cruise ship and that the cost is comparable to an assisted living facility?

    How about getting a place together with several of your friends and having a girls’ night, every night? Have you considered life as an expatriate in a tropical paradise? You will be surprised to find out how affordable and stress-free that type of life can be!

    Do your homework, and keep your mind open to possibilities that you’ve never considered before. As the young folks say, you only live once!

    Cruising Through Life

    Amazingly, life on a cruise ship is a great way to travel while taking advantage of amenities quite similar to those of an assisted living facility. Nearly all cruise ships offer all-inclusive plans that include meals, and there any many entertainment and exercise opportunities. Swimming pools and well-equipped fitness rooms are a fixture of most cruises, as are live music, shows and games. Plus, ships have onboard doctors.

    Cruising costs are typically lower than what you’d pay in an assisted living facility. Consider that the average cost of assisted living is about $3,750 per month, though the costs vary widely by state. Cruises average less than $100 per night. Longer cruises offer even larger discounts, and often a couple’s discount for two people traveling together. There are also senior discounts, discounts for frequent cruisers, and points that you can stack up on a credit card. Be sure to check with the cruise line to see if they allow long-term passengers or sign up for an around the world voyage that lasts several months. For even more travel variety, you can try different cruises from the same departure point that travel to varied ports of call.

    Endless Girls’ (or Boys’) Nights

    Another alternative that people don’t often think of is sharing a home with some friends, Golden Girls style. A recent UCLA study points out that one in three baby boomers is unmarried, making this a growing trend. If you are divorced or widowed with several friends in the same situation – why not move in together? It will afford you companionship, fun, and assistance when needed. If one of you has a home that is conducive to home sharing, the others can simply pay rent. Or, you can each sell your homes and possessions and find something that suits all of your lives perfectly.

    A large condo near the beach, perhaps? Let someone else do all the yard work and keep the pool sparkling. Your only job will be deciding what’s for breakfast and how long to stay in the sun.

    Don’t have any suitable housemates? Check into senior home share programs to find some. The obvious benefit of this type of arrangement is the lowered cost for each participant.

    Road Tripping

    Love to get in the car and just drive? Did you ever consider making that your new retirement lifestyle? If nothing is holding you in the town where you live, why not get out the maps and plot your journeys?

    The great thing about road trips is that they can be different things to different people. If you love camping, buying an RV and making friends in campgrounds around the country might be to your liking.

    Alternatively, if you enjoy creature comforts and hate bugs, driving your luxury SUV to well-appointed hotels around the country might work best. Either way, you can stop to see the sights on your journey that you’ve always wanted to visit. Better yet, the costs will most likely be less than living in a traditional assisted living facility.

    House Swapping

    Have you always wondered what it would be like to live in a certain state or a particular town, or even overseas? House swapping for baby boomers gives you lots of options. After all, there is likely someone out there interested in finding out what living in your area is like, but not as a tourist.

    Swapping homes gives you the opportunity to stay where you want with limited or no added costs. Of course, most baby boomers are empty nesters with lots of flexibility, making it easier to work out exchanges.

    Moving to Paradise

    Aside from just visiting somewhere tropical or amazingly historical, you might decide you’d love to live there. Growing numbers of American seniors are now opting to relocate outside of the United States, to great tropical areas like the Bahamas, coastal Mexico, Belize, and Costa Rica.

    There are also large numbers of expatriates in countries like Germany, Japan, and the United Kingdom. Most seniors cite the cost of living in these countries as one of their biggest considerations before making a move, with rent and utilities averaging less. Additionally, many boomers find that hiring help in some areas is quite affordable, allowing them to relax and let someone else do the cooking, cleaning, and laundry. Of course, you can’t overlook the amazing scenery and culture in many of the places that are burgeoning with expats, as well as the wealth of activities available.

    Look at all of your options before deciding on moving to an assisted living facility. You just might find that you’d prefer lying on a beach under swaying palms!

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    Article by: Lisa Cini

    Lisa Cini, senior living designer for more than three decades, regarded as the leading Alzheimer's and long-term care design expert in the nation is available to share advice and the latest technologies for aging and excelling at home from her books: The Future is Here: Senior Living Re-imagined, and Hive: The Simple Guide to Multigenerational Living, and BOOM: The Baby Boomers Guide to Leveraging Technology, so that you can Preserve Your Independent Lifestyle & Thrive.

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