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It’s not always easy to know when it’s the the best time to move into a retirement community, and there is no one right answer for everyone. After all, age is just a number, and retirement comes at different times for everyone.

When to move into a retirement community is less of a date or time, but a stage in life, according to retirees and husband and wife Greg and Evie Hadley. The couple, who have been enjoying retirement in their own community for years, suggest the following two-part recommendation to those wondering when to make the move.

1. Make the move to retirement community living while you are still a couple

A story that is all too common is that couples near or at retirement age will consider making the move to a retirement community, but either the husband or wife is not completely on board. So, for the next few years or longer, the couple stays in their home until one passes away. Now, the decision is left to the one living spouse, who by now is not only suffering the effects of a loss, but also has aged a few more years.

According to the Hadleys, who have known many in this circumstance, the move is much tougher to make alone. Even the National Institute on Aging says making major life changes, including a move after the loss of a spouse, can make that loss more traumatic and moving more difficult.

By making the move while you are still a couple, you can enjoy the prospect of building a new future together. And when the time comes that one passes from this life, you will not have to worry about a move.

2. Do it while you are still able to deal with this major life change physically, emotionally and mentally

While the first part of the Hadleys' recommendation is key, there are many individuals who enter the retirement stage of life already single. And whether married or single, it is vital to be physically, emotionally and mentally able to deal with a move.

“People wait, procrastinate and dawdle until there is really no alternative left except leaving their home and moving to a place that provides required care,” the Hadleys said. “We have many examples of folks who were absolutely overwhelmed just by the thought of organizing a move out of their home. Not only do they now lack the skills to plan such an event, but they cannot bear the thought of leaving their 'stuff' and downsizing.

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“In this case, the move often becomes a major problem for their children and grandchildren. There is seldom a satisfactory outcome when new living arrangements become a requirement instead of a choice.”

By making the choice when you are still able to do so on your own, you can ensure that the retirement community where you may spend the rest of your days is one you chose, and not one that was chosen for you.

Summit Vista is a community that focuses on independent, active adults looking to make their bright future even brighter. For more information, go to summitvistalife.com.