By Barbara Thompson, Senior Care Advocate

If you are thinking of retiring soon, it is important to start thinking about your different choices when it comes to housing, location to live and your future wants and needs. This may seem overwhelming but, in choosing Mesa as your preferred destination for retirement, you’ve set yourself up for a comfortable, happy retirement.

Many seniors flock down to Arizona every year to get away from the harsh, cold winters of the North.

These so-called “snowbirds” usually go home when spring returns, but Mesa, AZ is an amazing place to call home – whether you stay for the winter or live here full time.

The Benefits of Living in Mesa for Seniors

As a town, Mesa offers senior-oriented community amenities that might interest you. These community centers offer services to enrich your life and assist with resources for those who need help.

The Mira Mesa Senior Center, for example, offers the following services:

  • Health and wellness initiatives for seniors, such as a daily nutritious lunch and Medicare counseling
  • A course on using technology so seniors can keep up with the changing tech landscape
  • Education and advocacy efforts like consumer health legal advice and elder law programs
  • Recreational activities like square dancing, tai chi, gardening, bingo and many other classes

Mesa is also an affordable place to live and has tax protections for seniors who want to make this community their home. For homeowners 65 years of age or older, Arizona’s Seniors Valuation Protection Law limits the amount of property tax that can be collected on a home to 1% of the property’s cash value. This helps to ensure your taxes don’t suddenly become more than you can handle.

Additionally, social security is not taxable in Arizona. This means you can keep the entirety of this benefit once you start receiving it. Groceries are also tax-exempt in Arizona. This can produce major savings for seniors, since they typically allocate a significant portion of their budget to groceries.

What is a Retirement Community?

A retirement community, also referred to as an active adult living community, is the premiere living option choice for seniors who want to maintain their independence and have access to amenities, but do not want to be responsible for home and lawn maintenance. These real estate communities are “age-restricted” or “age-qualified,” which means that everyone who lives there is at least 55 years old.

Some of the amenities offered in retirement communities include:

  • Common area maintenance
  • Exterior building maintenance
  • Limited insurance
  • Sewer
  • Roof maintenance
  • Termite extermination, if needed

When visiting and choosing one of these communities, be sure to ask your real estate agent about a homeowners association (HOA) fee in a given community. Some communities also offer cover water and cable expenses through the HOA fee. HOA fees need to be accounted when calculating your overall housing budget.

Real Estate Agents and Retirement Communities

Real estate agents can help you understand the senior housing options available to you in Mesa. They can help ensure the retirement communities you are interested in include homes designed to meet your present and future needs. Importantly, real estate agents can identify homes built with Universal Design principles in mind.

Universal design homes are homes built with the changing needs of seniors in mind when it comes to design. Examples of amenities found in these homes include no step entryways, one story floor plans, wider doorways, open floor plans with extra floor space, and bathrooms that are senior-friendly.

Other Senior Living Options in Mesa, AZ

Retirement communities are not for everyone, and your real estate agent can help you identify the most appropriate senior living option for you. For example, a retirement home may not be the best option for a senior who expects they will one day require assistance with activities of daily living – such as managing their medications, bathing or being able to keep up with general housework.

For these seniors, one of the many different assisted living facilities in Mesa may be the better option. These facilities have an average monthly cost of $3,250, which is lower than the Arizona average cost of $3,800 per month. Your real estate agent can help you work through the different financing options available to you, if needed. Other senior living options in Mesa include homemaker services, adult health day care or nursing home services.

If you have any questions at all about your senior living options in Mesa, AZ a realtor is a great place to start  – we’re here, ready to help!