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Retiring Differently on Florida's Gulf Coast
Bill Black: No it's not a contradiction - active retirement is the wave of the future for today's retirees. Loathe to call themselves "seniors," today's 55+ crowd is more dynamic, healthy and involved than ever before. Looking for ways to fully embrace this new hard-earned stage of their lives, our elders are not being wheeled complacently into dimly lit retirement homes. Instead, finally free of the responsibilities of family and working life, this crowd demands a high quality lifestyle and a passionately active retirement.

Drawn by the temperate sub tropical climate, lazy beaches and a range of innovative golfing communities, boating communities, and senior independent living communities that have sprung up all over the SouthWest of the panhandle, Florida remains the number one retirement destination in America. These new Active Retirement Communities are a far cry from the nursing homes of yore. They typically don't provide health services or any assistance with daily living. They may be age restricted or multi generational, they may also offer community activities, social events, and easy access to personal services such as meals, laundry, and housekeeping. People who choose to be part of these communities are fully independent, vital and generally enjoy being active.

Some things to consider when choosing your retirement community:

-Communal Space: how big is it and what services are offered? communal space can range from a shared lounge to an entire community center complete with gourmet restaurant. An extensive or elaborate communal space with services you appreciate will enrich your social life, but also impact the overall cost of your home.

-Personal Services: what services, if any are offered by the community? Meals, spa services, and housekeeping may all be part of the package. Decide which services, if any you want access to and make this a firm part of your decision. If meals are important to you - make sure to find out how good the food is!

-Facilities: What irresistible extras are built right into the community itself? Are there fitness and recreational facilities, gardens, a marina or golf course that you simply love?

-Social Activities: are there organized or community activities? If so, do they suit your interests?

-Values: does the community have a stated mission and if so, does it mesh with your personal values?


-Pets: while a restriction on pets will be a breath of fresh air for those with allergies, pet lovers need to seek out homes that embrace their furry friends.

Climate

-Demographics: Check the demographics of the area. Chances are that a large 55+ population points to a community that not only understands the needs of retirees, but actively meets them.

-Health care: does the community have its own hospital? Where are the local medical centers?

-Local government and community life: Does the local municipal government support city wide recreational activities and events? Find out! What are the parks and public areas like? Cities that put energy into recreation also foster vibrant and healthy communities. What about local clubs? Is there a chapter of your favorite hobby or service group nearby?

-Climate: are you looking for year-round sunshine, a more temperate climate? You don't have to go far to find it! For decades North Americans have known that Florida is the perfect climate for kicking back and taking it easy.

What you will find in Cape Coral :

-Leisure activities: golfing, dining, boating, yacht clubs, city sponsored recreational activities

-Canals

-Greenspace

-Semi tropical climate

-Cape coral population over 45 years of age: 50%

-Health care: the area is well served by Cape Coral Memorial hospital and a range of heath care centers in the surrounding area.

-Young community established in 1970

-Largest small town between Tampa and Miami, just 90 minutes --- from Sarasota

-Great economy with a booming job market.

-Wide sandy beach, well maintained parks, free recreational opportunities

-More canals than Venice. This is a boater's paradise