Success is Keeping Your Eyes Open

So I followed my star successfully to a retirement community.

Outside it is fabulous:  a vibrant, waterfront downtown with a myriad of amenities all within walking distance.  WOW!  Am I lucky or what?

Absolutely, yes!  Grateful for many blessings.

Grateful despite the eyesores in view from my fourth floor studio apartment window.   The view is of a busy street, a parking lot, and telephone poles connecting a bunch of wires. Fortunately,  I can also see passersby jogging or strolling on the sidewalk beneath providing a visual diversion.

Inside it’s quiet.  To liven things up I turn on my music and go about my work.   I’m adjusting to living in a 300-square-foot cubicle as the minimalist I have become.  It’s a bit of a cocoon shielding me from what’s happening outside my four walls in this retirement community heralded as a paradise for active retirees.

But is this a paradise?  High ratings for friendliness, food and activities but, in the 30 days I’ve been here, there have been floods, fires and electrical malfunctions prompting me to see warning signals flash.

This experiment in alternative living arrangements may need to be reconsidered.

Here’s why:

  1.  Only one of two elevators was working when my movers arrived with my furniture.  Working elevator broke down in the middle of my move.  Move rescheduled and furniture remaining on the truck headed back to warehouse.
  2. Building flooded following a broken pipe and huge fans were placed in hallways a solid week to dry out before mold could set in.  Filthy carpet remained uncleaned for nearly five weeks.
  3. Pipes have also burst twice in hall between buildings and residents were redirected outside to bypass the crumbling ceilings and walls.  Announced as “a remodel.”
  4. Safety medallion to be worn around the neck not waterproof and will not work in shower.  Also frequency does not work throughout the campus.
  5. Emergency pull cord did/does not work. Explained as a computer programming issue.
  6. Independent living residents not all capable of “independent” living.  Two kitchen fires in 30 days. 
  7. One fire started by a resident triggered the sprinkler system damaging multiple units. Residents were relocated while units are remodeled/restored and property damage ascertained.Water tested at highest level of contamination deeming the apartments unlivable.  
  8. Only one of two elevators works. Staff has no answer on repair for the second.  Covid pandemic raging and residents and outside contractors forced to pack into elevators  like sardines.
  9. Housekeeping staff shares community laundry room with residents and washes/dries mops and rags in same appliances.
  10. Residents periodically stuck in elevator necessitating emergency assistance.

Paradise?!  Florida sunshine sells but will this be enough to keep active retirees in such aging but well-located retirement communities? 

What’re alternative lifestyles that make sense while we can still choose?

Please share your thoughts and ideas for us all to contemplate.

Meanwhile, I’m keeping my eyes open and fixed on my star to see when and where it moves. You can bet I’ll be close behind it and ready to follow!

Ageless Wonder


  1. We have had very positive experiences, totally different from yours–call me!
    We moved to Westminster Winter Park, a LLRC, five years ago. The main building is on a large lake–8 stories, and has apartments of varying sizes. There are several other buildings ( one with 5 stories and one with two stories.) Westminster bought 40 homes in adjoining neighborhoods–we live in a lovely single family home (brick with a barrel-tile roof, on a corner lot with big oak trees) two blocks from “the Big House.” Some houses are duplexes. Our Maintenance has been responsive and competent. The Big House is 50+ years old, and has had some repairs (expected of an older building)–but NOTHING on the scale you described. Our house is maintained inside (plumbing, appliances, pest control, water and A/C filters, light bulbs and batteries) and outside.
    We can be as social as we want to be–everyone is masked, vaxxed and boostered. We have travelled within our “Bubble” to Sarasota, Tarpon Springs and St. Augustine. Upcoming trip is planned to Savannah. All commercial tours are planned to be limited just to our group.

    In the two-plus years of the Pandemic, we have NO Covid hospitalizations or deaths among the nearly 1,000 residents. Everyone is adhering to “the Covid Protocol,” to care for each other.
    I started an Entertainment Committee (booking musicians, comedians and lectures.)
    I am the first Government Relations Chair for Residents. We organize Candidate Forums for local races so our residents can be knowledgeable when they vote. Residents can be as involved and active as they want to be.
    I’ve gone to classes for Aqua Aerobics, Chair Yoga and Balance. We have a sizable Community Garden and a pontoon boat for rides on the lake.
    I would like for people reading your description to realize that there is a wide variety of adult communities–they are not created equal! We bought into our community with an “Estate Preservation Plan,” that will return 90% of our entrance fee when we leave–if we are unhappy or die. We feel we have the maximum flexibility.

  2. Buy a new one floor townhome. We did and all our neighbors are retired in their 70s. 80s and 90s. It’s our happy place!

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