Time for a change?

Find out what you should be thinking about when considering a move (photos.com)

Is the grass too long and the weather too hot to mow? Are you looking out the window at all the new kids, literally, on the block?

Maybe it's time to leave your old life behind and begin an exciting new one. Short of moving to Costa Rica, there is a way to shake things up that doesn't mean far away places with strange sounding names. Locally, a number of active adult communities may offer the option you seek. But how do you decide if a move like this is right for you?


Debbie Kukla, sales manager at Toll Brothers Active Adult Collections at Bowes Creek Country Club in Elgin, says couples (or individuals) should consider the following questions:

• Are we looking for a lifestyle that caters to our interests?

• Do we want to mow the lawn and shovel the snow or do we want that time to do what we want to do?

• Do we need a home that we can lock-and-leave for the winter months?

If you answered yes to any of the above you may be ready to move into an active adult community. Luckily, there are many to choose from in this area, from Chicago condominiums to suburban single family homes or townhomes.

Erin Miller, director of sales and marketing at The Clare at Water Tower in Chicago, says that a major benefit of living in an active adult community is maintenance-free living.

"With no house and lawn upkeep, residents can enjoy each day to its fullest," she says.

However, Miller says seniors should consider several elements when embarking on the search to find their perfect fit: location, meaningful amenities, a lively group of residents who share similar interests, and for many, excellent health care services and programs that are easily accessible.

Give me the city life

For urban dwellers and fiction writers Judith Barnard and her husband Michael Fain, location was all-important. The couple, who have written several books together under the pseudonym Judith Michael, lived in a condominium in Streeterville just blocks from The Clare.

"We watched The Clare being built from the ground up and were very intrigued by the idea of this community in the center of it all, " says Barnard, of The Clare, Chicago's only high rise active adult community.

She says the decision to move was an easy one since, in addition to continuing the lifestyle they already had, The Clare represented the future and eased concerns with its Lifecare agreement that offers on-site health care services

"Though we have no health concerns today, we know that our lives can change overnight," Barnard says. "By moving to The Clare we were able to alleviate our family from the burden of worrying about us without giving up a single thing from our current way of life."

The couple enjoy an active lifestyle and it was important to them to find a community of like-minded people.

"The Clare embraces residents who are not looking to drop out of life; instead, they want to do it all," says Barnard. "The residents are involved in Chicago's many organizations, serve on local boards, as well as participate in many common interest clubs and groups. All aspects of the community that made us feel right at home."

Trading old for new