Yet again the "it's cheaper to live on a cruise ship than a retirement home" email hit my inbox. I have seen it several times over the last few years and usually just send it to my trash box however, this time I decided it was worth giving it some thought... The basis of this circulating text is that the cost of living in a retirement home is so great, that its cheaper to pack your bags and cruise the world in comfort and style.
I need to confess that I love cruising for many reasons - something for everyone, someone else does the cooking, lots of entertainment and you see a different place almost every day. But would I love it if it were my life instead of a vacation? And what if I needed medical assistance or physical help? Would I miss having long-standing relationships? Beyond the staff, there would be no one the same from one week to the next. Would I miss my family and friends and being able to see them whenever I want? Would I go 'stir crazy' in the small cabin for an extended period of time? Besides financial implications, is it really a viable option for one's retirement?
Retirement homes give you many of the same things on land including social activity & meal preparation. But, there is the added benefit of medical attention, assistance with care, and access to family and friends. Suite sizes vary and for those with extra income, there are options of larger spaces and more than one bedroom and bathroom. The only prohibitive factor for some may be the cost. Though if you compare it to living on a cruise ship, the difference may be negligible if at all. In fact, I have heard people describe a retirement home as a 'cruise ship on land'.
Of course, for most, there is no place like home and when possible every effort should be made to allow someone to stay in their home, albeit with assistance if required. Failing that, retirement homes are a good option which often keeps people healthier for much longer because of the regular and nutritious meals, exercise programs and social interaction. As tempting as an idea cruising into retirement is, it's likely the concept rather than the reality that is appealing.