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The average retirement age in the U.S. is around 65 to 67 years old. The average life expectancy is around 80 to 85 years of age. Regardless of what your age currently is, it is important to be aware that retirement planning is much more than just a financial planning activity.  How you spend your time in retirement is both a lifestyle choice and quality of life decision.

If you are like most people, you hope to live out your life after retirement by living in your current home, adamant never to be put into a nursing home. If that is your goal, too, then the best way to achieve that is to plan for it before either becomes an issue.

To stay out of a nursing home, you need to take care of yourself, physically and mentally, as early in life as possible. If not yesterday, then at least from this day forward.  If you want to breathe your last breath in a dwelling that is not an institution or an impersonal room, create a home environment that you can retire in as early in life as possible, too.

When you retire, you may want to simplify parts of your life, perhaps downsize your residence, maybe have rooms that are more accessible, or eliminate some of your household chores and maintenance tasks.

Especially if you need to downsize your current home anyway, instead of just buying a smaller house, you might want to consider buying, leasing or renting a place within a retirement community.

A retirement community is not a nursing home. It is an active community of like-minded seniors where on-site services are provided such as: preparing your meals, taking care of housekeeping, and providing social activities for you.

The ideal candidate for a retirement community is someone who is still active and does not need any basic level of supervised care like assistance with eating, dressing, or bathing. You just need to make sure that you can get around on your own, that you have no serious medical or mental conditions, and that you meet the community’s minimum age requirement, which is usually no younger than 55 years, with the average age of new buyers in their early 60s.

As you plan for your retirement, if you are looking for a safe, stress-free environment within a like-minded active community, then choosing a retirement community might provide you with the quality of life that you are looking for in your retirement.

As you do your research, consider a location like the Copeland Oaks Retirement Community in Ohio to see what life there could be like for you.

Helen Hoefele is part of a team of dedicated writers who regularly write quality articles for various blogs and websites. Follow her on Facebook for more articles.