Buena Vida Estates Highlights Importance of Planning for Retirement
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Buena Vida Estates Highlights Importance of Planning for Retirement

Buena Vida Estates Highlights Importance of Planning for Retirement

Prospective residents of Buena Vida Estates in West Melbourne will often bring their adult children with them on initial exploratory visits. For the younger generation, it can be an eye-opening moment.

“These kids who are 60 or so have this aha moment and realize they themselves need to start thinking and planning about senior living,” said Teri Brant, Buena Vida Estates director of marketing.

In a “Reader’s Digest” quote John Lennon once borrowed, edited and made legendary, “Life is what happens when you are busy making other plans.” Retirement years have a habit of creeping up without giving much advance notice. Planning for retirement and the changes it will invariably bring will avoid worry, stress and a less-than-ideal lifestyle. 

“You need to start planning when you’re 50,” Brant said.

For Buena Vida residents Wayne and Debbie Chitwood, the need to plan for retirement became critical when they faced the difficult task of caring for their parents.

“We started planning while our parents were still living,” said Wayne, who had retired at 55 to tend to his ailing dad. 

At the same time, Debbie’s parents also needed care. The experience sealed the deal for what they themselves wanted as they aged.

“Having been caregivers for 15 years, we decided we didn’t want to burden family members by having them take care of us,” added Wayne. “We looked for communities that provided all four levels of care we might need.”

Doing their due diligence, the couple discovered Continuing Care Retirement Communities, or CCRCs, created to ensure individuals can age in place by providing them with comprehensive care and services throughout their lifespan. 

The couple embarked on a series of working vacations to check out CCRCs in several states. Brant applauds them for their hands-on efforts.

“We encourage people to look at several places, because that is part of the educational process,” she said.

For the Chitwoods, not one of the communities they initially toured fit their needs.

“They just didn’t really have the level of care we sought,” Debbie said.

At one point, they even thought of remaining in their Titusville home, until health issues made them realize how difficult it would be to remain on their own.

“We could have hired people to help us, but we didn’t want to deal with that,” Debbie said.

Fortunately, they happened upon an article on Buena Vida Estates and decided to check out the facility.

“We wanted to make sure we understood what Buena Vida had to offer and what residents liked and disliked about the place,” Wayne said. “They were very open to our checking financial statistics, so we could be assured we were moving into a stable community.”

It was love at first sight, and the couple have been happily ensconced in their two-bedroom, two-bath Buena Vida apartment for about four years. 

The Chitwoods feel secure that their chosen retirement community will meet their needs throughout their lifetime, regardless of the level of care they may eventually need. They currently enjoy independent living in a resort atmosphere. Recreational and social activities, fitness and wellness programs and a built-in community of friends keep them happily busy and engaged.

Should needs change as they age, the level of service provided at Buena Vida will also change to accommodate those needs. Assisted living, memory care and skilled nursing services will always be available to them, at significant savings. With a CCRC, you know there will be a “next” level if you need it, and you know what it will cost.

“Prices for long-term care policies have skyrocketed and services have gone down,” Brant said. “They cost more than a mortgage, unless you have had the policy for a very long time, and the policy alone does not give you the peace of mind you will find in a place like Buena Vida.”

Some communities promise prospective residents a full range of services that seem too good to be true and, indeed, fail to materialize. If these services are available at all, they may come at exorbitant costs the resident may not be able to afford.

“If they can’t afford it anymore, they will be asked to leave,” Brant said, reminding that residents at Buena Vida will never be asked to leave for medical or financial reasons.

“When you become a resident in our community, you no longer need to worry about financial security, the rising cost of health care, property taxes and insurance, and home maintenance costs,” she said.

As the Chitwoods discovered, it is never too early to start planning, because it can be too late if you prevaricate. 

“Unfortunately, some people wait too long and may no longer qualify for continuing care coverage,” Brant said.

Like the Chitwoods, Carl and Sharon Straw realized the need to plan for their retirement through their parents’ experiences. 

“We did a lot of research for my parents in Virginia and decided that a CCRC was the best match,” Carl said. 

Carl’s parents thrived in their Virginia-based CCRC, so when the time came for him and Sharon to select their own retirement community, there was no question: it had to be a CCRC.

“The study I had done with my parents showed us that living in a CCRC was very important,” Carl said.

The couple sold their house in Viera and moved to Buena Vida six years ago, initially as snowbirds.

“We wanted to spend half of the year in Georgia, and Buena Vida adjusted our fees so we could do that,” Sharon said. 

The couple is so happy with their lifestyle that Carl even recommended it to his brother, who is also now a neighbor at Buena Vida.


Buena Vida Estates

2129 West New Haven Ave.

West Melbourne, FL 32904



Facebook: /Buenavidaestates/ 

Instagram: @bvestates 

LinkedIn: company/buena-vida-estates/


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