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Expert advice for the over-55 crowd

From a single-family house in a gated community to an apartment on a college campus, the choices seem endless. Advice on sorting through the options:

■ The sooner you start thinking about it, the better. “Waiting too long, sticking to what you know without thinking ahead to what will happen down the road health-wise, emotionally, is a big mistake,” said Emily B. Saltz, past president of the National Association of Professional Geriatric Care Managers.

■ Decide where you want to live. Do you want to stay close to your health care providers, church, family, and friends, or do you want to move away? That’s a good way to start your search, said Marilyn Kelleher, a realtor with Century 21 in Weymouth who works with older adults.


■ Choose an environment that will allow you to age in place. Those stairs may be easy to climb now, but what about in 20 years? “If one wants to age gracefully in place, the goal is to make life as easy as possible,” Saltz said.

■ In your financial analysis, don’t forget condominium or homeowner’s association fees, said Lynne Morey, a realtor with Coldwell Bankercq in Plymouth.

■ Visit the places you are considering and talk to the residents, said Stephen Golant, a gerontologist at the University of Florida and author of “Aging in the Right Place.”Ask them whether there’s anything you should be concerned about.

■ Don’t be afraid to pursue a lifestyle you’ve always wanted, one that includes leisure and recreational activities that you didn’t have time for before, Golant said.

■ It doesn’t have to be complicated, said Colin Milner, CEO of the International Council on Active Aging. “It all comes back to three simple things: Where do I want to live? What do I want that community to do for me? Can I afford it? If those three things come together, you’re living in the right place,” Milner said.