Retiring on Hilton Head
Hilton Head Island has been chosen by many retirees as a beautiful place with a mild climate. Since there is a large retired population, the infrastructure is in place to accommodate retired people. Golfers will find a plethora of first class golf courses, tennis players will be in tennis heaven, nature lovers will have plenty to keep them busy, and, of course, there is the beach, abundant restaurants, fishing, shopping and it last snowed in 1990.
For those who are able to live unassisted there are many opportunities to purchase a home or condominium. Some communities do not permit weekly rentals so are little affected by tourism, for example, Hilton Head Plantation and Leamington. Others are tourist oriented and generally have more commercial amenities close by. They also tend to be more crowded in the Summer.
Of course, there are many other communities where retirees can live, each with a different ambiance. Shipyard plantation is generally quiet and heavily wooded; Sea Pines plantation has several restaurants and many shops and is tourist oriented; Wexford plantation is for those who have plenty of money; and many neighborhoods exist outside of the gated plantations. The best bet is to visit the island frequently and do some exploring. You might need a local contact or real estate agent to get you into the gated communities.
SHARE is a senior citizens organization that offers social activities, education and other activities. The 850 member club has bridge and poker games, three bicycle clubs, softball, computer classes and other activities.
Sun City Hilton Head
Although this web site is ordinarily restricted to Hilton Head Island it would be impossible to discuss retirement without mentioning Del Webb's Sun City Hilton Head, which is actually on the mainland 13 miles from the bridge. This is a relatively new development that restricts permanent residents to people over 50 years of age. At build out (perhaps 2016) they expect 13,000 residents in 7,000 homes on their 4,600 acres. There are two golf courses on site and several nearby. They boast a huge recreation center, indoor and outdoor swimming pools, tennis courts and other recreational facilities. There is a strong sense of community and constant activities and trips are available. Del Webb also has a new community in Bluffton called The Haven.
Cost of Living
There is a great deal of conflicting information regarding the cost of living on Hilton Head Island. I personally tend to believe the statistics offered by Sperling's at www.bestplaces.net. They show a COL of 143 (vs. US average = 100). Even this is somewhat misleading without closer analysis because of the high cost of housing. If you come to Hilton Head and buy a home for cash (many retirees do) you can live here for very close to the national average.
There are several "independent living" communities on the island. These are communities in which an independent residence (condominium, cottage, etc.) can be purchased and the company that operates the community provides amenities such as optional club style dining, periodic housekeeping, shopping trips and other excursions, fitness centers, etc.
In addition to Independent Living communities, Assisted Living, Skilled Care Living, and Memory Care Living is available. The parents of some of our retirees reside in these facilities.
For those requiring assisted living there is every conceivable level of assisted living available on Hilton Head, including facilities where one can start with minimal assistance and, over time, move up to more assistance. You can rent or own a cottage, apartment, suite or whatever suits you. There are facilities that specialize in Alzheimer's patient care. Some can provide 24 hour care. Residents usually can prepare and eat their own meals, eat in a common dining room with other residents, or be served meals in their residence. Many provide van transportation to shops and events. The variations are almost endless and there are many facilities, as listed below. There have been many horror stories published about problems with "nursing homes" and assisted living facilities, but most are very legitimate and financially stable. Here are some sources of information to help you choose a facility: www.alfa.org www.carf.org www.caremanager.org www.ncal.org. Many books are available on the subject.
Some of the facilities listed below are Independent Living Facilities, some provide Assisted Living, including memory care, and some can provide both. Click on any colored name for the appropriate web site.
Hospitals, medical care and transportation
Hilton Head hospital is our local hospital. Its formal name is Hilton Head Regional Medical Center and Clinics. There is an emergency room available.
They are able to treat most conditions including open heart surgery . There is at least one board certified cardiovascular practice and a number of doctors that deal with problems common to older people. More advanced hospital care can be found in Savannah and Charleston. When an accident victims suffer life-threatening injuries they are usually flown to Memorial Health University Medical Center in Savannah. Hilton Head Hospital was recently chosen as one of the top 100 hospitals in the country for outcomes of treatment and management of stroke by HICA-SACHS.
The Volunteers in Medicine clinic provides medical, dental and mental health care to those without access to such care. Hours are Mon., Wed., and Fri 8:30AM to 10:30 AM; Tues.8:30- 10:30 AM, 1:30PM to 3:30PM and Thurs. 8:30 - 10:30, Noon-4:00 PM. 843-681-6612
If you are unable to drive, transportation would be a problem. Those living in assisted care facilities would generally have van transportation, though probably not on demand. Local transportation by bus is not an option, leaving taxis as the alternative. Taxi fares range from $7 to about $11 (depending on distance), but you must call for a taxi and be prepared to wait a significant time.This page Updated 05/13/2013
Copyright Seashore Vacations, Inc. 2003 - 2013