Beach Living for Seniors: Advantages and Disadvantages of Living by the Ocean

By: Scott Grant, ATP, CRTS®

Retiring to the beach is a dream for many people. But, in reality, it may not be the best plan for some. Here’s the good – and the bad – when it comes to beach living for older adults.

Income Disclosure: I recommend products based on my personal experience working with seniors. I may earn a commission on items purchased from links in this guide. Learn More.

When most people think of retiring, they visualize endless days of lounging at the beach. After all, they’ve worked all their life and the rest is well deserved. It’s a dream shared by millions of Americans, but that doesn’t mean that it’s perfect for you or your loved one.

So, it’s important to know the bad as well as the good. Here are the pros and cons of beach living for seniors:

Advantages of Beach Living for the Elderly

For many, living by the ocean is the ultimate dream. That explains why every year, millions of people, seniors included, travel to the beach. The sand, seagulls, cool breeze, warm weather, calming waves, name it! Well, when it comes to seniors, here are the 5 main benefits of beach living:

1. Natural Stress Relief

Older adults experience stress for a variety of reasons. It could be the result of dealing with chronic disease, losing a spouse, having a caregiver, or adjusting to financial, retirement, or separation from friends and family. Whatever it is, we can’t rule out the fact that stress is a common mental health problem of the elderly population.

That said, living by the beach has one undeniable pro: Stress Relief. Humans are drawn to the ocean because it greatly improves their sense of calm. Personally, the beach is one of the few places I can let go of real life for a bit. From the swift breeze to breathing in the salty sea air and feeling the sand beneath our feet, the beach is a natural antidote to stress. Your senior will therefore improve their quality of life by living at the beach.

They will constantly take in the gorgeous views, relax under the warm sun, take in the tides, and much more. All these will help remove their stress and worries. Since stress negatively impacts their physical health, you will also have peace of mind knowing that the overall health of your loved one is improving.

bocce ball on beach
Retiring to the beach provides lots of opportunities for activities and meeting new people.

2. Tons of Activities and People

Unfortunately, aging comes with a lot of time, yet life becomes boring since every day brings the same ol’ same ol’ things. But not while you’re at the beach. Here, there are tons of beach games and activities and tons of people, making the beach the perfect place for an active lifestyle. There’s always something to do at the beach, whether you live in a tourist hotspot or on a more remote coast.

If you’re looking for something to do, the endless options for tourist attraction sites, events, shopping, dining, and entertainment will always keep you busy. The beach, of course, is the finest part.

Even if you prefer to avoid the crowded tourist traps, you may always surf, tan, or grab your favorite beach chair and simply listen to the waves. Lastly, with the hundreds of tourists and other people, you’ll be less likely to feel isolated or miss family and friends “back home”.

3. Better Health

Living near the ocean has a lot more health benefits than you might expect. The obvious ones include fresh air and vitamin D from the sun, both of which are beneficial to your health. Because food is readily available and fresh, living near the ocean is also healthier than living inland. In fact, beach food is among the healthiest available.

Seafood is low in fat and high in omega-3 fatty acids, which you won’t find in red meat. Because of the many activities, it also helps maintain a healthy lifestyle. A simple beach walk or beach games with friends can get your heart racing and your muscles toned and strong. In a nutshell, senior citizens who live near the shore have better health.

4. Safety

Beaches are among the safest places to live in the U.S. They are consistently listed as safe, secure, and low-crime areas to reside in. It’s much better if you live in a beachfront retirement community. These usually have access restrictions to keep the bad people out.

RELATED: Beach Safety Tips for Seniors

Notably, at the beach, life goes at a slower pace since it’s away from the rush and bustle of the metropolis. As such, simple things like going out to buy groceries or pray are safer. They are not always accompanied by honking cars, bicycles, or excessive traffic. Conclusively, beach living is safer for the elderly.

Beach real estate prices tend to increase over time and beach homes often sell quickly.

5. Easier To Sell Your Home

There’s a lot of uncertainty that comes with getting older. Disease, the death of a spouse, and a slew of other tragedies loom. As a result, it’s not unexpected to come across elders who want to sell their homes. If you’re selling a home, you’ll sell it faster if it’s near the beach.

This is because beach property has a bigger investment potential than inland property. Beach houses are, in fact, some of the best areas to invest in if you want to get a good return on your money. The Outer Banks, for example, has experienced significant expansion in tourism and the vacation rental industry, which has increased the value of residences in the area.

Disadvantages of Beach Living for the Elderly

There are two sides to every coin, as there are to everything else. While there are many benefits to living by the ocean, there are a few “Oma-gosh” moments about the perils of coastal living. Here are the 3 major cons of beach living for seniors:

1. Unpredictable Weather, Coastal Erosion, and Rising Sea Levels

What comes to mind when you think of a beach? Bright sun, heated sand, and rolling waves are undoubtedly part of the scene you imagined. Unfortunately, the beach is also subject to strong, unpredictable showers that might persist for days. Even worse, natural disasters pose a threat to beach living.

Coastal locations are continually subjected to extreme weather such as hurricanes, floods, cyclones, storm surges, and other events that can cause long-term damage. According to research, those who live near the coast are more likely to be exposed to coastal extremes. Notably, more heavy rains and rising sea levels are expected as a result of climate change.

2. Higher Cost of Living

Living in a high-valued region comes with a downside: a higher cost of living. It’s even higher if you live in a beachfront retirement community with pools, club activities, groomed gardens, and 24-hour security. They are not free, and could easily run you dry.

Aside from that, home maintenance is more expensive. This is due to the corrosive nature of saltwater, the risk of flooding, and the high cost of insurance that threatens to burn a hole in your wallet.

Beach communities that are also popular with tourists mean no privacy and lots of people (and traffic!) especially during the summer months.

3. Minimal To No Privacy

Lots of people… Wasn’t that just listed as an advantage? Yes, but it can definitely be a disadvantage as well. If you’re introverted and want your peace and quiet, the crowds may not be for you. Worse, your friends and relatives will regularly come to your house to use it as a hotel.

While setting limits will keep your relatives and friends away, you won’t be able to keep tourists away from the beaches. Beach towns, especially in the summer, attract a lot of visitors and their population can easily increase in a matter of weeks.

If you prefer your own private beach spot, though, your selections may be limited at this time. Fortunately, some beaches are less popular with the masses.

Is Beach Life For You?

People have been discussing the allure of the ocean since the dawn of humanity. What is it about beach living that makes it so appealing? Perhaps it’s the warm sun, children running on the sandy beaches, smiles on everyone’s faces, lovely shells, or the endless possibilities of a wide sea stretching to the horizon.

Whatever the case may be, one thing is certain: we are all drawn to the sea. Unfortunately, living by the sea is not for everyone, no matter how much you want it. As such, you must weigh all of the advantages and disadvantages of buying a beach house or living in a seaside retirement home.

Remember, in addition to the stunning views, a laidback lifestyle, and incredible seafood, you’ll also need to budget for higher home maintenance and insurance. Is it for you? Perhaps your loved one?

I hope these pros and cons will help you decide! Let me know in the comments below your personal experiences – or opinions – about beach life.

Share on:

Related Posts

Leave a Comment