Given the age that people live to today talking about retirement is a misnomer--there are at least 2, possibly 3, retirement levels for people over 65, and each level has differing requirements. Level 1 is the "yippee, I no longer have to work all year and can finally do all the things I've put off doing and see all the places I've put off seeing" level. During this time period, generally from immediately post retirement until some time in the late 70s, retirees seem to like to travel, and still pretty much have the energy to do so. People on this level are likely to move away from their home communities, particularly if those communities are in cold weather areas. Trying out new experiences is part of this level. Generally speaking people on this level are still fairly healthy, although some problems may be developing or first show up. Most seniors on this level are still fairly self-mobile, most continuing to drive their own cars. Obviously there are exceptions, but I'm talking about the general run of people in this age range. This level lasts until the mid to late 70s. While there are some who may require assisted living facilities or nursing homes, the majority of those on this level can remain in their own homes.
Level 2 is from the late 70s into about the mid 80s. This level is characterized by a reduction in "energy," with activities slowing down. Many serious health issues can become problematic during this level. In particular, vision and its related ailments starts playing a larger role in the lives of people on this level. People on this level may find themselves needing to be closer to family--and moving to be closer if they are living elsewhere- because they need extra help they didn't need for Level 1. Mobility may become an issue for some on this level--you see a lot of knee and hip replacements as joints wear out and bones break easier. Many on this level no longer drive a car, so getting places can be more difficult. Certain heretofore quite doable household chores take much longer, if they can be done at all. A number of people on this level may find themselves requiring assisted living facilities or nursing homes.
Level 3 does not have a large population of people, although that will change as they are constantly upgrading average life expectancy. People on this level are from the mid 80s to in the 90s. Fully healthy, fully independent people on this level are rare. While some may live by themselves in their own homes, they need assistance with many/most ordinary tasks of living. Short and long term memory problems are common on this level. Any health issues that arise present more of a difficulty as people in this age range have less resistance to such health issues, less ability to fight back. For wont of a better word, people on this level are fragile. On this level living independently becomes the exception rather than the rule. Certainly a large percentage of these people find themselves living with family or living in nursing homes.
From an economic point of view, the monies required differ for each level as expenditures change. Planning for retirement income, therefore, requires people to look at the three levels and see how much will be needed to sustain them on each level. As the article noted, nursing homes are notoriously expensive. If that possibility may exist as you go to Level 2 and Level 3, spending will need to be adjusted in Level 1 to account for this.
. . . . just some thoughts I thought I'd share.