Amplify‘d from – www.spacecoastbusiness.com
Retirees Discovering What Residents Already Know . . . and Love about Florida’s Space Coast
Choosing to retire on the Space Coast is really no different than choosing to live on the Space Coast – the same quality of life beckons residents of Pennsylvania, Virginia, Ohio, the Southeast, Northeast, across the U.S. and even from other countries. We have chosen to make this our home to take in the breathtaking views, enjoy a year-round active lifestyle and have all the amenities of a large city without the hustle and bustle.
Brevard County, however, is even more ideally suited for the retiree. Don Kramer, CEO of One Senior Place said, “When people plan for retirement, they focus on enjoying life …things like family and leisure and great weather. And I say, ‘Why not?’ That’s how it should be, and of course, Brevard County is great for all of those things.”
Kramer went on to say, “From our perspective, we see that as time goes by other factors start to become important – like options for senior living, access to healthcare and the availability of the many resources that can help seniors and their families navigate their way through the issues of aging.” He continued, “These things aren’t as much fun to think about, but they can have a huge impact on quality of life as we get deeper into our retirement years. The good news is that Brevard County is extremely rich in those resources, and it’s really satisfying to be able to help people connect with the information, advice and services they need.”
First in Medical Care
Word of Brevard’s resources has spread beyond our borders. The Space Coast has become known as a destination for medical tourists, i.e. those who seek our expert medical care and who then take advantage of the shopping and sightseeing. Our hospital systems – including Parrish Medical, Wuesthoff and Health First – offer varied locations throughout the county, plus excellent emergency facilities. Health First, for example, has a Level II trauma center at Holmes Regional in Melbourne, complete with First Flight aero medical helicopter service should residents face dire emergencies needing immediate treatment.
The Space Coast’s list of specialists and specialty medical services is hard to be rivaled. Space Coast Cancer Center, serving the residents of Brevard County since 1983, is a hematology/oncology practice with locations throughout the county. According to SCCC Marketing Manager John Riordan, retirees will especially like the online Patient Portal on the SCCC website. “Patients can pre-register by filling out paperwork online, update their medical history, make an appointment, check their appointment history, pay their bill or ask a question.”
Specialty pharmacies, which can concoct various custom medicines, are easily located as are medical equipment retailers, such as Browning’s in Melbourne, which has been in the community for 45 years. You’ll find everything for wound care, diabetes and ostomy needs. Specialists in foot, ankle and hand surgery, skin cancer, orthopedics, gastroenterology and of course cardiac care are conveniently located throughout Brevard. Holmes Regional Medical Center offers state-of-the-art robotics-assisted surgery for urology, prostate and gynecological conditions and is currently the only local hospital to offer anterior hip replacement surgery, reverse shoulder surgery, and life-changing
Interventional Neuro-Radiology procedures for advanced stroke treatment. Meanwhile, Wuesthoff Health System offers MAKOplasty® Partial Knee Resurfacing powered by the RIO® Robotic Arm Interactive Orthopedic System.
More to Do, More to See
Active retirees will love all there is to see and do on the Space Coast. The adventurous can try everything from skydiving, surfing, fresh water and deep sea fishing to airboat rides and zip lines.
Active seniors can partake in golf or boating or take in a baseball game. With the Washington Nationals holding Spring Training at Space Coast Stadium in Viera, and the Brevard Manatees (a Brewers affiliate) playing all summer long, there’s plenty of action to catch around the diamond. We also have almost 30 golf courses; Kiwi Tennis Club in Indian Harbour Beach and various municipal tennis courts; plus beachfront parks dotting our 72 miles of coastline. Not to mention state-of-the-art health club facilities and senior centers that offer everything from Wii to spinning and Pilates.
More sedate activities include those of the Brevard Watercolor Society, with over 200 members who participate in watercolor exhibits and shows, teach, learn and promote the medium. An interest in the society is the only requirement to become a member. To see great examples of completed works, visit the Foosaner Art Museum, located in the Eau Gallie Arts District, opened in 1978. It has accumulated nearly 3,000 objects, spanning twenty centuries. You’ll find galleries in Brevard’s villages and cities, such as the Art Gallery of Viera. One Melbourne Beach couple said, “We were both urban dwellers (from NYC) and share arts-related backgrounds. So we sought an area with a vibrant arts community. The Eau Gallie Arts District attracted us to the Melbourne area of Florida. The vitality and energy of the many working professionals and available studio classes drew us in.”
Shopping and Leisure
Want to shop? You’ll find quaint eclectic shops filled with soaps, beach fashions, formal wear, homemade ice cream and chocolates, antiques, imported goods from across the globe, and great restaurants in Cocoa Village, historic downtown Melbourne and Eau Gallie’s new arts district. Malls and shopping centers make it easy to find the major retailers, but if you want to truly give a taste of Florida as a gift, be sure to stop at Harvey’s Groves in season and send some of Florida’s finest citrus back home as an added way to show off our Florida sunshine!
Evenings can be spent dining on the river or oceanfront and/or taking in a play, with performing arts venues stretching from the Titusville Playhouse south to downtown Melbourne’s Henegar Center. Midway, you’ll find the Cocoa Village Playhouse, which started its rich history in 1924, showing silent movies. Later, the theatre featured vaudeville acts, served as a station for the American Red Cross during wartime, and eventually showed motion pictures. Today you can take in live productions of “The Sound of Music,” “Little Shop of Horrors,” or “The Wizard of Oz.”
World class acts can be seen at the King Center for the Performing Arts, which offers a diverse array of programming, including popular artists, Broadway touring shows, classical artists, ballet and contemporary dance, opera, country music, family-oriented events and children’s theatre.
Celebrate the Past and the Future
Cultural festivals abound, including sidewalk art shows in Cocoa Village, downtown Melbourne and Cocoa Beach, a chocolate and a strawberry festival each spring; Halloween fun at Boo at the Zoo; art walks in Eau Gallie and Friday Fests in downtown Melbourne each month; Italian, Greek, Indian and Native American festivals and the chamber’s International Sound and Flavor Festival, in addition to community sponsored events like the Art of Sand in Viera.
Patriotism thrives on the Space Coast. Seniors who appreciate history will be taken back in time at the Liberty Bell Memorial Museum in Melbourne, run by Honor America, which houses military awards and decorations, a display of each of the major wars in which America has been involved, and a display honoring each branch of the service. These displays include artifacts, photos, uniforms, weapons and models representing the various time periods. Those who remember the wartime years from an aviation standpoint will love the Valiant Air Command Warbird Museum at the Space Coast Regional Airport in Titusville, which has exhibits, displays, artifacts and vintage warbirds from WWI through the present.
And where else but the Space Coast can one actually re-live the drama and awe of our nation’s space program? Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex with its IMAX theater, Shuttle Launch Experience, rocket garden, and Astronaut Hall of Fame, will be the final home for Space Shuttle Atlantis in a new $100 million facility that will open in 2013.
Housing Still a Bargain
Housing options for retiree are endless – from beachside condos to single family homes to progressive living communities. Those with accessibility concerns will be pleased to find many one-story homes with spacious open designs that can accommodate those with limited mobility. Barbara Wall, president of Prudential Sterling Properties, noted two popular 55-plus communities – Heritage Isle and Heritage Estates, both in Viera. In Heritage Isle, “you can find single family homes, villas and townhomes, some on the lake and some on dry lots, attached or freestanding, from the $200s,” she said, “and townhomes as low as $139,000.” Amenities such as lawn care are included along with Olympic-size pools, clubhouse trails, activities and exercise programs. Heritage Estates is similar, but lies east of I-95. Other popular 55+ communities, according to Wall, include Indian River Colony Club in Viera; Osprey Village at Cedar Creek in Merritt Island; Compass Point in West Melbourne; and Pine Creek in Melbourne
Jo Ann Haven of Tropical Realty of Suntree handles a lot of beachside requests. With many beachside parks and affordable housing, the Space Coast has become a popular destination for the Baby Boom generation. “It is difficult to say which community is most popular
with retirees. In recent months, we have seen an increase of Baby Boomers purchasing vacation homes (condos, townhomes, villas, single family) all along the Space Coast, with plans for the future to retire here,” Haven said. “Our beachside living – stretching as far south as Melbourne Beach – has become very affordable, with prices ranging from $80,000 all the way to $1.2 million.”
If seniors are worried about the horror stories of unscrupulous handymen, leaky roofs, plumbing disasters and other construction snafus, they only need to call one of the four chambers of commerce for a reference to businesses verified for their ethical standards.
The Melbourne Regional Chamber’s Better Business Council is one such group. Annually, over 8,000 information
requests, business referrals, and consumer complaints are handled by the BBC.
And It’s Accessible
Visiting family members will love the ease of getting to Brevard County. Thanks to Melbourne International Airport’s carriers, Delta and US Air (and seasonally, Direct Air), visitors can fly right to the Space Coast, or choose a short drive to Orlando International Airport. You can take the grandkids to Disney and be home the same day. Trips to Miami, Tampa and Jacksonville for major league sports and other activities are all under three hours, and Brevard boasts of being “Orlando’s closest beaches.”
For mini vacations, seniors will love the ease of taking a cruise out of Port Canaveral – now home to some of the biggest cruise ships on the seas – or taking a charter to the islands through companies like Baer Air.
In all, there’s so much to do in Brevard that it wouldn’t fit into one article, which tells you there will be many days full of sights, tastes and sounds to savor on Florida’s Space Coast … a great place to retire!