Should You Set Up For Retirement In Ocala?
Florida is a popular destination not just for migratory snowbirds and other animals, and for vacationers looking to bask in the sun and sand, but also for an increasing number of retirees who fly down to the Sunshine State during the cold and gloomy winter months.
According to statistics, the city of Ocala is one of the more popular destinations in the state. The city, which is famous for its lovely farms and estates, especially it horse-breeders and racetracks, also offers a lot of housing, investment and retirement-related opportunities for aging baby boomers and their dependents.
Ocala Has a Thriving Arts & Culture Scene
There's a place in the arts for just about everyone in Marion County. The Ocala Civic Theatre, along E. Silver Springs Blvd., produces more than 12 fully staged productions each season, in addition to hosting touring companies. The theater offers a year-round education program that reaches more than 1,000 students each year. The Appleton Museum of Art is the centerpiece of the Appleton Cultural Center, a 44-acre complex which also includes the Ocala Civic Theatre and the Pioneer Garden Club.
The current exhibit, "Diana, Princess of Wales: Dresses for a Cause," has been so popular that the museum has added separate phone lines for ticket reservations. Aside from these, the city is also home to the Brick City Center for the Arts, Central Florida Symphony Orchestra, Marion Performing Ballet, and the Marion Civic Chorale
Marion County Has Excellent Health-Care Facilities For Retirees
As a significant segment of Ocala's population is 65 years or older, the city ranks fourth in the nation in the number of residents above 65 years of age, according to 2003 U.S. Census Bureau data, which compared 390 metropolitan areas around the nation. Three other Florida cities occupy the top three ranks. The health-care industry here experiences what some locals call the "snowbird effect.", as the patient load at doctors' offices and hospital emergency rooms increase during the winter months and decrease during the summertime.
It's no surprise that health care has become one of the biggest industries in the county. Ocala boasts of two major hospitals that are built right across the street from each other, and offer some of the same services and operate busy emergency rooms. Munroe Regional Medical Center is a 421-bed, acute-care hospital, recognized in the US for its excellent heart program. It is the only obstetrics and pediatric hospital in the county. The 200-bed Ocala Regional Medical Center is best known for its Cancer Center, Bariatrics Center and Joint Care Center.
Marion County also has one of the few remaining health departments with a health clinic. Located in Ocala, the clinic provides primary care for the uninsured and interinsurer patients and has a mobile clinic that travels to rural regions of the county. The county recently began offering free prescription drug discount cards to all its residents, and almost all of the local pharmacies accept the discount card, which can cut the cost of prescription drugs as much as 20 percent.
The City Offers Many Housing Options For Retirees
From traditional neighborhoods, exclusive gated communities, to sprawling retirement villages, those looking for the perfect retirement home can find it all in Marion County, and Ocala as well. Areas like Silver Springs Shores and Marion Oaks, are home to more established residential communities and both are still experiencing constant growth.
Others areas like Fore Ranch and Heath Brook are newer retirement havens. The southern portions of the county is also home to a section of the large Villages retirement community , along with other gated retirement communities nearby. West of State Road 200 corridor in Ocala, there also lies the retiree hubs of On Top of the World, and Oak Run to name a few.
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