Last month I watched an HBO Documentary called Kings Point.
The film follows the lives of several residents of a 55+ retirement community in Delray Beach, FL called Kings Point.
The main topics explored are love, loss and self-preservation.
Here’s the trailer:
Though most people I’ve discussed the movie with called it “depressing”, and fair warning…it can be if you view it through that lens…I think there’s plenty that Boomers who have recently retired, or will soon retire, can glean from it.
About the Kings Point Community
Before we dive into the movie, I think it’d be good to share a little information about the community itself.
Kings Point is comprised of a little over 7,000 condominiums built between 1973 and 1985.
In the movie you’ll hear people talking about putting just $1,500 down when they bought in. You had the option of first floor or second floor. Second floor cost $1,000 more a month and the sales pitch was, the mosquitos don’t go up to the 2nd floor.
Today, sales prices are in the low $100k’s and under.
Community amenities include a 100,000 square foot clubhouse, fitness center, two outdoor pools and one indoor pool, billiards, 28 shuffleboard courts, an 18-hole Par 3 golf course, and much more.
In addition to the amenities inside the community, residents enjoy easy access to the restaurants, shopping and entertainment options that Delray Beach and Boca Raton (which is just to the south of Delray) have to offer.
If this list of amenities sounds like the amenities available at most communities you’re seeing at my site and elsewhere today, you’re right!
Today’s communities are newer and more modern for sure, but many of the same amenities remain as popular today as they were back in the 70’s and 80’s.
Why You Should Watch It
I think this short film is a must-see for all Boomers trying to figure out where they are going to retire and spend the final (hopefully, several) decades of their lives.
Like I said before, it might not be easy to watch, but it should get you thinking and talking about the following issues:
Issue #1: Love and Loss
It’s sad but inevitable. For couples moving into retirement together, its likely that one of you will die before the other.
It might be hard to think about this topic, but its something that you should at least discuss with your partner or at a minimum, think about yourself.
Think about questions like:
What role will your family play in your life after your partner dies?
Will you move back home after your loved one dies to be closer to family?
If you decide to stay put, will you be open to meeting new people after your loved one passes on?
Do you think you could fall in love again?
Those are tough questions to ask for sure, and even tougher to answer.
But if you’ll allow your mind to explore those questions, you’ll be much more likely to have contingencies in place for when the time comes.
In the film Kings Point you’ll meet several people, most are widows and widowers, and you’ll see how they’ve chosen to live after a spouse passes on.
None seem particularly happy.
But I know that its possible for widows and widowers to meet in retirement communities and fall in love, or at a minimum, to be great companions for each other.
It happens all the time.
The film probably chooses to focus on people who aren’t so happy with how life has turned out for dramatic effect. But nonetheless, I think it’s an important subject to think about.
The happily married among us all hope it will end like it does in The Notebook, where the old couple die peacefully in their sleep, wrapped up in each others arms.
But as you know, real life rarely turns out that way.
Issue #2: Where do you want to die?
Another issue that hit me hard while watching Kings Point, is the question where do you want to die?
For some of us, the end will come quick and we won’t have time to act on the end-of-life plans we may have come up with.
But for those facing a slow decline, or the prospect of a long terminal illness, it could be helpful to ask the question, “do you want to die in your new adopted home, or do you wish to spend your final days back with family?”
Will your family take you into their home and provide care for you?
If not, is there someplace near them that can take care of you?
If you decide to stay where you are, what options do you have for in-home care and/or nursing/elder care that you could rely on when the time comes?
Issue #3: Like People, Communities Get Older Too
In one scene of Kings Point, its New Year’s Eve and while on their way to play cards a group of friends pass the ballroom where the New Years Eve party is going on. Peering in the ballroom doors, one member of the group laments at the small size of the gathering and she says that years ago it was almost impossible to get a table for the New Years Eve party.
This scene reminds us that, like people, communities get older and change too.
If you’re 55 today and moving into a 55+ community, what will that community be like when you’re 75? What about 85 or even 95?
Will the people who are 55 then still be moving in to the community, providing new life and vitality to it?
Or will the average age of residents creep up and up until there’s practically nobody left?
How well is the community you’ve chosen going to be maintained over the next 20-40 years?
And, should things change to the point where your chosen community no longer makes you happy, are you prepared to find a new community and move?
Where to Watch
Unfortunately, Kings Point is not currently on Netflix, so watching it could be a challenge for some.
If you are an HBO subscriber, it is available on HBOGO, which is HBO’s online streaming service.
This is how I watched Kings Point.
Learn more here: http://www.hbogo.com/#whatis/
The only other option at this time it looks like is to buy the DVD, which is currently available through Women Make Movies (WMM) for $19.95 plus shipping.
With the amount of awards and critical acclaim this film has received, I’m surprised it isn’t available in more places (Amazon? iTunes?) but hopefully those options are coming soon.
In any case, I hope those that are able to view it do so with an open mind, and allow the film to shine a light on some important questions about what’s to come for them in the next few decades.