The Top 7 Things To Consider When Choosing A Retirement Community
How do you want to spend your golden years? Where would you like to live? What activities, services and types of medical care are important to you?
These are just a few of the questions to think about when looking for a retirement or senior living community. With so many different types of communities available, it may seem overwhelming to sort through all the information. important factors. We’ve compiled a list of questions and things to consider, to assist you in choosing the retirement community that’s right for you.
Joining a senior living community should enhance your life, not stifle it. When weighing your options, be sure to choose a senior living community that meets your individual needs and provides the level of autonomy best for you. In many ways a senior living community can provide more freedom (and fun) than living alone, but it depends on what is important to you.
- What are your favorite activities and are those available on the community property? Are other activities accessible and nearby?
- How do you want to spend your time and with whom?
- Is it important to be close to a city, or would you prefer a more rural community?
- How often do you have visitors and will they need a place to park?
- Do you have a pet? What is their policy on pets?
As with any important decision, you’ll need to do your research, make sure you understand the rules, and visit in-person several times before making your final decision.
Where to spend your retirement years is one of many things to consider when choosing a senior living community. Some people start with location and weather.
- What kind of weather do you want?
- How close to family would you like to be?
- How close to a city (or not) would you like to be?
- What activities do you enjoy and how accessible are they? What is the surrounding area like?
Answering these questions will help you narrow your choices as you search for your next home.
3. Community & Culture
Every community is unique and develops its own identity according to what is important to the people who are part of it. Some people prefer smaller communities with fewer amenities while others prefer larger communities with more activities and entertainment options. What are you looking for in a retirement community?
- How large is the community?
- What kinds of programs and activities do they offer? Are these of interest to you?
- How active is the community?
- How friendly are people? Are people walking or eating together?
- What entertainment options and activities are available in the surrounding area?
As part of your research, see if you can sit in on a class during a visit or meet some of the current residents to find out what they enjoy most about where they live.
4. Levels of Care
As we age, we must take medical care and other assistance into consideration. An advantage of some communities is that they offer several levels of care, all on the same campus. Note that services can vary by community due to state licensing and regulation requirements. Some questions to ask yourself are:
- What type of care is available in the senior community?
- What kind of care and assistance do you or your loved one need now or in the future?
- How close are the specialists or the nearest hospital?
- How much maintenance and upkeep do you want to commit to?
Independent Living is designed for those who wish to still live independently in their own home with the ability to cook their own meals and do their own laundry, but without all the upkeep and maintenance of a private home. With close proximity to other residents and 24/7 on-site staff, independent living provides connection, peace of mind, and plenty of independence.
Assisted Living communities provide a warm and inviting home, along with additional services and caregiving needs to make day-to-day activities more manageable. Like Generations, a good senior community should also provide a professional team of caregivers, who work with you and your loved ones to develop a personalized plan.
Memory Care communities are designed to meet the needs of residents who live with dementia, Alzheimer’s, or other memory issues. A Memory Care community can provide the specialized care residents need. At Generations, it’s our goal to assist you in maintaining a rich relationship with your loved one while providing an environment that is intentionally designed to help them thrive.
Post-Acute Care (or skilled nursing) is a type of care provided to seniors who need a high level of medical care from medical professionals, especially after an acute medical event. Skilled nursing teams provide 24-hour licensed nursing care, including cardiac, stroke, diabetes, and post-surgical care.
5. Amenities & Services
Some of the primary differentiators between communities are the levels of and types of services they offer. Retirement communities provide a wide range of services for seniors, including housing, meals, transportation, social events, and healthcare. They might also include recreational facilities, fitness centers, swimming pools, spas, and other amenities that support residents.
- Meal plans: Are there flexible meal plan services, special dietary menus, or a dining room? Do you want a full kitchen or a kitchenette?
- Staff: How is the community staffed and what kinds of help do they offer? On-site 24/7? Who can help with styling your hair in the morning or remembering to take your medicine at night?
- Programs: What kinds of specialty programming are offered? Look for your favorite activities or ones you’d like to try: Book groups, art therapy, senior exercise classes, golf, etc.
- Parking: Garage and/or covered parking
- Pets: Are pets allowed, and if so, are there size restrictions? Do they have a dog park, yard or walking paths?
- Home maintenance: Do you want to do yard work or housework, or leave it to someone else?
- Transportation: How flexible are transportation services?
No doubt you’ve been thinking about your budget and what you can afford. In addition to conducting a thorough review of your finances, including monthly bills and savings, be sure to ask for a complete breakdown of costs from the senior community. You will want to ask:
- What services does the monthly fee cover? Each community may include some services in the monthly fee, while other communities do not.
- What is an entrance fee? Does this community require one? The entrance fee is a sum of money paid upfront to secure a place in the community. This upfront investment can actually lower your monthly fee.
7. Safety & Security
Last, but certainly not least is the issue of safety. You should feel safe to enjoy activities and take walks without worry. When visiting communities, consider these features:
- Security: What security measures are in place? Is there a check-in area for visitors? What about security cameras and security lighting?
- Safety: How well-lit is the campus at night? Are walkways smooth? Is the campus and individual housing accessible for you and potential visitors?
Differences between Assisted and Independent Living.