What to Consider When Choosing a Retirement Community
The decision to move into a retirement community is a big step. You might be living at a senior home for a decade or more, making it a big part of your life. It’s important to choose a place that nurtures a calm, hopeful atmosphere for your next chapter. A place where you can grow and thrive.
If you’re considering a move towards retirement community, there are a number of questions to consider before you search. The clearer you are on what you’re looking for, the more likely you are to find it. It’s important to know what you’ll be getting, and always best to plan ahead.
We have compiled some information that may assist your quest for the perfect retirement community. Included is a list of questions to ask while visiting a retirement home, followed by ideas on how to prepare for an upcoming move.
List Your Wants and Needs
First thing’s first. Get out a piece of paper and start drafting a list of Wants and Needs. Begin to think about what you cannot live without, and list that under Needs, and think about what you’d enjoy having, and list that under Wants.
Needs, for example, could be that you need to live in close proximity to your doctor, or your children. You might be without vehicle and have a need for transportation to be included in the retirement community. Some prefer a quiet atmosphere, others want to mingle and socialize. Spend some time considering what matters most to you in this part of your life. The clearer your needs and desires are before you begin searching, the easier it will be to find your dream retirement home.
Find and Visit Local Retirement Homes
The next step in finding your dream community is to begin visiting them! You won’t know what a community is like until you experience it firsthand. Meet with staff and get a tour of the grounds to see what the community’s like, how big the apartments are, and what kinds of activities and restaurants they have.
Schedule a weekend stay or lunch visit to spend time with other residents and understand what the retirement home is like to live in. If possible, bring a family member or friend on the tour for a valued second opinion.
Here’s a list of questions to ask when you tour a retirement home- these will help you get all the information you need to make your final decision.
- What are the community accommodations like? What is included in rent?
- What activities are available?
- How are residents kept safe?
- What medical resources are available?
- What do residents do if there is a problem or complaint?
- Can we speak with references or current residents on their experience?
- Is transportation available or included?
- How long has the company been in business and who owns and operates the community?
- What options are there for food and snacks?
- How much will it cost, monthly and overall?
Next Steps After Touring Communities
Once you have visited a few communities, think about which seems to fit you best. Make a list of your favorites and consider where your needs are best met. The two biggest factors are often money and space.
Budget is often the largest consideration and final deciding factor when choosing a retirement community. Which retirement home can you reasonably afford? If you haven’t already, make a list of your bills and expenses to calculate your available monthly budget. When making your consideration, compare your budget with the monthly costs of the retirement homes you’ve seen.
Another big change is physical space. In some cases, people are leaving homes they’ve lived in their whole life. This can be a big adjustment, both sentimentally and in terms of physical space. Moving from house to apartment requires downsizing. Packing may include extra time to sort possessions. It’s best to assess the situation early in case you need help from friends and family to pack and sort your things. Storage is always an option.
Remember to think of the usable common space in the community in addition to your new apartment space. The apartment may be smaller than your old home, but the community is much larger.
Lastly, is the retirement home in a good location? Are you able to visit people and get around easily to and from the retirement community? If excursions are important to you, ask to see a social calendar. Also, for folks who will have family visiting, what affordable hotels are nearby? This will be your home for the next stretch of your life, pick an area you would like to live in.
Next Steps After Reserving an Apartment
Once you have figured out which community suits you best, reach out to begin the application process. This often involves completing paperwork and sorting finances for your move. Once the apartment has been reserved, that’s when it’s time to get cracking! Plan the move with enough time to sort and pack your belongings. Start packing sooner than later. Make a goal to pack 5 boxes a day or 10 boxes a week. Chipping away at a large goal helps reduce stress. Family and friends can be a great help during this stage of transition- just ask!
Depending on where you are on your journey, Era Living can provide valuable information and resources to help you decide what’s best for you. We offer a variety of ways to get in touch with the Era Living community: call for a tour, join us for lunch with a resident, or try a guest stay! Our Executive Director would be happy to meet you and tell you in person about all of our offerings.
We held a recorded session with a number of our residents to get firsthand knowledge of their biggest concerns and obstacles when choosing and moving into Era Living. Please feel free to watch the Youtube video for further insight into the retirement community process. If you still have questions after the video, don’t hesitate to call and speak to one of us.