Deciding to move to a retirement community near you is a big decision, but once you’ve made it, that’s not all there is to consider. If you have several retirement communities in your local area, choosing the best community for your needs can seem overwhelming. Here are some of the most important things to think about when choosing a retirement community.
Cost is often the first thing seniors think about when making the decision to move to a retirement community. While it’s not the only consideration, it is an important one. For some older adults, moving to a retirement community doesn’t significantly impact their monthly expenses as they’re able to sell their family home and eliminate the costs of home maintenance, utilities, and other expenses. Others may find that moving to a retirement community costs more. It’s a good idea to calculate your current monthly expenses and compare your expected monthly costs at each retirement community for a clearer picture of how your finances will be impacted by the move.
The cost of a retirement community should be weighed against other considerations. You may be willing to pay more for a community that offers certain services and amenities or other benefits that are important to you. On the other hand, you may choose a community that costs a bit less but doesn’t offer some of the services that more expensive communities do. If those services aren’t important to you, then it’s a tradeoff worth considering.
The Retirement Community’s Reputation
While cost may play a big role in your decision, it’s also important to learn about the community’s reputation. Do you know anyone who resides there or someone who has had family members or friends who have lived there? Ask around to learn what you can from others in your community.
Other important questions to ask include:
- When was the company founded, and how long has it been in your local area?
- How long has the management company been with the community?
- How long do employees remain with the company, on average? What is the company’s staff turnover rate?
Health & Wellness
When you decide to move to a retirement community near you, you’re probably expecting to spend a number of years there. Knowing that your healthcare needs may change as you get older, you’ll want to choose a retirement community that offers a continuum of care to allow for an easy transition to independent living, assisted living, or skilled nursing care should you need it.
Since you’re looking for a retirement community near you, you probably already have a primary healthcare provider local to you. While the retirement community may have an on-site primary care provider, you should be able to continue with your current provider should you choose to do so. Also consider whether there are any specialists who have on-site office hours, nearby hospitals, and whether the community offers transportation to off-site healthcare services.
Wellness and preventive care are often priorities at modern retirement communities, with many communities offering services such as on-site gyms and exercise classes. Some of the best retirement communities take a multi-faceted approach to wellness, offering services and amenities that address intellectual, spiritual, physical, vocational, social, emotional, and environmental wellness.
Food & Dining
What food and dining options are offered by the retirement communities near you? Consider whether the community has an on-site dining room and a dedicated chef with waitstaff or a more cafeteria-like dining service. Also look for the options offered for snacks and beverages during non-dedicated mealtimes such as a mid-morning cup of coffee or an evening snack.
Another consideration when it comes to food and dining services at a retirement community is the quality of the food. A five-star restaurant experience on-site isn’t as beneficial as it seems if the food offered isn’t good. Also, does the community cater to special dietary needs or preferences, such as a low-sodium diet or diabetic diet?
Services & Amenities
In addition to the health and food services discussed above, retirement communities offer an array of other services and amenities for residents. Evaluate the services provided at no additional cost, such as housekeeping services, maintenance services, laundry facilities, activities, on-site beauty salons, barber shops, and manicurists, on-site storage, communal spaces such as all-purpose rooms for socializing with friends, outdoor spaces, transportation, and computer stations.
Safety & Security
An important factor to consider when choosing a retirement community near you is security. Most retirement communities offer on-site security services and require guests to check-in. Smoke detectors and sprinkler systems should be functional in every unit. Other security services may include emergency call systems and emergency generators to ensure that you can keep the lights on and power medical devices in the event of a power outage.
Lifestyle & Culture
Last but certainly not least, you want to choose a retirement community that suits your lifestyle and has a culture that you can see yourself fitting into easily. Questions to consider include:
- What does a typical day look like for a resident?
- Are there opportunities to pursue hobbies and interests, such as arts and crafts, gardening, and educational opportunities?
- Are there entertainment options, either on-site or in the broader community? Consider whether residents participate in group outings to theaters, sightseeing, and other activities.
- Are pets welcome? If you have a pet that you’re hoping to bring with you, you’ll want to find out if pets are permitted in the units.
- Are there any restrictions on family visits?
Ask if you can see the current month’s activities calendar to get an idea of the lifestyle in the community. If you can, chat with a few current residents to get a feel for the culture.
Choosing the right retirement community near you is one of the most important decisions you’ll make in your lifetime. Taking the time to evaluate each community you’re considering and comparing your options will help you choose the best fit for your lifestyle. Want to explore what life is like at Arbors of Hop Brook? Take a virtual tour or get in touch to schedule an on-site tour of our community.