Factors to Consider When Choosing a Retirement Community

12 Factors to Consider When Choosing a Retirement Community for Yourself

If you’re considering choosing a retirement community, here are 12 factors to keep inn mind so you make the best choice best choice for the highest quality of life.

Are you aware that where you choose to retire can influence your quality of life? In those golden years, all you need is a haven to rest from all your active professional years.

Understandably, you’ll need a place that offers a range of services from healthcare to socialization, and that in itself can be a daunting task. 

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In this particular article I will focus on how to choose the best retirement community for yourself.

Factors to Consider When Choosing a Retirement Community

One of the reasons why you should start thinking about this is to provide yourself with the means to live happily in your retirement years. To do that, you may consider living in a retirement community.

Unlike living alone, retirement facilities offer you many opportunities to pursue your own lifestyle while forming connections with your peers. They also provide enjoyable activities that can help you stay active. Whether it’s a movie, bingo game, pool-playing competition, or a musical event, there’s no shortage of things to do.

Because of these reasons, you’ll never go wrong with your decision to live in a retirement community. With approximately 245,000 independent senior living communities and 28,900 assisted living residences in the US, it’s no surprise you want to start planning now. Read on for some helpful insights and resources to guide you on your search.

Location of the retirement community

Location is a significant factor in the search for a retirement community. If you’re making the final decision, the responsibility rests with you to decide whether you’d prefer living in proximity to family or others. It’s rational to want to move to a familiar location. But retirement home experts usually recommend considering other things as well.

For example…

  • What’s the climate in that location?
  • Is it close to essential places like the hospital or the grocery store?

Ideally, the site must feature places you intend to visit regularly.

The retirement community should also be situated at a vantage point that allows easy and convenient access to places of interest. If you prefer frequent visits from loved ones, it will help to factor them into your decision-making as well. This will help reduce the distance they have to travel when visiting you. 

With that said, there are some individuals who prefer to move far away and to unfamiliar locations. For this group, the main goal is an adventure and an opportunity to learn new and exciting things. Therefore, the choice of location can be very personal, especially when you’re handling it yourself.

Social life within the retirement community

No two retirement communities offer the same kind of social amenities. While some are socially active, others are more subtle and conservative. Have you thought through social activities you’ll love to enjoy when you move in?

For example…

Some senior living communities work around a packed social calendar, interspersed with movie nights, on-site pubs, games, dance competitions, etc.

Usually, what works best is settling on a retirement community that aligns with your current lifestyle. Unless you desire to make a complete turnaround from active to inactive (or vice versa), there are several choices to consider in senior cohousing. 

Choose the right level of care

Have you stopped to think about the level of care you’ll need in your choice of a retirement community? As already mentioned in the introductory part of this article, some senior living arrangements offer complete independence, while others focus on assisted care. Some senior living options in Phoenix, AZ even offer both.

In other words…

The latter makes provision for live-in caregivers and other medical staff. The advantage of this particular option is that they are right on-site!

These two retirement community options are discussed in further detail here.

Independent living

This vibrant option is an excellent choice for persons aged sixty-two to seventy years who do not require help in their daily living. Independent living units promote a carefree lifestyle as you ordinarily would at home. These senior apartments provide service options ranging from laundry to housekeeping and restaurant-style dining. Set up as apartment homes, managers of independent living communities ensure the proper functioning of amenities.

Every independent living home is different.

Each one’s general purpose is to offer freedom and a self-regulating lifestyle. That’s why common facilities such as fitness centers, swimming pools, beauty and barbering salons abound in these places. Some even have golf courses and other active clubs to enhance the communal living style.

Bear in mind that monthly payments vary due to the various but extensive social and resort-style services that independent living communities offer. Therefore, monthly charges range from $1,500 and $6000.

Assisted Living

Although this senior retirement community offers all the associated benefits you can think of; the distinguishing factor is in residents needing some help with daily routines. This is what it means by its name; with this kind of care arrangement, you can take advantage of a continuum of care services to ensure a comfortable life throughout your retirement years by allowing you to maintain key routines in your daily life. 

The three significant routines are:

  • Mobility
  • Medication management
  • Personal hygiene

Of most significance are the availability of an on-site medical team and live-in caregivers. Did you know people tend to confuse a traditional nursing home with an assisted living community? To help you get it better, look at it from this perspective; the assisted living arrangement came about to complement senior housing but in a more liberal environment than a traditional nursing home would offer.

There are four different levels of care within assisted homes.

These are …

  • memory care
  • skilled nursing
  • rehabilitation
  • assisted living

According to a Genworth survey on the cost of living in these homes, the average monthly charge is about $4000. A person’s financial strength determines the quality of life a senior citizen can enjoy in these unique living arrangements.

As a tip…

Always consider senior communities which offer multiple care levels. That way, you get to stay within the same neighborhood as you advance in age or should a medical condition get worse. Thankfully, there are several retirement communities that offer serviced apartments designed for people who need assisted living. These provide you with peace of mind knowing you can take advantage of an increased level of support for your changing needs. 

Financial stability of the retirement community

It’s worth remembering that the senior community you finally opt for will be your residence for many years. Therefore, before committing yourself, you have the law’s backing to ask for some vital financial information that lends credence to their economic stability.

For Life Plan Communities, besides the balance sheet, the following are financial details you should know about.

Occupancy rates

  • Actuarial report
  • Quality improvement accreditation

Additionally, you’re well within your rights to request a financial report on monthly charge increases spanning over a three to five-year period. It’s also recommended to speak with a financial advisor of good standing on this matter. Fortunately, the Commission on Accreditation of Rehabilitation Facilities (CARF) provides a detailed guide on evaluating these communities’ financial standings.

Ask if pets are allowed

As with most social buildings, pet policies vary greatly. In the same way, retirement communities have different regulations on pet keeping or pet ownership. If you don’t own a pet, moving into a retirement community that doesn’t allow them will be a smooth transition. On the other hand, if you keep, for instance, a furry companion, but the senior home you’re moving into doesn’t permit it, that could be tricky. Essentially, depending on your stance on pet ownership, conduct thorough research on which establishment works best for you.

Look for Good Transportation

Does the community you opted for run a shuttle service? Does it permit you to bring along a personal vehicle? If yes, do they offer convenient parking? These are essential questions you need to find out before meeting any financial obligations. In some cases, a senior home may decide against self-driving purely on safety grounds. In other instances, the care package includes transport provision; meaning, it’ll be against cost-effective principles to go with your vehicle.

Check for Hidden Costs

Just as people are advised to be wary of hidden costs when making a real estate purchase, the same applies here too. Some senior retirement communities run pay-per-service packages, while others prefer an all-inclusive rate. A few run a combination. Now, this is what you should be most wary of; the combination type tends to confuse potential and new residents simply due to management’s failure to clearly communicate the distinctions.

For instance…

A senior community that offers a monthly rate of $ 2,500 may charge additional fees for other services. The worst thing that could happen to you is to have fun and later get saddled with a bill you knew nothing about. Always ask for a breakdown of service fees such as housekeeping, additional health care service, etc., to give you an idea of what contributes to the overall monthly rates.

The reputation of the retirement community

‘A good name,’ as the saying goes, ‘is better than riches.’ Fortunately, it’s possible to check reviews on the most credible and authentic establishments on the net. It’s no longer a hustle to see how highly recommended a retirement community is within a locality. A simple Google check will produce results of countless information on senior homes.

Moreover…Credible platforms like Glassdoor help you check employee reviews. Secondly, the objective for checking reputation is to clear any doubts about security, abuse, and work processes.

Take a tour of selected retirement communities

The essence of touring a few select retirement communities is to experience first-hand how it looks and feels to live there. Searching only from the web pages or strategic images on retirement community websites doesn’t help.

You should keep in mind that retirement communities are run as businesses. It’s not in their interest to deny a potential occupant the chance to take a tour. 

With a $1,010 billion value in 2019, the retirement community market will continue to grow at a yearly rate of 6.5% in the next two years. This has given room for keener competition and a rush for more occupants. Don’t be pushed into moving into a retirement home your heart isn’t in. You’ll find it helpful considering the factors mentioned here.

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