What Are Your Priorities for Senior Living Decisions?

smiling senior residents at clubhouseWhen it comes to senior living decisions, your options may be remaining in your current home, downsizing, or a retirement community move. But how do you decide which retirement community is the best fit for you? Other than cost (and the difference in costs can vary significantly in these communities), what are your other retirement community priorities?

To make the decision less overwhelming, consider taking a top-down approach – start with the BIG aspects of the decision before moving to the smaller choices.

Location: Where do you want to be geographically? 

The biggest decision may be deciding to stay locally or moving closer to family. Are you thinking about a different climate? How do you feel about changing seasons?

While moving closer to family is always a good option, keep in mind that if they ever decide to relocate, you might be stuck in a place that you wouldn’t have chosen otherwise.

That is why for a lot of people, the best retirement community option is in their current town.

Community Type: Retirement communities come in many forms. 

It’s important to consider if you want to own or rent your home, and if access to care services is a priority to you. 

Some choices are: a 55 + community (where you may buy a home or rent an apartment with no care options), a rental community with some level of care (these are typically a monthly rent or annual lease – no ownership, with some exterior maintenance, some meals, and maybe housekeeping) or a CCRC (Continuing Care Retirement Community or Life Plan Community – very distinct in that a CCRC offers residents access to a true continuum of care services, if needed, and a contract that states they won’t be asked to leave regardless of medical or financial changes). 

Your senior living decision should enable you to live the life you want to live – feeling comfortable and happy while living there. 

The management and financial stability of the community is also very important. A retirement community is only as good as its administrators – if management isn’t happy, residents won’t be either!

Amenities: Amenities can vary quite drastically from one retirement community to the next.

Consider what you like to do and look for those things in the community. Look at and sample the dining experiences. Food is an important part of life and you want to make sure your choice takes into consideration your lifestyle of eating.

Residence Type/Floorplan: How much space do you need?

Are you looking for a house, patio home (cottage), or apartment? How many bedrooms and bathrooms do you want/need? How much square footage?

But remember, you are downsizing! If you don’t have room for guests, are there areas or guest suites when friends/family visit?

The Decision to Move

Making the choice to move to a retirement community is a major decision that will impact your day-to-day life and happiness for years to come. There are a lot of factors to consider – take the time to do your research and consider your options carefully.

All communities are happy to show you around. Make your list and then start calling and see for yourselves what is available. Planning is essential to making the BEST decision.

While you may not be ready right now, some of the best communities have a waitlist and they are not ready for you either! But getting ahead of things and securing a spot on the waitlist may be the only way to become a resident when the time comes.

New blog posts:

What is the True Cost of Aging at Home?

The idea of staying in the comfort of our own home as we age often holds a certain appeal. However, what many fail to consider are the hidden costs and challenges that come with aging in place.

Deciding on a Move to a CCRC (Continuing Care Retirement Community)

Moving to a retirement community is a financial decision that some people truly agonize about. While there are many life decisions we make that are also major financial commitments – like deciding to have children or moving to different parts of the globe – people don’t seem to worry about them quite as much as they do the decision to move to a CCRC.

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