Many options are now available for retirement living. People are living longer and healthier lives. We want to enjoy our retirement years, while getting the care we need now and later. Some communities offer an active social life with numerous group activities depending on your interests. Others cater to an athletic lifestyle including golf, tennis, swimming and fitness classes. With so many alternatives, here are suggestions for what to look for in a retirement community.
Many people work hard for decades in harsh climates, while looking forward to moving to Florida or Arizona when they retire. If joining the millions of seniors living in the sunny South is your dream, check out retirement communities when you vacation during your working life. Tell your children well before your retirement you are planning to move. If they object to your living far away from them, remind them you are moving to a great vacation destination and you would love to have them come for visits.
Try to find a community that offers your favorite activities onsite, such as bridge, yoga, Pilates, or tai chi. Members of service clubs, like Rotary or the Lion’s Club, will want to locate near the closest meeting location. Some clubs hold regular meetings at retirement communities.
If your budget allows, have the retirement community provide housekeeping and meal preparation, even if you are healthy. Assisted living facilities usually offer different levels of services. After working hard for so many years, pampering yourself a little during retirement will give you a well-deserved carefree lifestyle.
Current and Future Medical Needs
Some retirees have ongoing medical issues for which they need continuing care. Others are healthy, but want to move to a community that can provide whatever services they may need later, without having to move to another facility. Continuing Care Retirement Community (CCRC) residents range from healthy, independent seniors to those utilizing assisted living, full-time nursing care, or specialized care, such as Alzheimer’s patients.
Some facilities focus on or offer a section of the site with specialized care, such as memory care, including Alzheimer’s disease. If you or your spouse needs a particular service, make sure the facility can meet your needs.
Get a list from facilities you are considering. Add up the total costs of living the lifestyle you want to live, so you can see whether you can afford it at those locations. Create a budget from all of your income sources and the benefits you are entitled to, including Social Security, military benefits, pensions, annuities, investments and other streams of income.
Financial Stability of the Facility
Walk around the entire community, looking for signs of deferred maintenance or shoddy upkeep. View things with a critical eye, since conditions deteriorate rather than improve. You do not want to buy into a community having financial problems.
Rules of the Community
All retirement communities have rules. Get a copy of the restrictions and regulations to will be allowed to enjoy your creature comforts, including your pets and hobbies.
The laws are different in every state, so talk with an elder law attorney in your area.
U.S. News & World Report. “What to Look For When Shopping For a Retirement Community.” (accessed October 29, 2017) https://money.usnews.com/money/blogs/the-best-life/2013/08/19/what-to-look-for-when-shopping-for-a-retirement-community
Senior Living. “15 Helpful Tips in Choosing the Best Retirement Community.” (accessed October 29, 2017) https://www.seniorliving.org/retirement/best-retirement-community/