Now that the real estate markets across the country are recovering, baby boomers are selling their primary residences to downsize and move into retirement communities. Many people had to age in place during the last decade, because they had planned to fund their retirement home with the proceeds of their family home and house sales prices had tanked. However, now the markets are bouncing back. Some may elect to stay at home, having grown used to the services that cater to people who do not want to downsize to a seniors’ development. But for those who are ready to make the move, here are four things to look for in a retirement community.
- Find a Development that Fits Your Desired Lifestyle
Seniors’ developments are no longer “old folks’ homes.” You can play tennis or golf or continue other active lifestyle choices. Retirement centers can provide a range of care options, from no care for healthy residents, to assisted living, to full-time nursing care like a traditional nursing home, to skilled nursing, to memory care/Alzheimer’s care. There are seniors’ apartments, detached homes and conventional nursing home rooms on a hallway. Select the arrangement that makes you the most comfortable.
- It’s All in the Details
You already know that you must select a place you can afford. You also must know of all the hidden costs and tacked-on fees that can accompany the monthly rent or buy-in amount. Read the contract closely to discover the circumstances under which the development can raise fees and assessments. An extra $200 a month in side fees today, could easily morph into $500 a month ten years later.
- Read the Menu
Retirement communities offer a range of services that were not available before, so settle on a place that provides the lifestyle options you want. Consider whether you want a meal plan, housekeeping, assistance with self-care, and social activities. Explore the costs of all the items you desire and compare those costs for several facilities. Sometimes people make the mistake of only comparing the monthly rent costs and not the services and activities.
- Financial Stability of the Development
The last thing you need is to go through the hassle of uprooting from your home and sinking a bunch of money into a retirement facility, just to have it run into financial trouble. Whether the retirement community closes or tries to stay open but must cut corners that impact your safety, wellness, or comfort, you are in an undesirable position. Discover how long the development has been in business. Check out their affiliations. If they are connected with a large, established religious or other non-profit organization, you may get their tax returns and other financial records online.
Check with your local Better Business Bureau and Chamber of Commerce about the reputation of the development. Check to see if they are on the recommended lists of local social service agencies, non-profits and organizations for seniors.
Talk with an elder law attorney in your area, since the laws of each state are unique, and this posting covers the general law.
U.S. News & World Report. “What to Look For When Shopping For a Retirement Community.” (accessed January 21, 2018) 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 January 21, 2018) https://www.seniorliving.org/retirement/best-retirement-community/