When it comes to deciding on a retirement community it’s not something you take lightly. After all, it’s a place you’ll be calling home for the next few years and for some, the rest of their lives. A lot of inquiring, researching and planning goes into the process of finding the ideal retirement home and you should never feel rushed or pressured into your decision making.
The following are 5 helpful tips that you should keep in mind when choosing a retirement community. These tips will help you avoid difficult and sometimes costly situations in the future.
The People, Staff and Community as a Whole
The people in your community can really make or break your overall experience. There’s nothing like being welcomed and greeted by a professional staff that’s not only knowledgeable about the community, but also very personable and friendly and takes the time to get to know the residents.
You also want to be able to make connections and build friendships with other residents in your community. Do you have common interests, hobbies, or values? Is this a group of people you can see yourself socializing with on a daily basis? Will they make your stay at the community more enjoyable? These are all things you should ask yourself when visiting your future retirement home. You might also take the time to chat with some of the other retirees and get their feedback on the community as a whole. Who better to tell you about your future home than the current residents?
The Size and Location of the Retirement Community
The size of your independent living community really depends on your personal preference. Some people prefer smaller, close knit communities where everyone knows everyone by name and the overall feel is more laid back and less busy. Others might like a larger community which can give them the opportunity for more socialization and to further expand their network of friends.
Location should also be a key factor when deciding on a retirement community. If you have family in the area, then finding a place that’s not too far from them would be a priority so that daily or weekly visits are possible without the need for long commutes. Also, is your community near your doctor’s office, your church, or your favorite restaurant? If distance is going to be an issue then choosing a home that has a central location is what you’ll need.
Expenses, Monthly Fees and Overall Costs
The average cost of retirement homes vary and usually depends on location, the type of home you have, e.g. condo, townhouse, apartment, etc., and the kind of lifestyle you want. In addition to the initial costs which include application and entrance fees, monthly rent and maintenance, you also want to set aside a budget for all the extras which can include your groceries if you opt out of meal plans, medical needs and assistance, outside entertainment and any utilities that aren’t covered by your monthly.
As a rule of thumb, your rent or monthly payment for living in the community should not exceed more than 30% of your overall income. This will be able to give you an idea on what you can and can’t afford in regards to your future living arrangements.
The Layout, Accessibility and Security of the Facilities
Observe your community’s overall layout as well as the locations of the other facilities and amenities and how accessible everything is, both inside and out. Is everything walking distance from your home? Are there covered walkways and paths in case of bad weather and storms? And if you have any disabilities or physical limitations you need to make sure that ramps, holding bars and similar features are available.
Security is also a big factor in regards to the safety of the community as a whole. Are their guards on duty 24 hours a day? Do they verify and register every outside guest and delivery personnel? Are there surveillance cameras in public areas? Don’t be afraid to ask these questions because a well equipped and secured community will be ready to answer them.
The Activities and Amenities that are Available
Another great feature of retirement communities is that they offer their residents a myriad of activities and amenities that make your stay even more comfortable and enjoyable. These amenities usually include a swimming pool, a tennis court, a fitness center, game rooms, libraries, coffee shops and even full service spas on site just to name a few.
Many also hold frequent social events that encourage the residents to get to know one another, make friends, and develop a more physically and socially active lifestyle. Inquire about their daily, weekly or monthly activities and events and see if your potential community caters to your favorite hobbies and interests.
Author Bio – Mary Herald, the writer of this article, creates content for SunshineRetirementLiving.com, an affordable and caring retirement community. To learn more about their Tucson location, or to schedule a visit, click here.