How to Find a Good Retirement Community

May 7th 2016

Finding a good retirement community to spend your golden years in is one of the most important decisions that you will make. Here are some tips on what to look for and consider when making that choice.

Take Your Time

Retirement by Tax Credits via Flickr

When looking for a retirement community, it is essential to take your time and consider what you are seeing and learning. This may be something you consider over several years as you get to know a community, or need to do a little faster due to the deterioration in health of a loved one. Above all, you need to be happy with your decision that this is the right place for you.

Think About What You Want

As you enter your golden years, you could be looking forward to days of activities, time to spend on hobbies and interests and perhaps some travel. Check out whether the retirement community has good facilities for you. Consider whether you like a routine and a very structured day or whether you would prefer a more flexible and independent approach. On the other hand, you may be looking for a specialist center for someone with dementia, which would have completely different requirements.

Know What to Look for in the Community

When choosing a retirement community, there are several things to look out for before making a decision. Use your eyes, ears and nose to get a feel for the atmosphere. What are the residents doing? Are they sitting in chairs watching TV or out participating in activities, like swimming and dancing? Check out the food too. Is there a choice? Take a look at the community, and think about whether the residents look happy and are sociable.

If you are relocating to another area where there is a retirement community, get to know it at different times of the year. What might be idyllic in summer could be very isolating and bleak in winter.

Keep in Touch With Friends and Family

One of the important things to think about when moving to a retirement community is how you will keep in touch with your friends and family. Getting visits from grandchildren and old friends is a highlight, so do think about your location. Is it close to your existing networks, or will you need to move nearer to your family? You may of course want a complete break and decide to go somewhere entirely different. You should also consider how easy it will be to get around in the new retirement community. Is there transportation, and are there good local amenities? Think ahead to when you may not be able to drive and the potential impact on getting to stores or the doctor without a car.

Find out What Space You Will Have

Having your personal space is important in a retirement community. In many places, you can bring furnishings, as well as decorative items, to personalize your new home. Spend time asking about and looking at typical apartments and rooms in a retirement community, so that you can find one that suits your needs. Look for communal areas too so you can meet the neighbors. If you have pets, check out whether they can accompany you or not, as some places prohibit animals.

Check the Costs

Always check the costs of a retirement community and what it includes. Some have excellent all-inclusive packages, while others charge for additional care and activities. Make sure you budget for a retirement community that is both affordable and something that you are going to enjoy.

Go With Your Gut Feeling

Finally, you must be happy with the decision you are making. If it feels right and it will suit your needs, then start planning ahead. If, however, you have that niggling feeling that something is not quite right, then listen to those thoughts. Chances are, you are right. When choosing a retirement community, take your time and go with your gut feeling.


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