Essential Questions to Ask When Choosing a Retirement Community
As you tour retirement communities, take note of your first impressions. Does the ambiance feel calm and relaxed or vibrant and energetic?
Also, pay attention to the community’s onsite dining venues. Many offer a variety of specialty cuisines, such as gluten-free and diabetic-friendly meals. If you have specific dietary needs, ask whether they can accommodate your preferences.
What is the level of care needed?
When you’re a retirement community resident, you’ll likely be able to avoid some of the more significant costs you may have experienced when living at home. For example, you’ll probably no longer need to pay for healthcare services or hire someone to come into your home to care for you.
Many retirement communities like Westminster Communities also offer wellness opportunities, including beauty salons and spas, fitness classes, and swimming pools. It’s worth visiting a few different communities to discover what they offer.
How much does it cost?
Looking beyond the upfront entrance fee is essential when evaluating retirement community costs. Many CCRCs charge a monthly service fee that covers maintenance, utilities, food, housekeeping services, and transportation.
This fee often includes a guaranteed rate for future healthcare. This is an essential aspect of comparing the cost of a CCRC to other options, such as home care or renting an apartment.
What is included in the monthly fee?
Many prospects look at reviews on nationwide directories to narrow their options. They may cross a community off the list simply because it doesn’t have a top rating, but that’s missing the bigger picture.
The best way to evaluate a retirement community is by speaking with its staff and residents—schedule time to call multiple communities and take notes. Then, compare your notes to make a comprehensive assessment. Using an advisor can also help you understand financial resources like bridge loans, reverse mortgages, and life insurance policies to cover care fees.
What is the community’s reputation?
Retirement communities are residential or housing complexes restricted by age and generally aimed at older adults who can care for themselves. They may include a variety of onsite amenities, such as recreation centers, activities, and meals.
They also offer a maintenance-free lifestyle and the freedom from household chores like yard work or cooking. Onsite medical services are often available as well. Residents can see specialists such as physical therapists and eye doctors. Some communities even have onsite grocery stores.
Can I talk to references?
Whether you’re looking for a retirement community that provides a specific level of care or simply a place to live in an active and engaging lifestyle, it is essential to ask the right questions. This can help you avoid any surprises down the road.
You should also find out how the community handles complaints from residents. This will show you how quickly and fairly issues are handled. Additionally, you should find out about the community’s pet policies.
What is the community’s ambiance?
The ambiance of retirement communities ranges from huge Sun Belt communities with a full array of services and facilities to smaller villages. They are often designed to be self-sufficient, with shopping, banking, medical facilities, and recreational centers onsite.
Some persons criticize retirement communities as geriatric ghettos and prefer to live in age-heterogeneous neighborhoods where they have friends of all ages. Others find these communities ideal places to enjoy a fulfilling life in an organized community setting.
What is the community’s layout?
Many people are moving into retirement communities to find a place that offers a variety of activities and amenities. These can include socialization and dining.
There are three types of retirement communities: leisure-oriented retirement communities, continuing care retirement communities, and naturally occurring retirement communities. A community’s layout can affect its overall appearance and feel. Look for open space and greenery. Does the area have rivers, lakes, and ponds? Do roads seem in good condition?
What are the community’s policies on pets?
Most homeowners associations and condo communities have rules limiting the number of pets a homeowner can own. Many also restrict breeds and sizes. This helps limit the noise, waste, odors, and damage caused by pet owners.
However, communities may need to be flexible in their rules regarding service animals and emotional support pets. This is because federal law takes precedence over community regulations in these cases. The key is to be clear and transparent about pet policies so residents understand them.