Research your retirement options before making a decision
Choosing a retirement community is a major decision, and one that should be made with careful research and planning. There are many factors to consider as you explore what type of active retirement community is right for you. Take your time making this decision, and assess your retirement options. This will help safeguard your future welfare and happiness.
Retirement advice for starting out
There are many different types of retirement communities, and it's important to learn all you can about the type of retirement community you're interested in. Download a copy of A Consumer's Guide to Retirement Living for useful retirement advice and information about researching communities.
For example, there are rental communities, over-55 communities, for-profit or not-for-profit. The list is long and many will claim to be CCRCs or Life Care retirement communities. Each community comes with its own contract, something to be aware of as you begin your retirement community research.
Once you've narrowed your search by type of community, visiting retirement communities is the best way to determine where you're going to feel at home. Most communities offer a regular schedule of tours to accommodate your schedule.
Before you visit, though, prepare yourself! Use this retirement community checklist to know what to look for and what questions to ask during the tour. You can find additional retirement resources throughout this website to help you in making your decision.
Compare retirement options
After you've gathered the necessary information and visited several communities, it's time to compare your options. Feeling overwhelmed is common at this point of your retirement research. Some consider staying where they are and "taking their chances." Don't forget that there are many hidden costs of homeownership that can eat into retirement savings.
After comparing monthly living expenses, you might be pleasantly surprised to find that your living expenses in your current home are higher than what they would be at an "expensive" retirement community.
Most people who take their chances and "age in place" would likely reconsider if they had known that the "chance" they are taking of being in an assisted living or skilled nursing facility for even an average length of time could easily erase the financial security they've worked for all of their lives.
Work with family members
Very often, adult children become involved in the process of helping an aging parent in the process of choosing a retirement community. Sometimes, they are simply there to help you on moving day. Other times, they are very involved from the beginning.
If you'd like to broach the subject of moving to a retirement community with your parents, learn how to get the discussion started with our "Ten Tips for Talking to Your Aging Parents."