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How to Choose a Senior Living Community

When it comes to planning for retirement, one of the biggest questions you’ve got to ask yourself is where you’re planning on living. While some older adults may choose to age in place in their existing home, many others  are instead choosing a modern and attractive retirement home, as they offer several advantages over remaining in a family home. 

There are many different types of retirement communities to choose from. It's important to understand the options so you can select what’s best for your needs — both the needs of right now, and any expanded needs you may have in the future. Here’s our guide on how to choose a senior living community that works for you. 

1. Determine What Type of Retirement Community Fits Best 

Choosing the right retirement community first involves understanding the different types of communities available to you.

  • Independent Senior Living Communities: Designed for self-sufficient seniors seeking a low-maintenance and socially engaging lifestyle, without the need for assistance with day-to-day activities.
  • Assisted Living and Skilled Nursing Care Communities: Assisted living communities are intended for those who need some assistance with activities of daily living (ADLs) while still having access to various social activities and amenities. Skilled nursing care communities are tailored for those with complex medical needs, chronic conditions, or those recovering from surgery or illness who need 24-hour monitoring and medical attention.
  • Continuing Care Retirement Communities (CCRCs), : Catering to self-sufficient seniors who anticipate the need for increased care in the future, providing a seamless transition without the inconvenience of moving to another community with separate, higher health services fees.

To determine the best option for you, you should evaluate your specific care needs including any medical, social, or emotional requirements.

2. Establish Your Budget

It’s essential to establish a budget that aligns with your financial capabilities and expectations when choosing a retirement home. Consider how much your desired type of community costs – not only the monthly costs of different communities, but also any possibly entrance fees. Review the financial obligations and understand the payment structure of the community thoroughly, including any potential future expenses that could arise. Understand the long-term financial implications and evaluate whether the costs are feasible within your budget.

For context, a continuing care retirement community may include an entrance fee to join the community as well a monthly fees, but if you ever need a higher level of care such as assisted living, it is included at the already established rate. On the other hand, a community without health services may require a lower entrance fee or none at all, but should you ever need a higher level of care, your monthly rate could balloon many thousands of dollars each month.

3. Choose a Location

Where do you want to retire? While many older adults prioritize proximity to family and friends, others research the best places in the U.S. to retire, looking for places that offer desirable living costs, climate, and culture, providing a fulfilling lifestyle for them. Selecting an ideal retirement location for you can significantly contribute to your overall happiness, as it can facilitate social connections, access to certain amenities, and engaging recreational opportunities.

If you’re looking for a retirement home in a great location, explore Acts Retirement-Life Communities. With 27 resort-style campuses across nine states, you’ll find ample diversity, and you have the flexibility to travel between any of these campuses.

4. Know What Amenities and Services You Want

Understanding the details and performing research reveals the multitude of differences in amenities and services between retirement communities. Some may provide lawn care, snow removal, and other maintenance. Some may provide meals or include a fitness center with a trainer. Others might have pools and other appealing amenities. Retirement communities may include additional amenities that provide for the social and emotional needs of their residents through, as an example, access to facilities and classes that allow retirees to pick up and practice a new hobby. CCRCs are especially adept at providing the right level of healthcare support for residents.

5. Tour Potential Communities

Going on tours is an important step in choosing the right retirement community. These visits offer firsthand insights into the community’s atmosphere, amenities, and overall environment, providing a comprehensive understanding that can’t be obtained otherwise. Research tips for touring a retirement community and prepare a set of questions to ensure the tour is worthwhile. This proactive approach allows you to make the most informed decision and helps you identify the community that’s best for you.

Staying Home isn’t Always Your Best Option

While it’s certainly a great idea to move to a retirement community, you don’t necessarily have to. You can always age in place in your existing home if you so choose, though there are several disadvantages of aging in place. It can be a financial burden to take care of a large, empty house and a possible danger to your health, especially if you have to navigate stairs or other hazards. This is, of course, why so many seniors choose to downsize and move to a retirement community!

Researching how to choose a senior living community is never a bad idea. As retirement communities offer so much to seniors, it’s only natural that you explore your options. You’ll need to keep in mind several different variables, which will undoubtedly include what your current medical and physical needs are now and what you might anticipate them being in the future. Additionally, you’ll need to consider the unique amenities that each retirement community offers to its residents before making your final decision.

In the end, though, no matter what type of retirement community you pick, it should be a place where you’ll be able to live your best life once you’ve decided to settle down. There are plenty of retirement homes to choose from, and when you find the right one for you, the only thing you need to do is relax, put your feet up, and enjoy your well-earned retirement!

A good place to start is to view all 27 Acts communities