Choosing a new home is stressful, but changing lifestyles and communities can make the decision even more daunting. The level of detail involved when considering a move to a retirement community can be difficult for a person who has always maintained a certain level of independence, but is now finding it more challenging to live the same lifestyle as before.
The following are questions that you can ask yourself to help make the selection process much simpler.
- What do you need to be happy and content?
- What makes you happy now?
- Do you spend a lot of time now with your grandchildren? Finding a retirement community close to them will help you make the transition easier.
- What activities do you need to feel engaged in your community? Are there new hobbies you have wanted to pursue?
- What about mobility – do you require assistance or do you anticipate needing access to special amenities in the future?
- Do you spend a lot of time on the computer?
- Do you enjoy being around people, living in a large building? Or are you one who needs privacy and space?
- Are you an outdoorsy nature person? Finding a retirement community with walking paths and access to gardens might appeal to you.
- What can you afford? Do you have retirement savings or will you rely on Social Security?
- Are you near healthcare? Will you need to change physicians or do they have satellite facilities close enough to your new community? Are their facilities on the premises of the retirement community? Many retirement communities are now including healthcare as part of the amenities the community offers.
- Is transportation an issue? Do you have limited resources for transportation in your area? If so you may want to consider moving to a community that offers transportation as one of the amenities.
- Will dining staff accommodate your dietary needs? Is there a grocery store nearby?
- What about social activities? Are their events nearby that you enjoy?
Visit several retirement communities in your area
Now that you have taken the time to ask yourself the hard questions, reflected on what is important to you, and made a list of your needs and wants, it is time to visit several places to determine what fits your needs the best. Choose different settings, you may be surprised to find that something you don’t think is “quite your style” will actually be a good fit. Take your list of needs, wants, and questions with you so you are prepared. Have a friend or relative come with you to help listen to answers and provide an additional perspective. Spend time in the common areas and see how you feel. Pay attention to details, such as:
- Are the people friendly?
- Does the food look good?
- Is there plenty of parking for guests as well as residents?
- Are the grounds well cared for?
- Is the place clean?
- What is the total cost of living there per month? Are there hidden fees?
Preparation and investigating several different places will give you a sense of peace with your decision. And remember, it’s never too early to start to prepare.