By: Melina Gillies
For older adults who may be tired of the upkeep and maintenance of a property, want more companionship, or simply need a little more help to remain independent,retirement living is the perfect solution. Shopping for one, however, is different than a regular house-hunt. Retirement homes and communities come in every shape, size, and budget you can think of, and the options can be overwhelming. Luckily, we’ve rounded up seven tips to consider.
1. Know what you need.
There is a seemingly endless supply of retirement homes with different amenities, and knowing where you fit in the mix is an important piece of the puzzle. Your current mobility level will play a big part in where you look, but remember to keep an eye on the future. If you know mobility or personal care will be an issue, check out retirement homes that have both assisted and independent living choices that will allow you avoid another stressful move down the road.
2. Bring someone you trust.
Retirement home tours tend to be thorough, and there is a lot of information to remember. Bringing a trusted friend or relative with you can help alleviate any confusion and can help you remember which facility had which amenities, and so on.
3. Review the living quarters.
Is the temperature controllable from within my unit? Is there a variety of styles to choose from? Is there a kitchenette? Is cable, phone, and Internet hookup provided? The more questions you ask about the living quarters, the easier it will be to find a place that meets your current and future leads.
4. Research the activities.
Have a look at any community activity calendars to review the variety and scope of offerings. Ask yourself if the activities gel with your current interests and hobbies before deciding if it’s right for you. Don’t be afraid to reach out and meet some of the residents during your tour. When asking questions, try to stay away from questions that will elicit a “yes” or “no” response. Instead, ask open-ended questions that will allow you to view the residence from their point of view.
5. Try before you buy.
Be sure to tour retirement homes when an activity or two is taking place, and use this opportunity to gauge how well the event is attended. Note whether other residents seem to enjoy themselves. If possible, eat a meal at the residence and ask plenty of questions about meal plans, how they are delivered and how menu changes are handled.
6. Check out your surroundings.
Be sure to take a close look at the building and the grounds when taking your tour. Note if any areas are lacking from a maintenance standpoint, and if updates seem appropriate for the age of the buildings. Most importantly, use your nose to guide you. The sense of smell remains a powerful tool in determining how clean a facility may be.
7. Review the personal care options.
Personal care can be an expensive amenity to overlook, and you’ll want to ensure its services grow with your future needs. Ask about 24-hour medical care and how emergencies are handled. Is there a doctor on call or who does regular visits? What about bathing and dressing assistance?
Though it may be hard to leave the family home behind, selling your home and moving to a retirement community can open up a whole new world of independent living — just give yourself enough time to make a thorough decision, so begin the search early. That way, when the time is right, you can make a smooth transition to the next chapter of your life!
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