If you’ve come to that time in your life when you think you need to sell up or move out of your current home and head to somewhere that provides you with more assistance, less work around the house, and more of a community, the choices can be daunting.
Many retirement communities and care facilities are available these days, with different promises, price points, and pros and cons. To help you find the best option for your needs, consider the following factors when you compare places.
Location and Weather
Firstly, you want to pick a community in an area that suits your current and future needs. For instance, you may want to live in or around your favorite suburb, close to your kids and grandkids, near transport links, or even perhaps somewhere you’ve always dreamed of living.
Pay attention to the weather, too. Many people relocate to a retirement community in warmer climates such as Florida, California, or even overseas to escape chilly winters. Think about what is most vital for you when it comes to location and weather and shortlist retirement communities based on these criteria.
Culture and Lifestyle
Another factor to remember when you search for places to settle is the type of culture and lifestyle different communities boast. For instance, are places laid back and relaxed and people only get together on occasions but lead reasonably separate lives, or is the culture big on everyone participating in many activities and groups, or somewhere in between the two sides of this scale?
Try to learn about how supportive and diverse the cultures are within different communities and if there is a focus on a particular type of demographic or not. Plus, check into the types of amenities available and if you will have access to the types of features and groups you’d like to or if you’d have to find these facilities outside the retirement village.
As you examine your options, it also pays to see what security different communities have in place. It’s helpful if security cameras are located around a compound, and you may wish to see alarms on the individual homes, too, for your peace of mind. Some retirement villages these days employ on-site guarding services to keep an eye on areas at night or even during the day, too.
If you know you’ll feel safer with particular security facilities available, this will help you to narrow down your options when researching potential places to live.
Level of Care Available
Depending on your current and likely future needs, you may also be keeping care top of mind as you look for the right retirement community. Availability of medical support can vary considerably between different places, so you need to know what’s vital for you in order to pick the best spot for your needs.
For example, some places might have a basic level of care, which means using alarm buttons in homes and easy access to nearby specialists and other medical providers. Or, you may want to live in a facility where physicians are on-site, and assistance can be provided with many things, such as showering. Keep in mind what you’d prefer regarding cooking and cleaning, and if you want this included in your fees or if you’re still interested in taking care of this yourself.
Furthermore, it’s worth investigating accessibility elements in different locations. It’s handy if communities have good walkability options, plus elevators, stairlifts, wheelchair ramps, widened doors, grab bars and handrails, and the like.
Rules Regarding Pets
If you’re a big animal lover and have a dog, cat, bird, or other pet you want to take to a retirement community, be sure to check the rules and regulations of all the places on your shortlist to see if pets are allowed first. Many communities are okay with people bringing their pets these days, but not all. Some only allow certain types of animals and maximum pet sizes, among other criteria. Don’t just assume that taking your beloved animal with you to a new location will be acceptable, as this isn’t a given.
Two other vital things to examine when you search for a retirement destination for yourself are the price (be on the lookout for potential hidden fees and the value-for-money you will receive) and reputation.
Check out testimonials and reviews to see what current and past residents have to say about different communities. Plus, try to talk to at least some residents and their families at your preferred spots to get insights into what they do and don’t like about their locations. This research can help you pick up on potential red flags.
Don’t rush the process of finding a retirement community, as changing can be both expensive and stressful. It’s better to make the right choice the first time, wherever possible.