Moving to an independent living or retirement community is a big decision. You’re full of questions that you want answered before you take the next big step.
You want the perfect community in the perfect area, but there are many choices. How can you make the right decision for you?
Here are ideas to ensure you love your next home:
Write down your priorities.
What is most important to you? Location? Amenities? Residents? Healthcare access? Write down your priorities in order. Few communities will score 100% on all your priorities. Deciding what is most important will help you make a decision.
Find as many options as possible.
Google independent living or senior living or retirement community and the city and state. Seniorliving.org offers location search. Ask friends, family members, your physician and even clergy for recommendations.
Check reviews for your list of retirement communities.
Yelp has reviews for senior living and retirement communities, so it’s a good idea to check it for each community. Give the community an extra point if they’ve claimed their listing.
Another good place to find reviews is the community’s Facebook page. If a community hasn’t claimed their Facebook page, though, it doesn’t mean you should automatically cross it off your list. However, that means most of the residents don’t access technology, so if that’s important to you, you probably don’t want to live there. Narrow your choices to around 10.
Research your independent living options online.
Go to each community’s website. Do they offer things you want? For example, one community may have a tennis court, but if you don’t want to play, that’s not a positive.
Does the community’s website have testimonials from residents? Of course, you can expect the testimonials to be positive, but they give you an idea of what’s important to residents. In addition, if there are no testimonials, it may be because residents aren’t happy.
Does the community have blogs or other resources that give you a glimpse into what’s important to residents and what residents are like?
Narrow your choices to approximately 5.
Contact each community.
Contact the independent living community online or by phone to ask them to send more information. Do they respond immediately? Do they seem knowledgeable?
Don’t be taken aback when the community’s representative draws you out about your specific preferences and situation. They’re trying to discover your priorities, so they can tell you more about things that interest you.
Narrow your choices.
After reading the brochures and information each senior living community sends, you can determine which are likely to suit you best. Narrow down your choices even further.
Develop a checklist.
Try to keep each community on a level playing field. For example, if you ask a question at one community, you should ask it at all of them. To that end, you can develop a checklist or get ours here.
Questions on the checklist include:
- Is the neighborhood well-established and safe?
- Is there easy access to medical care and hospitals?
- Do residents and their families have positive things to say about the community?
- Are there opportunities for life enrichment activities and recreational pursuits?
- Are safety features such as grab bars and handrails provided?
- What types of additional support are available and what are the costs of each?
Add any questions that are important to you.
Schedule a tour.
A tour gives you the opportunity to ask questions of residents and staff and to see what the retirement community offers when it isn’t all gussied up for a photo. Take along your checklist. If your questions aren’t answered during the tour, ask them afterward. Do not ever make a decision the same day you take that first tour!
Analyze your information.
Once home, take some time for the excitement of the tour to wear off; then, analyze all the information you’ve gathered. Don’t be concerned if you prefer an independent living community that doesn’t score as high as the others.
Select your options.
At this point, you have 2 options: 1) Decide upon your new home or 2) Narrow down your choices. If you’re still unsure, schedule a second tour. Take along a friend or family member to help you decide. Ask any additional questions you may have and for any additional documents you may want. Don’t ever feel as if you’re bothering the staff at the community; they’re accustomed to people taking time to make such a decision.
Make your decision.
Congratulations! You’ve taken a big step toward your future!
Join us at Sugar Hill
The residents and staff at Sugar Hill Retirement Community invite you to join us here in Wolfeboro, New Hampshire! We think Sugar Hill is the best, and many of our nation’s business and community leaders agree. Schedule a tour online or by phone at (603) 569-8485.