Questions to Ask when Looking at Retirement Communities

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Many people do not like to think about what they are going to do when they retire. Most people prefer to think that they will be able to live out the rest of their lives in their home. For nearly half of all retirees (48%), retirement is a lot more enjoyable than they expected. A lot of people live better lives in retirement communities than anyplace else. If you or your loved ones are considering making the move to a retirement community, here are some things to think about before making this very important decision.

Tips to Picking the Right Retirement Community:

  • What are you looking for in terms of support? Different retirement communities offer different services and levels of care. Health care is an important factor for a lot of people. More than 80% of all retirees say that maintaining good health is the most important part factor in their happiness. About 75% of people living in retirement communities have chronic health issues such as high blood pressure, dementia or Alzheimer’s or other problems. It is important to make sure the senior care community has the level of support you need. Some have full time medical care at the facility 24 hours a day and seven days a week. Other retirement homes have other levels of care. Decide what you need and this will narrow down your options.
    What activities do they offer? People who are the happiest in their retirement are very active. People who engage in more than three activities a day are healthier and happier. People who are less active are less happy overall. If you or your family like to do certain things, play tennis or bridge, for instance, ask if they can do those things at the senior living community. They may not have official activities like this but they may have resources for the residents to find things to do. Ask about that.
    How happy are the residents that are there now? Visit a few retirement communities. Get to know the people who live there. What do they think? Try to go during mealtime and see how many partake in the meals the facility offers. You may get some more honest answers over a meal.
    Speaking of meals, how is the food? There are always going to be days when you or your loved one does not want to cook. The quality of food offered can really impact the quality of life the community offers. They say that the “way to a man’s heart is through his stomach” and the same can be said of most people. Who is not in a good mood after a great meal? It makes a difference and shows the staff’s commitment to making the residents happy.
    What are the staff like? Talk to the residents about how they feel about the staff. Talk to the staff and get a sense of how interested in answering your questions they are. If they are not willing to spend time with you before you move in or move a family member in, how much time will they take afterwards? Probably not much.
    How clean is the place? How are the grounds? If the place smells bad or just looks grungy, go someplace else. Granted, there might be unpleasant smells at any retirement community at any time but if they persist or there a reddest bunnies the size of small dogs, that is probably not a place where happy people live and work. Not only is it gross but it is unsanitary and potentially dangerous. If the lobby looks that way, how is the cleanliness in the kitchen?
  • How close is it to relatives? Having relatives be close enough to visit often really makes a difference. Staff at retirement communities generally treat people better whom they know have family and friends looking out for them. The separation from friends and family

This is a very big decision and should not be rushed. Spend some real time visiting the retirement communities you are considering and do your research. This will help make sure the retirement community you finally select is the best one for you or your family member.

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