Choosing the right retirement community

Understand your choices

If you or a loved one are thinking about a new residence for your next chapter in retirement living, the choices can be overwhelming. Some older adults may want a retirement community where they live independently while others may decide to look for a location that includes assisted living or memory care.

While there are a variety of options, this article will focus on three of the most common choices: independent living, assisted living and continuing care retirement communities (CCRC).

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First steps in choosing a retirement community

Before you begin the process, you should think about what type of lifestyle is right for you, what your budget is, and what medical needs you may have now or potentially in the future. Ask family and friends if they have any recommendations or lessons they’ve learned if they’ve gone through this process.

You may also want to figure out which location is best for you. While it feels comfortable to stay in your hometown, your children may be living elsewhere. Can a family member get to you in case of an emergency if you stay close to home? Or, would you like to see your grandchildren who live in another state more often?

Taking a number of tours can also help you make your decision. Seeing the community, the residents and the staff can all help to give you a good idea if you’ll feel at home there. Ask a lot of questions and let yourself think through your decision thoroughly. You can also inquire if the community allows prospective residents to have a meal or participate in an activity or two to help you decide.

Finally, you need to choose the type of community or living situation that is right for you. Here are three common senior living options:

Independent living

One of the most popular choices is an independent living community. This option is designed specifically for seniors who can live independently and are looking for a place where activities, meals and social interaction are offered.

While there are different independent living options such as cottages or apartments, they usually offer maintenance-free living at a monthly cost. Fees can include rent for your space, some meals and certain activities. There is usually an activity team, dining areas and a concierge-type service.

Pricing is determined by the size of the residence and some communities will offer a discount if you sign up for multiple years or may add fees for certain amenities.

  • Deposit required at most communities
  • Monthly rent/fees
  • Some amenities included
  • Short- or long-term contracts may be available
  • No personal assistance or medical help included

Assisted living

This is the choice for senior citizens who are still independent but may need assistance on a daily basis with personal needs such as dressing, meals or transportation. There is a wide range of care offered at this type of community, so make sure your needs can be met.

Assisted living is often designed as small, personal apartments so each resident has their own space. Services can range from place to place, but most have staff available 24 hours a day. Meals are included and these communities often have activities and group dining areas to ensure socialization between the residents.

The cost of this type of living varies, especially based on the amount of assistance needed. Be sure to find out specifically what services are included and which may be an additional fee.

  • Deposit may be required
  • Monthly rent/fees may vary
  • Includes some daily basic personal assistance
  • All meals are usually included

Continuing care retirement community (CCRC)

This type of community combines independent living, assisted living and skilled nursing on one large campus. It is an option for those who want to make one move and don’t want to worry about planning new arrangements if their needs change. As the name implies, the care is continuous throughout the lifetime of the resident.

A CCRC is a popular choice for couples who have one partner who may need a different level of care than the other. Most residents start in independent living arrangements in apartments or cottages and then change to assisted or skilled areas as needed. Each level will have dining and activities as well as staff who can assist with residents needs.

This is the most expensive of long-term care options, but the peace of mind that many people get from knowing they have a continuous residence may offset the costs. Some CCRCs may have certain refund policies you should be aware of when considering this option.

  • Entrance fee required
  • Long-term commitment
  • A wide range of amenities
  • Monthly fees that may increase with care levels
  • Personal and medical care available

Ask about the details

Understand the contracts that you are signing and what you will receive for your money. Ask about what happens if you must break your contract and if you have to pay any penalties or if the community offers some sort of refund.

Finally, moving is a large undertaking. If you are thinking about moving into a senior living community or need assistance moving locations, contact WayForth. As a professional moving solutions company, we can help you every step of the way while you make all the important decisions for your transition.

If you or a family member would like information on how WayForth’s senior move management can help you move into the community of your choice with our comprehensive moving solutions, call our moving professionals today at 1.844.WAYFORTH.

About the Author: WayForth

WayForth is the definitive provider of comprehensive and personalized moving solutions for life and business. Since 2016, WayForth has led the way in move management, providing solutions to over 15,000 individuals and families. How you move matters and no matter the destination, WayForth serves as a guide making life’s transitions easier to navigate. Call 1.844.WAYFORTH today to learn how we can help with your next move!
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