When you decide to move, finding the right home and neighborhood to match you or your family’s needs take time and research. Deciding to move into a senior living community isn’t any different. Since these communities are designed with seniors in mind, they may be a great option to consider if for example, you no longer want to maintain a home and/or just want the option of nearby services and care if needed. Each community can be very different in their offerings so knowing the right questions to ask and decision techniques is important. After that, you are the only one that knows what will make your new place feel like home. Here’s what you need to know.

Moving to a senior living community? WayForth is your certified senior move management company. Our moving professionals help you with all of your moving needs. Contact our team of experts today!

Have a plan.

These locations are often convenient one-level units that cater to senior safety, but it’s important to visit a couple different locations before making a final decision. A good trick is making a list of the services and conveniences that are most important to you. Design a list of questions you want to ask so you get the answers you need. Then, take the list along with you to each community visit. By checking off what’s available and favorable per location, it will help you with the decision process and provide some clarity.

Location, Location, Location!

For many seniors, location is the most important factor in deciding where to live. Whether to be closer to your family and friends, or just to enjoy the businesses and restaurants that you like to frequent is priceless. We recommend choosing an area you like for whatever reason, and then expand your search from there.

Are There Costs in Advance?

Community costs vary by location, size of the apartment, and community features. They range from $500 to several thousand dollars per month. Be sure to ask about community fees and security deposits before signing any paperwork. Sometimes there are different fees assumed to be paid by the community. An example is communities that require a “buy-in” fee up front, in addition to monthly rental fees. Some communities require a one-year lease, while others offer a month-to-month lease, and some have seasonal rates for snowbirds. Then there are communities that offer purchase options, in addition to, or instead of renting. Make sure to research (or ask) if your community is regulated by state health care requirements or on basic landlord and tenant laws. Continuing Care Retirement Communities, also known as LifePlan Communities and assisted living communities are regulated by such requirements. Obtaining professional help such as financial advice and done-for-you move management can really help organize the process and reduce the stress for you and family members during this process.

For more information on different senior living communities, read our blog here.

Do you understand their dynamics?

Most communities have their own regulations and include maintenance services and utilities costs, and some do not. Maintenance repairs and updates are usually covered, and may include apartment appliance repairs, as well as safety and code upgrades. However, you could be responsible for decorating costs such as painting or window treatments upgrades. So, check for restrictions regarding long term changes as they may turn out to be costly to revert back to its original form.

Most senior living community monthly fees include utilities such as gas, electric, water, trash, and recycling services. Some locations include complimentary Wi-Fi in common areas and basic cable TV. However, you may be responsible for phone, expanded cable packages and Wi-Fi for personal use, such as streaming videos, shows or other online applications. To help find options of utilities provider in your area, use InMyArea.com. They provide options to search by zip code for local utility companies in your area.

What are your transportation options?

A lot of the seniors in these communities are able and choose to drive. Ask if you’re allowed to have your own car, and if so, is it mandatory to rent their garage? Are there parking spaces provided for you and your visitors? Typically, parking and storage are included so it is always good to ask.

Communities may have buses or vans available to take several residents out for various errands or to entertainment outings such as theatre plays or Sunday church services. Often these are pre-scheduled group outings and can offer personal interactions and an opportunity for you and others to make new friends. Want to find fun events in your area but don’t know how to find them? Visit succeedsocially.com for a list of resources.

What other amenities are offered through the community?

Most senior living communities gear their offerings towards seniors and may offer you the conveniences and amenities you’re looking for. However, don’t make a commitment and assume they are offered only to find out they are either not available or are too expensive to enjoy.

Services such as light housekeeping, laundry, or linen services are good services to keep in mind. How about having access to a fitness room and/or exercise equipment if you like to stay active? Are they available to all residents, or available only for an additional fee? Or having complementary classes such as yoga, strength training or Pilates would be a perk. Do they have them, is there a fee associated? If Pilates is something you’ve always wanted to try but don’t know the items to have for the class, if any, give Pilatesdigest.com a look. They list out all the basics so you can get the most out of your initial session.

Additional amenities to ask about are salons, restaurants, community dining rooms, or even physical therapy and massages. Some locations have doctors come out to the communities. These services are typically provided on an individual basis and most likely require payment. Depending on the community, fun group activities such as dancing, and crafts may be offered to enjoy throughout the day. Some of these activities are complimentary, however, it’s still good to ask if there is a cost involved. Knowing what works best for you or your loved one is key.

What about visiting time with your furry and not-so-furry family members?

We all have animals and humans we love, so it’s important to know if they can be at your home and feel relaxed. This could be a huge deciding factor. For pet owners, we recommend asking if the community allows pets. If so, how much extra per month does it cost to have Rover and Fluffy living in your humble abode? Could there be pet restrictions in place? For example, some communities have a weight limit on the size of your pet, usually dogs. There may also be a limit on the number of animals you may have at any one time. Some places will require a higher fee for cats. It’s a personal decision to have pets in your home and they quickly become family members so choosing a senior living community that recognizes this is vital.

Your not-so-furry family means everything to you, and spending time with them is priceless. Asking about guest constraints or guidelines is recommended. For example, can you have overnight visitors? Or is there a limit on the number of visitors you can host at one time? Do they have “quiet time” hours, meaning your guests would have to leave by a certain timeframe? If you have a large and extended family and/or several young grandchildren, this may become a hinderance over time and might not be the best option to choose for you and your family. Taking situations like this into account will help make your decision even better.

Don’t be afraid to ask the questions that are important to you and your family’s happiness and financial health. Choosing your next home will take a diligent effort. However, those efforts pay off the moment you are moved and settled into your cozy and inviting new home. It’s undeniably exciting knowing you and your loved ones are about to begin the next chapter of your lives at a welcoming senior living community with all of the amenities that make your home special.

We offer customizable move management solutions designed with you and your loved one in mind. You choose your next home; we’ll do the rest. Call 1-844-WAYFORTH or click here to be connected to a WayForth skilled professional.

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!
Wayforth newsletter

Join the List

Sign up to receive our blogs and stay in the know about industry downsizing and moving tips.

Get access to our e-book

Navigate the most challenging aspects of probate with ease, including sensitive emotional matters, by following our expert guide.

WayForth is a Proud Supporter

June is Alzheimer’s and Brain Awareness Month. Join us and #GoPurple in support of the more than 6 million Americans living with Alzheimer’s.


You’ve got questions – we’ve got answers!