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Choosing a retirement community that is the right fit typically involves a detailed and organized search process. In order to ensure you’re making an informed decision, follow these 5 steps to finding a retirement community.
1. Determine your needs
What are the things you’ll need in order to feel comfortable and well cared for? These might include prepared meals, medication monitoring, rehabilitation, nursing support, religious affiliation, physical fitness, social activities, etc. Write down all of your needs (and wants) and keep the list nearby as you conduct your search. This will save time and eliminate those communities that don’t offer what you need. “If you aren’t sure what you need, start visiting different communities (online or in person) to help develop your list,” advises Taimi Post, corporate director of sales and marketing with The Royale Group of Retirement Residences.
2. Meet with lots of people
Once you’ve narrowed down the list of potential communities, in-person visits are key. Be sure to take the time to speak with people in various roles, Post advises. “Talk to the manager who oversees community relations as well as the general manager of the site,” she says. “Beyond that, stop staff in the hallways and say ‘hello,’ speak with the director of wellness or the chef, depending on your needs, and ask residents to candidly describe their experiences and level of comfort within the community.”
3. Experience it in real life
How you feel within a community is the best indication of what your experience will be like once you’re living there. Spend a full day or even consider a week-long trial or vacation stay in order to solidify your decision, Post advises. “During this stay you’ll want to taste the food, try out the activities, feel the energy and get to know the residents—all of which will let you know if this is the right fit for you.”
Did you know that some retirement communities offer vacation stays? These trials allow you to experience the community first-hand.
4. Consider safety
These days, people aren’t just looking for comfort but also safety, says Post. Make sure all of the checks are in place, standards are adhered to, licences are up to date, and that you’ll feel safe and secure living in this particular environment.
5. Think long-term
It’s important to think about whether this community and its amenities and services will be a good fit for your needs today—and into the future, says Post. Look at what’s available to allow you to transition through the stages of your retirement while remaining in one community. “Also, consider whether the costs associated with a particular community are financially feasible for the short and long term,” she says. A retirement community should be transparent in that regard, explaining to potential residents all of the services available and the costs associated with each.