Insightsthe blog of Porter Hills
How to select a retirement community
Starting an exciting new chapter in your life story…
This is certainly an exciting new step, but for many it can be a very anxious time as well. People have spent the better part of their life story creating the life circumstances they are currently in. As we “change in age”, we also may likely “change in stage” and many of the aspects of our current circumstances may no longer fit this new chapter in our life.
Consider your current circumstances an the opportunities for change
- The layout of your home – it’s evolved over time and supported family needs to this point. Now, looking at changes in lifestyle, and often mobility, can require a reevaluation of the format of our living space.
- How many rooms do we need?
- Are stairs potentially a challenge?
- Will maintenance and upkeep of the home detract from quality of life?
- Memories and items – they have accumulated over the years and have filled the home. Is it time to revisit the items we have accumulated?
- Share these memories with other family members?
- Donate items to the community, or sell them?
- Habits and routines – daily living tasks that have served you to this point, but are changing. We need to reassess how we are spending our days, based upon where we are in our life story.
- Are we remaining active?
- Relationships and your neighborhood – people, places, and services that are local, familiar and important to you.
- Are we engaging with our community?
- Would a change in venue enhance our quality of life?
If the answer to the last question is yes, that a change in venue would enhance our quality of life, then it is time to consider Selecting a retirement community. Let’s begin.
Location, Location, Location!
This is the age-old rule that realtors say is the first to consider when considering a move. This holds true to selecting a retirement community, as well. Consider a location that will provide for;
- Access to family or friends will provide for enhanced quality of life.
- If being part of a faith based community is important, then look for one nearby.
- Cost of living. Making sure that “living” in the place you choose is financially sustainable.
- Medical services. As we age, convenient access to high quality healthcare is literally vital.
- Culture and Recreation. Let’s not forget that having fun is a great way to spend your time!
The “Proper Fit”
There are many different types of retirement communities available. Each has its perceived strong points or drawbacks;
- Active Adult Communities. These are governed by HUD and FHA rules, and offer an active independent “resort like” lifestyle in homes, townhomes, and apartments.
- Age restricted, where specific ages are prohibited from being permanent residents.
- Age targeted, where the goal is to attract a certain age demographic.
- Leisure Communities. These also are governed by HUD and FHA rules, and offer an active independent “resort like” lifestyle in homes, townhomes, and apartments. These are communities designed for seniors who are single or couples, but families are welcome
- Independent Living Communities. These also are governed by HUD and FHA rules, and offer an active independent “resort like” lifestyle in homes, townhomes, and apartments. There is generally a rental or ownership financial arrangement, with a broad selection of support services like; housekeeping, maintenance, dining, transportation, recreation and social activities.
- Continuing Care Retirement Communities. These communities offer a full range of options, and services, to support residents through the balance of their life, from full independence to sub-acute care, and generally situated in one location. Residents enter the “Continuum” with an understanding that there are financial requirements that need to be met, and maintained, to allow for this ongoing care. Some communities offer a benevolence aspect to provide financially for individuals who exhaust their financial resources in the pursuit of their care.
Available resources to assist you in finding your new home.
Using resources, like those described below, can help you organize, and find the best fit for you. Their experienced staff, will ask the types of questions necessary to narrow the field, and save you time and resources.
- Local Referral Networks. These are often staffed with individuals who have personal experiences with the communities being considered
- National Franchised Referral Networks. Owned and operated by local resources with the additional benefit of a national presence, which can help if you are considering multiple cities and locations.
- Internet based Referral Networks. Again, these organizations offer a wide scope of options, and can help with searches of a wider geographic nature.
There is no “one answer”.
Each community you consider will have advantages and challenges. Like any long-term relationship, consistency of good performance will generally yield the best outcomes. Ask to speak with those who live there, and you will likely get the perspective closest to your own. Whatever you decide, have fun, and enjoy this exciting new chapter in your life!
Use our decision guide as a starting point to learn the best way Porter Hills can serve you.