Seniors have many factors to consider when it comes to downsizing and choosing a retirement community. They may need to think about their budget, medical needs, and proximity to relatives, but the lifestyle available in a community is essential to consider, too. Every community has its own personality, and it is vital to find one that truly feels like home. Here are a few key considerations to keep in mind.
Search for a community that feels like a comfortable fit
Look beyond the marketing brochures and first impressions when evaluating retirement communities — you must dig deeper to establish what the right fit for your needs is. For example, are you looking to continue specific hobbies you enjoy or broaden your social circle? Are you looking to maintain a lot of control as a resident or do you want more structure and less to be responsible for?
Make It Better notes that many retirement communities feel like a combination of a cruise ship and a college campus, providing numerous opportunities to stay socially engaged with others. A calendar full of daily activities to try out is common, but this can be a turnoff if you are looking for a peaceful, quiet new home or are less apt to take advantage of social activities.
Bankrate notes the increasing popularity of affinity retirement communities, or those that create niche communities based on a common hobby or characteristic. They may revolve around a specific professional background, serving the LGBT community, or interests like RV vacationing, nature, or specific colleges. When available, choosing an affinity community can help a senior feel at home quickly since they are easily able to connect to others with similar interests.
Consider factors like religion, median age, and services provided
Additional characteristics to consider include whether a place focuses on a specific religion. Many assisted living or nursing home facilities are religion-based, but each will vary in how dominant that faith is in the day-to-day activities. In addition, Huffington Post suggests that you check into the median age of the residents and try to get a sense of whether it is mostly singles or couples living in the community so you can determine whether you’ll feel like you fit into the group.
It’s important to consider the kinds of services and amenities each retirement community offers; not only will it help you better prepare for the move, you’ll have more tangible pros and cons to weigh between communities. Many will have hairdressers, barbers, housekeeping or laundry services, shuttle buses to take residents off-site, and on-site access to some level of medical care. Dining is typically included as well, but you should inquire about options, pricing, and meal plans.
Social opportunities can vary greatly from neighborhood to neighborhood
Opportunities for swimming, golf, and tennis are common within retirement communities. However, you may also find access to adult education classes, on-site entertainment, fitness classes, music, and more unique sports like “pickle ball” offered too. If you have issues with mobility or some special needs, you will want to look carefully to ensure the community is diligent about being compliant with the American Disabilities Act.
Potential retirement community residents have plenty of choices to sort through when deciding where to spend their golden years. Whether your loved one wants to continue a specific hobby, desires a community that revolves around a specific religion, or wants a place geared toward a niche interest, there are options available. Work with your older loved one to determine his or her priorities so you can find the retirement community that will quickly feel like home as they enjoy their golden years.
[Photo via Pexels] Courtesy of Author: Michael Longsdon (ElderFreedom.net)