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How to Evaluate a Retirement Community

How to Pick a Retirement Community

With all the options available in senior living retirement communities, it can sometimes seem overwhelming to find the one that’s right for you. If you’re wondering how to pick a retirement community that works best for your lifestyle, start by asking a few questions.

5 questions to ask about independent living facilities:

  1. How independent are the residents? If you’re interested in active senior living, it’s important to find out how dependent or independent a community’s residents are. Ask about the community’s activities and interest groups. Find out if it offers frequent shuttles to shopping, movies and restaurants. Know before you move in if you’ll fit in.
  2. What does the community do to ward off loneliness? Loneliness and social withdrawal are real dangers for retirees. From family visitation schedules to entertainment by local artists and amenities that bring residents together, it’s important to know what a senior living community does to keep residents active and engaged.
  3. What is the ratio of caregivers to residents? Even if you are looking at independent living options, it’s good to know what kind of caregiver arrangement the community offers in case you ever need a little extra help. With a little research, you should be able to find out how many caregivers a community has, how many residents they care for daily, and how long they’ve been with the community.
  4. How’s the food? When it comes to evaluating the best senior living retirement communities, don’t forget about the food. Proper nutrition and culinary enjoyment are important factors in your decision. Aside from investigating the types of food offered and the number of daily meals supplied, look at how often the dining menu changes and how the community deals with food allergies or other dietary restrictions.
  5. What will it cost? The predictability of your finances becomes more important in retirement when most of us will be living on a fixed income. Ask what the price includes. Are food, entertainment and transportation included? When was the last time the costs were increased and by what percentage?

Now that you know the questions to ask about independent living facilities, what are some other ways to evaluate your options?

5 areas to evaluate when looking for the best senior living facilities:

  1. Choose the right location for your lifestyle. No matter where you decide to retire, make sure you’re not isolating yourself from friends, family, and the familiar places that enliven your days. And make sure the community is near shopping, dining, entertainment, and health and medical services.
  2. Evaluate cleanliness, housekeeping and maintenance standards. It’s important to ensure the community lives up to your standards or you’ll never be comfortable. Ask about housekeeping and linen services and make sure you truly understand how a community defines “maintenance free.”
  3. Understand the levels of care. Many communities offer several levels of care. Ask for a detailed explanation of these levels and their costs. What triggers a move from one level to another? Is it your choice or management’s?
  4. Take a tour. A senior living tour, whether in-person or virtual, is often the best way to evaluate your options. Check out your potential personal living space. Is there room for your belongings? Will you have a place to relax or entertain? Evaluate the common areas and the outside spaces as well. If you can see yourself enjoying your life there, chances are you’ve found your community.
  5. Talk with the residents. A tour is great, but don’t just look around. Take the opportunity to meet your potential neighbors. Nothing’s better than hearing about the features and benefits from a resident’s perspective. Ask if they have any concerns, and while you’re talking with them, assess their physical appearance for any clues about the level of care they receive.

Where you spend your retirement is a big decision. Do your homework, ask a lot of questions, and tune in to your feelings. You might find that if it feels right, you’ll just know.

Timber Ridge is guided by one question: What do seniors want in a retirement community?

Use these questions and evaluation steps to compare the senior living communities you’re interested in. Then, to learn more about how Timber Ridge elevates the expectations of senior living, take an inside look at our beautiful senior living community or check out our luxurious floor plans. You’ll begin to see the possibilities that await.