Seven Tips for Choosing a Retirement Community

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There are many choices to consider when it comes to retirement living. Those contemplating a move to a retirement community will find more options available than ever before. Whether researching a retirement community for yourself or a loved one, it's important to ask the right questions, keeping in mind factors such as present and future needs, community location, and financial situation, among other considerations.

Following these tips from ACTS Retirement-Life Communities will put you on the right path toward finding a retirement community that will best meet your needs now and for the long-term.

1. Check the background of the community: Find out who owns and manages the community, as well as the track record of management. Determine whether the community is accredited for meeting high standards in services, operations and finances. Visit carf.org for a list of accredited communities by state. Review the financial performance of the organization, including any credit ratings the company has received from agencies like Standard & Poor's or Fitch.

2. Consider future health needs: Retirement communities today offer many amenities and services but not all provide medical care, making another move a possibility should health needs change. Continuing care retirement communities are the only type of senior community that offers independent living, assisted living and skilled nursing care on a single campus. Some CCRCs even offer specialized programs such as memory care, home health care, and adult day programs as part of their services.

3. Get detailed information about fees: Learn what all fees do and do not include, when fees are subject to increase and under what conditions. Ask about the average fee increase over the past five years. Consider the financial advantages and disadvantages of the contract options the community offers.

4. Meet with residents and tour the community: Arrange an appointment to tour the community, meet with residents and staff, and to sample the food and the service. Notice if the community is clean, well maintained and secure.

5. Use a services and amenities checklist: Get a complete information packet that includes application for admission, fee schedules, floor plans and the resident contract. Compare each community's pricing to amenities, programs and services that are important to you.

6. Ask about recreational and social activities: Find out what kind of social, cultural, educational, spiritual and wellness activities are available. Is there an activities director on staff to plan entertainment, events, and trips? Is transportation available?

7. Consider location and find out if there is a waiting list: Is the community located near family, friends, doctor's office, place of worship, and shopping? Find out if there is a waiting list to move into the community and how it works.

For more tips visit actsretirement.org/guide to download a free booklet called  A Consumer's Guide to Retirement Living. This informative resource explains the range of senior living options that are available, and includes checklists, worksheets and important questions to help you confidently research, evaluate, and compare retirement communities.