By Dawn Zawoysky, Sales Counselor
If you go online and do a Google search for “retirement living,” you’ll be hit with a barrage of information and options — 55+ apartment homes, independent living residences, facilities that specialize in assisted living or memory care, communities that offer independent living along with a continuum of healthcare and more. How do you navigate your way through all of the data and websites to find the solution that’s right for you or your family member? Here are five important considerations to keep in mind as you shop.
• Ownership and management. Find out who owns and manages each community (these may be two different entities) and check on their reputation. You can often find online customer reviews on Google and Yelp, which may help you formulate questions for the staff when you speak on the phone or go take a tour.
• Mission and purpose. Most retirement communities will have a statement on their websites that defines their approach toward senior care. Look for a mission statement that aligns with your own personal beliefs and values.
• Location. Ask yourself what’s most important about where you live. Do you prefer proximity to a city or would you enjoy a more rural setting? Convenience to people and things that are important to you — such as family and friends, church, doctors, banks, shopping and transportation — may play an important role in your choice.
• Opportunities to engage. For example, do you enjoy staying physically active? Look for a community that has amenities like a fitness center, pool or walking trails, and has a roster of exercise and wellness classes. Or, do you like to participate in social and recreational activities? Look for a community that has a schedule of planned outings and get-togethers, a book club or special interest group.
• Health care. As we age, it becomes increasingly important to have a plan for our evolving health needs. But not all seniors have the same needs when it comes to health care. Many retirement communities offer some form of care in addition to independent living or specialize in one type of care, such as assisted living, memory care or skilled care. A life plan or continuing care retirement community will offer a full continuum of care.
Doing a little homework in advance can save you a lot of time, trouble and money. When it comes to selecting the right retirement community — and having a secure, worry-free future — it’s all tied into proper planning in advance for your preferred lifestyle now and for your future as you age.
Dawn Zawoysky is an expert contributor whose columns are featured in Our Milton Neighbor, a community-focused publication serving the Atlanta area.