How To Evaluate a Retirement Community
May 11, 2021Retirement Communities
When you’re looking for a retirement home, you are looking for more than just a new home. Instead, you’re looking for a proper support system, for amenities, and for everything that perfectly fits within your needs, budget, and lifestyle. But how do you evaluate a retirement community?
Have you ever wondered why they make both hot dogs and hamburgers? Well, it’s because we all have different tastes, needs, and desires. The same applies when it comes to choosing a retirement community. But because choosing a perfect senior living community is a huge decision, there are a lot of things to evaluate. From the questions to ask to the things to look, making this decision can be overwhelming but not impossible. The most important thing is to understand all the fundamentals that go into finding the perfect senior living community and that’s what this article is all about.
The best way to find the most appropriate senior living community is by scheduling a tour, talking to those who live and work there, and more importantly, trusting your instincts. You can start by checking out the senior living communities online to determine the ones that might be of interest to you based on their geographical locations, services, amenities, and your areas of interest. After making a list, you can then make personal visits and evaluate whether or not they can be perfect for your needs, lifestyles, and of course, your budget.
So without further ado, let’s round up some crucial factors that should go into evaluating a senior living community.
Table of contents
Evaluate Your Needs, Lifestyle, and Requirements
Nothing is more important than knowing exactly what you want in a senior living community. Are you feeling lonely in your home? Do you have problems doing normal chores like cooking and bathing? What’s your financial situation and what’s your budget? Are you looking to downgrade to a smaller space with a sense of community? Do you anticipate serious changes in your health? What’s your lifestyle?
Whatever your life preferences, needs, and budget, it’s important to know exactly what you want and use them as your guideline in choosing the perfect retirement community for you.
Check Online and Choose the Right Location
Are you looking for a retirement home within your local community where your loved ones can easily visit or are you looking for a retirement home in one of the sunny states in the south? No matter what you want, it’s of great essence that you check online and make a list of the right locations that fit within what you want in terms of geographical location and weather.
You certainly do not want to go to a retirement home only to find that it rains in the area daily yet you want a sunny location. When looking at the website of a retirement home, make sure that you check out their mission and purpose and get invaluable insights into their guiding approach. Make sure that their mission and purpose align more closely to your needs and requirements.
Visit the Retirement Home(s)
After narrowing down on retirement homes that might be of interest, it’s fundamental that you pay a personal tour. Are you wondering why you should go in person? Well, this will give you the chance to not only experience but also feel the retirement home for yourself. Believe it or not, it’s nearly impossible to get the real feel of the retirement home by just visiting the website, checking the photos, and reading reviews.
You should, therefore, tour the retirement home, see the environment and feel whether it’s warm and vibrant or cold and somber. Is the food appetizing? Is the staff warm, friendly, and receptive? Are the environment and atmosphere appealing to you? These are some of the many questions you should answer. If anything, how the retirement home makes you feel is of great significance.
Evaluate Housekeeping, Cleanliness and Maintenance Standards
You’ll, of course, do most of your evaluation when you visit and so you shouldn’t take anything for granted. Although your level of cleanliness may not be in sync with everyone else’s, you shouldn’t make any compromises. In other words, if the cleanliness level, housekeeping and maintenance standards in the retirement home aren’t at par with the levels that you’re comfortable with, it would be a very big mistake to compromise.
As such, you should inspect every part of the retirement home and make sure that the level of cleanliness is in parity with your normal standards if not better.
Tour the Living Spaces
You, of course, want to make sure that the living space is impeccable, comfy, and perfect not just for you but also for your guests. You have to examine the living space where you will be living and find out if it’s clean and in perfect condition.
In addition to the living spaces, get the feel of common areas, the gardens, parking lots and many more. The main question is; will you be happy living here? If yes, go for it!
Get a Taste of a Meal or Two
Meals play an important role in our daily lives and you can’t assume them. They can be the highlight of your days here and so you should get a taste before committing. Are they nutritious? Do they meet your level of requirements? Do they suit your taste? Is the wait staff hospitable and good-natured? Do they handle special requests? Are the residents enjoying the meals? Are there complaints?
In essence, make sure that the meals are perfectly suitable for you at all times.
Review the Staff
The quality of the staff at the retirement home is one of the most important factors to evaluate. Whether the receptionist is friendly and smiley or the sales director is convincing, you should venture further. Request to meet the registered nurses, helpers, and executive directors. Talk to the care associates and keenly observe how they interact with the residents. Are they friendly or are they dismissive? Are they overworked? What happens when you fall sick or need help? Is there a memory care unit onsite? Make sure that you are fully satisfied before committing.
Take a Walk around the Retirement Home
You’ve toured the retirement and you’re probably satisfied with what you’ve seen but are you happy with the outside? You’ll only know if you talk a walk around the retirement home and see for yourself. Is it safe and secure? Are the people around friendly? Are there emergency exits? This is the perfect time to look at such things.
Speaking of safety and security, make sure that the retirement home is secure and has controlled access. You, of course, do not want to be a victim of any form of security lapse. There should be emergency call buttons, controlled procedures when it comes to visitations, and the hallways should wide enough. There should be wheelchairs and everything that meets the ADA set standards.
Evaluate Activities and Amenities
A perfect retirement should have at least something for everyone. Whether it revolves around entertainment, activities, events or normal amenities, make sure that the retirement home has amenities that suit your lifestyle. Are pets allowed? Do they have Wi-Fi? Again, activities should not be mandatory. Instead, they should be voluntary and this will only happen is they have something for everyone.
Talk to Residents
Although the retirement home might have a front person to tell you what they want you to hear, you should talk to other residents just to get the real perspective and perhaps uncover untold concerns. You can also talk to the residents’ families and make sure that you have a real view of the situation.
Get a Written Quote or Statement of Cost
Is the retirement home within your budget? You’ll know for sure if you get a written statement of cost. Find out the accepted mode of payments. For instance, do they accept private funds or long-term care insurance? Do they have government subsidies and are the prices negotiable? Are some apartments priced lower than others or are there other hidden fees? Would they allow you to stay for a couple of weeks should you run out of money? Do you need to provide any notice if you want to move out and will they refund you?
As you can see, evaluating a retirement can be a very difficult undertaking, especially if you don’t know how to go about it. While there are so many options, the journey of choosing a perfect retirement home for you should start by knowing exactly what you need in a retirement home. Although there’s no “one size fits all,” most of the amenities should provide for the things that are most important to you, to your well-being, and to your lifestyle. Take a personal tour, talk to the residents, inspect every part of the retirement home, and more importantly, make sure that they are within your required level or even perhaps much better.
About THE AUTHOR
With multiple family members currently in senior living facilities, David is in the trenches every week, learning the ins and outs of nursing homes, assisted living, memory care, and general senior living.Read more about David Bolton
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