Planning

5 Questions to Consider When Interviewing a Retirement Community

Reaching retirement is a huge achievement. You’ve worked and planned your whole life for this! It’s time to make sure your hard work pays off and you’re able to enjoy the fruits of your labor. Whether you’re fully independent, or in need of some assistance with daily living, choosing the right retirement community should be filled with excitement and hope. 

But all too often it can be confusing and stressful if you don’t know what you’re looking for or the right questions to ask. Make sure you’re prepared with more than just the marketing materials and tours. Here are 5 questions to consider as you assess different retirement communities.

What Type of Retirement Community Do You Need?

The first question is something you should ask yourself: What type of retirement community do you need? As expected, the choices seem to be endless, but understanding what you need is the first step in making the right choice.

  • Independent living is for older adults who are still relatively self-sufficient but would like to live in a community with other retirees. 
  • Assisted living is for those who require support with daily activities such as meal prep and medication management but do not require extensive medical care. 
  • Nursing homes are also known as long-term care facilities and are meant for individuals who need a lot of daily medical care.
  • Continuing care facilities are a type of hybrid solution in which the community offers several levels of medical assistance depending on the needs of each resident.

What is the Monthly Cost and What Does it Include?

Now that you’ve narrowed down the type of community you need, it’s time to get to the dollars and cents. A lot of the financial questions can be answered by reviewing a copy of the contract. At the very least, you want to make sure that most, if not all, of your basic necessities are covered in the monthly costs. This should include things like:

  • Utilities
  • Monthly meal allowance
  • Laundry services
  • General maintenance
  • 24-hour security
  • Transportation services
  • Fitness membership
  • Property taxes and insurance

What Activities and Amenities are Offered?

Many communities offer monthly social events and outings to foster a sense of belonging and fun. Activities can include painting, karaoke, bingo, yoga, dance classes, and much more! When interviewing a community, ask to see a copy of their monthly activity calendar to get an idea of what is offered. Make sure to follow up with questions about who does the planning and how the events are chosen. Some communities will involve residents in the decision-making, while others will not.

Is Medical Care Available?

Aging is a fact of life, and as we age, we inevitably require more medical care. The last thing you want is to pay a huge monthly fee to live in an independent retirement community, only to find out there is little to no medical care available as you age. You also don’t want to pay for the cost of a full medical staff if you don’t require any medical attention. It’s a fine line to walk, so make sure you are aware of what potential communities do and do not offer in regards to medical care.

What Are the Rules and Regulations?

Last but not least, be sure to inquire about the rules and regulations for each community. Can you have pets? Can visitors sleep over? What are the rules regarding common areas at night? Moving into a community means you are giving up some degree of personal freedom, so it’s important to understand where you are willing to compromise. If you absolutely cannot give up your fur-baby, then you should probably choose a community that allows pets. Or if having your grandchildren spend the night on occasion is very important to you, be sure your community will be supportive. These small details can make a big difference in the quality of your day-to-day life.

Choosing the Right Community

Choosing a retirement community doesn’t have to be overwhelming or stressful. At Altavista Wealth Management, we can help you navigate these questions and more. Reach out to us at 866-684-2600 to schedule an introductory meeting.