How to Find the Right Retirement Community for You: A Step-by-Step Guide

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Deciding to move into a retirement community is a big step for many people. There are so many questions that need to be answered before deciding on which retirement community is best for you. At Concordia, we’ve been serving retirees looking for “life plan” communities for years, and we’ve found that many people follow a similar process when finding the right retirement community for them. Below are five steps to making this big decision.

Step 1: Ask yourself what you want and need in a retirement living community – Everyone is different, so really thinking about what you want and need in a community is essential to narrowing your search. Some things that you may ask yourself are “In what area do I want to live?”, “How often do I want to cook for myself?”, “Do I want to live in a place with support services onsite or nearby?”, “Do I care about paying multiple bills?”, “What can I afford?” and “How much home maintenance am I willing to do?”. Different communities have varying meal plan options, and most charge you for 25-30 meals per month (at Concordia, our meal plan options are typically around 15 per month). One benefit of retirement community living is that you usually only have one bill a month, and you shouldn’t have to worry about fixing the broken refrigerator, shoveling snow or mowing grass.

When you have answered these important questions then you can start moving into questions that pertain more to your daily routine. Asking questions like “Will I be able to bring my car, and do I want to drive everywhere myself?”, “Do I want to bring a pet?”, and “What sort of activities am I interested in doing?” can also help to narrow your decision. Make a list of your needs and wants, and order them from most to least important.

Step 2: Research – Now that you have narrowed down what you are looking for in a retirement community, it is time to do some research. Looking at different communities, what they cost and what they offer can help to decide which places are worth visiting. While your dream retirement community may not exist exactly how you want it for the price you’re willing to pay, there are places that will meet most of your wants and needs. Look on the internet, ask friends, family members and clergy for suggestions, and see which communities often have open houses and other events. Keep things at your pace.

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Step 3: Visit – After you have narrowed down your list of retirement communities, it is time to schedule visits. Visiting these communities can help you to see if you truly feel at home there. This is the perfect time to ask the more in-depth questions that the admissions counselors can answers. Some of the information that you may find helpful is where your entrance fee goes, how long it takes to get your refundable portion back after vacating the apartment, how long most residents live at the community and if the community is accredited (many are accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of Rehabilitation Facilities, or CARF). These are some of the topics that mean the most to Concordia residents. We are CARF-accredited and one of only a few senior care organizations in the country to hold a AA- rating from Standard & Poor’s.

Step 4: Talk over all of the facts – Making a decision like this can feel very overwhelming at different points. It is always a good idea to sit down with your loved ones and discuss all of your options. This also gives you the opportunity to get someone else’s thoughts and opinions on this subject.

Step 5: Make the Final Decision – Once you have completed all of the steps above your final decision should be a little bit easier to make. You should feel confident that the retirement community you choose is the right place for you and hits as many of your wants and needs as possible.

Hopefully the steps above help you find the right retirement community for you. For more information on choosing a retirement community, check out these articles:

Concordia offers free, personalized tours (and open houses) of our senior living communities. To schedule one or learn more about a specific location, check out the Retirement Living section of our website and visit the location you are interested in. For general information, call our administrative headquarters at 724-352-1571 or message us through the Contact form here. Click here to view our upcoming open houses and other community events.

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