Choosing the Right Retirement Community for You

When it comes time to retire, more and more retirees are choosing to move to a retirement community. The very first thing you need to take into consideration is where you want your retirement community  to be located.  You can start this process by first narrowing it down to a region, then to the state, and finally to the city.  Things to take into consideration include the year-round weather, the topography, and the nearby sites and attractions that you might be interested in. Many people like to be close to where they live now, just a little further out.  But some like to move to the city.

If you have children, you might also want to consider a location that is near to them so you can more easily spend time with them and with your grandchildren.  In addition, if you have special medical needs, you might want to choose a community that is near to certain medical facilities. Or, if you are interested in pursuing educational interests that you never had the time for before retirement, a college community might be the best location for you.

Know Your Needs and Desires

Not all retirement communities are the same, so you need to have a clear idea of what you need and what you want in a retirement community. First, some retirement communities are set up like apartments, while others utilize manufactured homes, RVs, townhomes and single family homes.  Therefore, you will first need to make a decision regarding which of these building styles is most desirable to you. If you are looking for a little more privacy and ease of access, a retirement community made of manufactured homes or single family homes may be the best option for you.

Be sure to consider your hobbies as well.  In that way, you can select a retirement community that will make it easier for you to pursue those hobbies.  For example, if you enjoy golfing, you might want to find a retirement community that is on a golf course. If you like fishing, then a community near the lake is ideal. If you want to be able to have most of your needs met within the retirement community, you might want to seek out a resort-type community.  On the other hand, if you might occasionally need some assistance with your basic living needs, you might want to consider an active adult community that also offers basic assisted living services.

Determine Your Budget

Now that you have an idea of where you would like the retirement community to be located and what you want and need in the community, you need to take a closer look at your finances in order to determine what you can afford. Before you sign any agreements, make sure you have enough money to pay all necessary fees for the rest of your life.

Remember, there will be a number of different fees you might have to pay when moving in to a retirement community.  These include homeowner's fees, utilities, cable or satellite, taxes, insurance, Clubhouse fees, security services, and other amenities such as use of the tennis courts or fitness centers.  The retirement community you are considering may or not include all of these costs in the basic fees, but this is not necessarily the case.  Therefore, you need to be sure to find out what is and is not included in your fees.

Make Visits to Retirement Communities

Once you have your choices narrowed down, contact the retirement communities you are considering and ask for more information.  The retirement community will likely send you a packet filled with information that you can browse through.  In many cases, the retirement community will also offer a visitor's program or retirement community vacation getaway program, that will allow you to take a tour of the property.  Some also offer overnight stays at low rates, which can give you a better idea of whether or not the community is right for you.

When you visit the retirement community, be sure to pay attention and to ask lots of questions.  If the residents are friendly and appear to be happy, this community is likely a good place to live.  If possible, visit with the residents and ask them if they like living in the community and what they consider to be the pros and cons of that particular community.

As you tour the community, make note of the floor plans and of the proximity of services.  How easy is it to take out your trash or to do your laundry? Are laundry facilities located in your home or apartment or do you have to share facilities at one central location? Is the floor plan of the home or apartment convenient for you or will you have trouble getting up and down stairs or accessing the restroom from your bedroom?  Remember, you will likely be living at this community for the rest of your life. As such, you should consider all of these factors in order to guarantee ease of living.

Considering the Extras

There are several extra conveniences you should keep in mind when making your final decision.  For example, are there restaurants you like nearby, what about art and cultural activities.

You might also want to consider the available transportation within the community.  If your spouse is still working and taking the car during the day, a shuttle bus within the community will prevent you from getting stuck at home while your spouse is away.  Or, you may simple wish to avoid the expense of a car.  In this case, a shuttle bus will help you do so.

You should also consider the security services that are in place.  A manned electronic gate coupled with patrol of the premises will offer the highest level of security.  Having a high level of security can give you the peace of mind you really desire.

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17 Sep 2016


By By Robert Fowler
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