A retirement community is more than just a place to move into during your golden years. It’s a place where you can remain independent by staying involved in the local community, participate in activities, and live worry-free about things like maintenance, landscaping, and even transportation.
On-site health care is a top priority when looking at retirement communities, but you should also be thinking about your everyday activities. In other words, it’s crucial to determine whether a retirement community is committed to helping you Thrive Where You Are® like we are here at Homestead Village.
Find a recreation schedule that works with your interests and needs. Any good recreation schedule will include fun and fulfilling activities that keep you active and offer you a chance to socialize within your community. Your retirement community should provide activities in community buildings and within the surrounding local communities.
A retirement community should not dampen your current lifestyle, but your new community will have specific rules to follow, much like Homeowners’ Associations you’re likely familiar with now. You should review the rules and restrictions in your new community. Guidelines regarding pets, outdoor space landscaping, and interior renovations are common in most retirement communities.
Review the community policy if you have a pet or want one in the future. Ask how you can utilize your outdoor space, and make sure any indoor renovations fit within the community guidelines.
The best choice for retirees is to find a community—such as a Life Plan Community like ours—that offers quality care and has an on-site nursing staff. Make sure your retirement community has medical care available for the future, even if you currently need no assistance. If you plan to keep your primary care provider, check to see if transportation is available for your appointments.
Most retirement communities offer medical care options that are purchased separately from membership and residence. Retirement communities like Homestead Village include 15 days per year of nursing care to cover anything that comes up. If you have a surgery and need assistance for a few days afterward, you will have peace of mind knowing you have that assistance included.
Look over your retirement income to see what finances you will have available long-term. Moving into a retirement community can include membership fees, buy-in fees, property prices, taxes, monthly fees and utilities, health care costs, and more.
You should consult a trusted advisor to walk you through the potential fees and taxes that may be involved in selling your current home to purchase your residence in a retirement community. You may also be able to take tax deductions for part of your monthly fees (this may be true for Life Care, but not for fee-for-service contracts…need to verify). Consult a tax advisor to see what options you have.
Retirement communities can voluntarily seek accreditations for quality of service and care by meeting specific guidelines and requirements. These guidelines and requirements are set up through expert non-governmental or self-regulatory organizations like CARF® or The Joint Commission.
CARF is an independent, nonprofit accreditor that has been working for decades to ensure quality care within organizations like retirement communities and other care facilities. Located in Lancaster, Pa., Homestead Village is an enhanced senior living community with CARF accreditation.
If the retirement community you are looking at is a nonprofit, you can find publicly-available financial records to assess the stability of the organization. If they are a for-profit business, do not be afraid to ask how long they have been in business and if they are growing. Even communities that have only been around for a few years should be able to show you a picture of how stable the business is.
You don’t want to move into a community where the employee turnover rate is high because staff members are unhappy with the organization. Look for information on employee and resident turnover to gauge how well people like the community. Many communities will share information on who their staff is and how they will be available to help you once you move in.
If you plan to be active outside of your retirement community, look into events already happening in the local community. Check to see if there are community groups, theaters, outdoor park areas, and other activities that interest you. Consider how local weather may affect your transportation or travel abilities.
Lancaster, Pa. is an excellent example of an area that offers a vibrant local community with access to art, food, culture, and the great outdoors. And, our home city has just been designated as Age-Friendly, as well, based on several quality-of-life metrics.
Many retirement communities have amenities built into your buy-in price and monthly fees, but some need to be purchased separately. Retirement communities often offer transportation, religious services, outreach programs, laundry services, and more. Find a community with amenities that make sense for your lifestyle and budget by asking which amenities are included and which amenities will cost extra.
If you are not moving into a retirement community near your current home, consider how far you will be from family and friends. You want to make sure you are easily accessible if something happens to you, or if you need to travel to see family. Check to see if the retirement community you are considering has any guest accommodations or discounted rates with local hotels if you do choose to live away from family.
These ten questions will help you assess the retirement communities you are considering to make sure it is the best choice for retirees like yourself. Keep a list of your priorities and questions you may have with you when looking at retirement communities.
If you are looking for a retirement community in Lancaster, Pa. and the surrounding areas, reach out to us at Homestead Village to see what we have to offer—from luxurious carriage home living at The Farmstead to convenient apartment accommodations on our main campus. We are looking forward to discussing our communities and living options that may best fit your needs.