Elderly Couple Playing Dominoes in Senior HomeChoosing the right senior community is an important decision that can determine just how “golden” your golden years are. Of course, what makes a good senior community varies for each person. Here are five tips that will help you determine the best possible senior community for you.

  1. Start Looking Before You Need To

    Many people resist moving into a senior community (often because they have unrealistic views of what senior communities are like), and therefore don’t look for one until they absolutely have to. However, this puts them and their loved ones in a stressful situation where they’re rushing to make a decision.

    Even if you don’t plan to move to a senior community for a few years, there’s no harm in looking now. That way you’ll have plenty of time to check out different options and pick the best one. Read reviews of the senior communities in your area, or look at the assisted living records and reports for your state to determine which communities are most liked and worth checking out.

  2. Determine What Type of Community You Want to Live In

    The term “senior community” may refer to an independent living community, assisted living community, or nursing home. Independent living communities are house or apartment communities designed specifically for seniors. The residents live independently but there are services such as transportation or recreation available.

    Assisted living communities offer an additional level of support for those seniors who might need help with everyday tasks such as dressing and bathing, but don’t need the 24-hour medical care provided by nursing homes.

    Nursing homes offer the most care, but less independence. Still, many are enjoyable places to live with friendly staff and lots of activities.

    In addition to these three main types of communities, there are many “niche” senior communities such as gay and lesbian senior communities, Christian senior communities, or eco-friendly senior communities.

  3. Determine What Services You Need

    Senior communities offer a wide range of services, so before choosing one you’ll need to decide which services are most important to you. A few common services include:

    • Social events
    • Transportation services
    • Daily living assistance
    • Meals
    • Personal laundry
    • Beauty and barber services
    • Pet care
  4. Consider Your Financial Situation

    How old you are and how much money you have saved will affect the senior community you can afford. Also, if you’re selling your current home, that will make a big difference. Even though senior communities can be expensive, some senior citizens find that compared to the monthly expenses of keeping up their house, the community doesn’t cost much more and comes with a lot of additional benefits.

  5. Visit the Community

    One of the most important things you can do before making your final decision is to actually visit the community. Online reviews are a great way to start, but going there will give you a better understanding of the community. For example, is the staff friendly? Are the other residents inviting? If you’re observing a nursing home, how does it smell? This can be an important indicator of cleanliness.

    If possible, try to visit the community during an event or a meal. This will give you a chance to hang out for a while, talk to people, see what the place is really like, and see if the food is any good.

A good senior community will greatly enhance your retirement. So start looking early, and remember to trust your instincts.