Important Questions to Ask When Considering a 55+ Community
Getting older does not mean enjoying life less. Just look around. More people than ever are living longer and finding fulfilling ways to spend their senior years. From advances in healthcare to extensions in overall longevity, many factors are conspiring to change the way we age and the way we want to live. In fact, you may have noticed 55+ communities springing up all around you.
Some are townhouse communities and apartment complexes where seniors gather to enjoy the good life, without the need for constant upkeep, home repairs and lawn care. Others provide more space, with single-family houses, garages, and other amenities. No matter which type of 55+ community most appeals to you, there are some key questions you need to ask before signing up or moving in:
Can the Grandchildren Come to Visit?
Few 55+ communities would have a problem with an occasional visit by your children and grandchildren, but some set strict limits on the number of overnight stays younger people can enjoy.
It is important to understand the ground rules regarding overnight visits and stays by those under the age range established by the community. Knowing the rules up front is the best way to avoid problems and hard feelings after you move in.
What Levels of Care Are Available?
One of the biggest advantages of moving into a senior living community is the ability to age in place and have your needs met as the years tick by. You obviously hope you will never need nursing care or other long-term care services, but it is important to be prepared.
Ask the intake counselor or representative about the levels of care they offer and the costs associated with moving from one to the other. Some senior living communities provide a comprehensive list of services for a set price, while other ramp up the charges as care needs increase.
What is the Entrance Fee and Is it Refundable?
You will probably have to pay an entrance fee to move in, so be sure to ask how much it is and when it is due. Also be sure to ask if the fee is refundable; senior living communities are not for everyone, and you do not want to be stuck with a huge expense if you decide that a 55+ community is not the right choice for you and your spouse.
It is a good idea to shop around at a number of local communities and compare entrance charges and monthly fees. The cost of living in a senior facility varies greatly, and it is important to get the best deal.
How Much is the Monthly Fee and How Often Has It Increased?
The affordability of senior living communities varies a great deal, and it is important to choose one that meets your needs and your budget. Knowing the current monthly fee is not enough; you will also want to know how much and how quickly such costs have risen since the community was founded, so ask the facility's representative for a history of fees. Controlling expenses is important, especially if you are retired and living on a fixed income.
What Kinds of Activities Do You Offer?
One of the main attractions of living in a 55+ community is the chance to mix and mingle with other people of your age. Many places offer a host of organized activities, from shopping excursions and plays to nature hikes and tennis tournaments.
It is important to find a facility that matches your needs and desired lifestyle. If you love the outdoors, a 55+ community with hiking trails, fountains, and gardens would be a great choice. If you are an art lover, a community with lots of trips to museums and cultural activities would be perfect.
Take Away:If you are ready to retire and downsize your life, moving to a senior living facility can be a smart idea. But take you time and do not rush this important decision. Knowing which questions to ask and what to look for will make your move even better and help you make a smooth transition.