As you start to approach your retirement years, two questions are likely swirling through your mind: when should you retire, and where should you retire to? Once you’ve decided on the “when,” it’s time to tackle the “where.” Arizona has long been one of the most popular places for retirees, however, there’s more to consider than just what state you’ll celebrate your golden years in. There are a lot of things to consider when it comes to choosing the right retirement community, so ample research and asking yourself questions is key.
How to Choose the Right Retirement Community
First and foremost, it’s important to acknowledge that there isn’t a one-size-fits-all solution when it comes to retirement communities. These communities cater to a wide range of preferences and needs. Some common types include:
- Active Adult 55+ Communities: Designed for independent living, these communities are perfect for homebuyers who seek an active and engaging lifestyle.
- Senior Independent Living Apartments: These apartments provide seniors with the autonomy they desire while still offering access to a supportive community.
- Assisted Living Homes (or Personal Care): Tailored for those who require some assistance with daily activities, these homes ensure a comfortable and safe environment.
- Nursing Homes: Ideal for individuals in need of skilled nursing care and 24/7 medical attention.
- Memory Care Communities: Specially designed to support seniors dealing with memory loss conditions.
- Life Plan Communities (Continuing Care Retirement Communities): Offering a continuum of care, these communities enable residents to transition smoothly as their needs change over time.
With these options in mind, you’ll also want to consider things such as location, proximity to medical, care, etc. Use this list to help decide what type of community fits your needs best, and then we can work together to find a home that hits all the items on your wish list!
- Location – When evaluating a retirement community, location is paramount. Think about the weather in that area, what’s nearby, and the potential for year-round enjoyment. Visiting the prospective location before making a decision is highly recommended. Take into account the availability of activities and the proximity to major cities, cultural events, and natural beauty.
- Medical Care – Access to quality healthcare is a non-negotiable aspect of choosing a retirement community, and luckily Mesa and the surrounding cities are filled with an abundance of medical facilities and specialists who can assist with any and all medical needs you may have.
- Accessibility – Details related to accessibility and safety features can reveal much about the retirement community. Pay attention to aspects such as walkability, biking paths, elevators, widened doors, stairlifts, and wheelchair ramps. Safety features like handrails, grab bars, and zero-threshold showers are also significant considerations. These factors not only affect your daily comfort but also your peace of mind. Even if you aren’t in need of these features upon move in, by ensuring your home is equipped with additional accessibility features, you are helping plan for your future and limiting the risk of having to move again.
- Recreation – Recreation plays a vital role in retirement living and the “best” communities should be filled with ample recreational offerings. Engaging in recreational activities provides something to look forward to and opens doors to new experiences. Beyond the fun, it’s a chance to make new friends. Don’t hesitate to speak with current residents to gain insights into the community’s activity schedule. Additionally, examine the on-campus recreational amenities available, which may include a woodshop, fitness center, library, and craft areas.
- Food, Dining, and Socialization – If you’re a food enthusiast or simply enjoy dining out, your chosen senior living community should offer a variety of dining options. Communities often provide choices ranging from formal dining rooms with sit-down meals to on-site cafes, grab-and-go options, and small grocery stores. Don’t just rely on menus; visit the places you’re considering tasting the food and assess the overall dining experience. Additionally, if you prefer a more independent lifestyle, make sure to explore the surrounding area to see what restaurants and café’s may be nearby.
- Levels of Care Offered – While you may not require additional levels of care at the moment, it’s wise to consider what a retirement community can offer in terms of future care should it be needed. Some communities provide multiple levels of care, allowing residents to seamlessly transition as their needs evolve. These are often known as life plan communities or continuing care retirement communities. The options may include independent residential living, personal care facilities, memory care, and healthcare centers. It’s also crucial to inquire about the acceptance of Medicare, Medicaid, supplemental Medicare plans, and long-term care insurance.
- Cost and Value – The cost of a retirement community is a significant aspect to consider. Collaborate with your family and a trusted financial professional to examine your financial situation, particularly your long-term savings. Compare your monthly expenses with the cost of the retirement community. Different communities have varying fees and services. Some communities may include amenities such as cable, basic utilities, housekeeping, and Wi-Fi for an affordable monthly fee. Many residents find that their monthly expenses in senior residential living are lower than what it cost to maintain their homes when factoring in utilities, property taxes, and other upkeep.
Choosing the perfect retirement community is an important decision that can significantly impact your quality of life during your golden years. Make sure to take your time, visit various retirement communities, and keep all of the above information in mind when it comes to choosing the retirement community that suits your needs best. Contact me today to start the search for the place you’ll soon call home!