4 Tips to Choosing a Retirement Community

Written by Teresa Bergen

4 Tips to Simplify The Process of Choosing A Retirement Community

The following tips can help you avoid the common pitfalls associated with choosing a retirement community.

An ounce of prevention is worth more than a pound of cure.

Choosing a retirement community can be stressful and requires preparation. According to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), preparation is best done before decisions have to be made. This gives you the opportunity to make housing choices based on what is best for you now, and the ability to make your wishes known in the event you are not able to speak for yourself.

Inventory your current and anticipated needs.

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services recommends inventorying your current needs and resources then comparing those to your anticipated needs. This means choosing a retirement community based on the level of care you need now with an option to transition to a higher level of care later.

Talk to your financial adviser or advocate.

Once you have completed your comparison, speak with your financial adviser or advocate. A financial adviser will be able to help you decide what choices you have for managing your finances over the course of your retirement. Do not forget to consider any assistance you may be eligible for now, or in the future from outside sources. Examples include any assistance that will help you with pay for insurance benefits and living expenses. To find an advocate trained in helping you plan and choose a retirement community, contact the Peninsula Agency on Aging or visit the Virginia Division for the Aging at vda.virginia.gov.

Narrow down the number of communities you want to review.

Review and compare the retirement communities you choose using a consistent detailed list that is designed to show their strengths and weaknesses. You can compare retirement communities online at Retirement Living Information Center and Medicare.gov’s Nursing Home Compare, or go on site visit to see the facilities and speak to administrative staff and caregivers.

Though there are only four tips provided here, don’t underestimate the complexities of choosing a retirement community. Throughout the process, align yourself with people that will help you navigate through the complexities. Not all retirement communities are equal. After all, you have reached the pivotal moment in your life when you deserve to have peace of mind, and the retirement of your dreams.

About the author

Teresa Bergen

Teresa Bergen is a Portland, Oregon-based freelance writer and web content developer who specializes in health, fitness and travel. Her articles appear on/in MSN.com, Spirituality & Health, India Currents, Whole Life Times Magazine, Pique, Yogi Times, the South China Morning Post, travelandleisure.com and many other print and online publications. She’s the author of Vegetarian Asia Travel Guide and Meditations for Gym Yogis and writes a blog called Veg Travel and Fitness. She’s also the vegetarian/vegan editor of Real Food Traveler. In addition to writing, Teresa is a yoga teacher and ACE-certified personal trainer and health coach.