August 1, 2017

 

Choosing a retirement community for yourself or a loved one is an important, life-altering decision. There are so many different options that some families may become overwhelmed, or even delay their decision out of fear of making the wrong choice. Avoid this problem by learning from these common retirement community search mistakes.

Waiting too long to start the search

Today, many older adults are not leaving their long time homes until their eighties. At this point, seniors are often rushed to move into a retirement community due to illness or another crisis situation. Under such a hurried time frame, many families end up choosing a retirement community without doing much research or preparation for moving their older loved one. Avoid this problem by starting your retirement community research well in advance and talking to your loved one about downsizing to an independent living or assisted living facility before he or she needs more advanced nursing care.

Not being realistic about future care needs

Discussing retirement community options with aging loved ones is not often an easy conversation. Most seniors value their independence and want to maintain their homes as long as possible, but it may not be realistic to live alone as their physical health and care needs change. Try to be realistic about your loved one’s long-term care needs and look for a retirement community that offers a continuum of care. In a continuing-care community, residents can transition seamlessly from options across a wide spectrum of care needs. This means that as your loved one’s care needs change over time, he or she can remain at the same community.

Overemphasizing the importance of proximity

Another mistake some families make when selecting a retirement community is overemphasizing the importance of proximity. While it may be tempting to simply choose the closest facility to your loved one’s current home, the facility may not have the level of care, social activities, and security that another community located farther away could offer. Be sure to keep an open mind and research more than one senior living community near you so you don’t miss out on a better option.

Not taking a tour

Finally, some families make the mistake of not taking a tour due to time constraints or distance. If possible, bring your loved one along for the tour so he or she can get a feeling for the environment of their potential new home. On a tour, you can try the retirement community’s food, check out the exercise facilities, and talk to the professional care staff. All of these aspects can help make your decision easier and will allow your loved one to ask questions and feel more comfortable before making this important decision.