Choosing a retirement community is no small feat. Moving to a community is an important and life-changing decision for older adults and their families alike, and it takes time and research to find the best fit.
Faced with numerous options and choices, many people start the search online. But just as you can’t judge a book by its cover, you can’t necessarily judge the quality of a retirement community by its website alone.
One of the best ways to narrow down your list is by visiting prospective retirement communities in person. On your tour, you’ll learn all about the different living accommodations, activities, and amenities offered. You’ll also have a chance to talk with the staff and residents to gain a deeper understanding of day-to-day life in the community.
If you’re ready to start visiting retirement communities, keep the following tips in mind to make the most of your tours:
Don’t tour more than one community in a day
Ideally, you should streamline your list to just a handful of retirement community options you want to see in person. There’s no sense in touring a community that doesn’t make your “top 5” list. Avoid visiting more than one community per day, which can be overwhelming for you and your older loved one. Give yourself a day or two between tours to collect your thoughts and soak up all the information.
Bring a small notebook and jot down notes during and directly after your tour to capture your impression of the retirement community. What did you (and your loved one) like about the community? What did you dislike? What follow-up questions do you have? Documenting these thoughts will help you remember what’s unique about each community, making it easier to come to a final decision. You may also wish to take photos of floor plans and common areas so you can compare them to the other communities you tour.
Keep an open mind
Going into the retirement community search, you or your parent might already have a certain floor plan in mind. However, once you actually see the space in person, you might discover it isn’t the right fit. Maybe it’s too small (or large) for your parent’s needs, or the layout looked a bit different online. Keep an open mind and be willing to look at several floor plans and layouts during your tour.
Observe the staff and residents
You can learn a lot from the people who live and work in retirement communities. During your tour, be sure to observe the interactions between staff and residents. Is the staff welcoming and accommodating? Are the residents friendly? Is the atmosphere warm and vibrant? Pay attention to the details, and don’t be afraid to ask plenty of questions!
Schedule follow-up tours
Don’t hesitate to visit a community more than once before making a final decision. You could even visit once without your parent and then bring them for a second visit. On your next visit, consider scheduling your visit around a mealtime. Staying for a meal will give you a chance to sample the community’s culinary options and get to know some of the current residents.
Keep in mind that retirement communities are not “one-size-fits-all.” Take your time to tour different communities and compare their unique qualities. Most importantly, remember that you’re looking for your loved one’s next home. As you look around the retirement community, can you picture your parent living there comfortably for years to come? Trust your instincts—they will usually lead you in the right direction.
At Bethany Village, we believe retirement is a time to Enjoy Life! We invite you to explore our beautiful campus and schedule a convenient time to visit with us.