November 29, 2018

Choosing a retirement community is a big decision. Whether you’re looking for yourself or an older loved one, it takes time to research potential retirement communities and find the right fit. Many people begin to search for retirement communities online, but with so many different types of communities offering different amenities, services, and levels of care, it can be difficult to know what to look for. When researching retirement communities online, keep the following tips in mind to help you narrow down the options:

Consider the location

When it comes to choosing a retirement community, location matters. Some seniors want to remain close to their previous home, while others may want to move near relatives who live in different states. In addition to geographic location, consider the community’s proximity to doctor’s offices, a pharmacy, a hospital, and other important places. Are there shops, restaurants, and entertainment options nearby? Is it convenient for family and friends to come to visit? Consider these questions as you search online.

View the list of services and amenities

As you research retirement communities online, take some time to look at the various services and amenities offered. You’ll see that not all retirement communities are exactly the same! Some communities offer on-campus amenities such as beauty salons, barbershops, transportation services, light housekeeping and laundry services, and multiple dining options. It’s a good idea to make a list of the amenities that are most important to you or your loved one, and then look for retirement communities that match your preferences.

Know the difference between for-profit and non-profit communities

Another factor to consider when comparing retirement communities is how the facility is structured. For-profit and non-profit communities share many similarities, but they also have some important distinctions to consider. Many for-profit retirement communities are run by large, national corporate chains, while non-profit communities are privately owned, and many are associated with mission-based organizations. When researching retirement communities online, be sure to read about the community’s mission and values to see if they align with your own.

Be careful with online reviews

Reading online reviews is one way to gain helpful information about the retirement communities you’re interested in. There are many online directories you can use to learn more about local retirement communities and compare your options. However, you shouldn’t give online reviews too much weight. Whether positive or negative, reviews can never tell the entire story of what a retirement community is really like. The best way to learn more about a retirement community is to see for yourself by taking a tour!

Schedule a tour

When you’re ready, get offline and set up a tour of retirement communities in your area. Not only will seeing the community in person help you get a better idea of the atmosphere and culture, but you’ll also have a chance to meet the staff and residents. Consider visiting during a group activity and staying for a meal to experience what life is really like the community. Finally, trust your instincts. If a community doesn’t feel like the right fit, keep looking!