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As you prepare to retire, it's time to start thinking about your future living arrangements. Even when you are still very independent, the right retirement community can have benefits that go far beyond receiving care. In general, it is beneficial to find a retirement community that offers a continuum of care. This allows you to live independently, and then begin to receive care as your needs change. You'll be surprised at the number of active, older adults that are living in retirement communities, who are there to avoid the isolation that often comes with aging and living at home alone.

What to Look for in a Retirement Community


A good recreation schedule is essential for any successful retirement community. It promotes socialization and gives you something to look forward to each day. Ask to speak to residents of the community to see if they enjoy the recreation activities that are offered. A full recreation schedule should offer opportunities for those of varying mobility and interests. In addition, you'll want to look for activities that are within the community buildings and that go out in public. See what shopping opportunities are available, if there are local church services, or how you can get rides if necessary.

Medical Care

When it comes to choosing a retirement community, you'll want to have a good understanding of the medical care that is available to you. If you need specialists, you need to know that they are close by and accepting new patients. No matter what your current health status is, you will still need a reputable primary care physician to take over your medical care. Look for a retirement community that can give you detailed information about area medical providers before you make your final decision.


Look for a community that allows you to live as you choose. For example, if there are restrictions against pets, you'll want to know that ahead of time. Each retirement community has a set of rules that all residents must follow. You will need to find out if you can have pets, or if you are allowed to have a family member move in with you long term. You may be surprised to discover that you can't have an outdoor grill at some retirement communities or you aren't allowed to plant a small garden. Learn what the rules are of any retirement community you are considering before you make your final decision.


Know what maintenance is available to you. If you are looking to purchase a condominium in a retirement community, but you don't want to do maintenance, you'll need to know how repairs are handled. . While some retirement communities provide all maintenance as part of the monthly fee, others charge you for any work that needs to be done in your unit. If you are going to be away for an extended period of time, your home may be checked on for an additional fee.

How to Choose a Retirement Community


Consider the type of weather you want to live in. If you are interested in moving to another state to retire, you have to take some time to research the weather. Visit the area you want to move to before you make a decision on a retirement community. While you may love warm winters in Florida, you may not like the hot, humid summers. If this is a permanent, year-round move, you have to be sure that the weather is comfortable for you.


Another aspect of choosing a retirement community is affordability. When it comes to finding the right retirement community, budget is often a significant factor. Sit down with a trusted individual and look at your finances, including your long term savings. Consider what your monthly bills are today to see what you are affording right now. While you may pay more for a retirement community, you may discover that your monthly bills are about the same. If the community requires an entrance fee as well as monthly fees, you may need to factor this in as you consider where you are going to live.

As you think about your budget, you'll also need to factor in any fees. If there is a buy in fee for the retirement community, find out what percentage of this fee your estate will get back. You might purchase a condominium, only to discover later that your estate will only receive 90% of the purchase fee back. Look at the details and talk with an attorney if you have questions regarding the purchase. Don't be afraid to ask questions and don't take a deal if you are feeling pressured.

How to Find a Retirement Community

When you begin your search to find the perfect senior living arrangement to meet your needs, a search on our website is always recommended. We take the time to review each facility and to provide up to date reviews of each listing we have on our site. Once you discover what retirement communities are in your area, you will be able to narrow down your search based on your chosen criteria.

As you consider the best retirement community for your needs, we are ready to help.

Written By

Jeff Hoyt

Editor in Chief

Since graduating from Harvard with an honors degree in Statistics, Jeff has been creating content in print, online, and on television. Much of his work has been dedicated to informing seniors on how to live better lives. As Editor-in-Chief of the personal… Learn More About Jeff Hoyt

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