Moving to a Retirement Community? Do Your Homework First

If you’re considering making the move to a senior living community, it’s not something to be taken lightly. Like any other major life decision, it pays to do your homework.
 

Perhaps your friends are moving to a retirement community in Florida to enjoy fun-filled days of leisure. 

Or maybe you’ve been pondering how you could maximize your quality of life as you grow older. Plenty of people move to senior living residences, so there must be benefits to them. But what are they? And is retirement community living right for you? Here are some key considerations to help you to make the best choice for your needs.

Gain an understanding of the levels of care provided. 

Senior living communities provide varying spectrums of care. If you have special medical needs or requirements, can they be met? As your capabilities change over time, will the facility be able to continue to meet your needs? A continuing care retirement community (CCRC) is designed to accommodate residents as their needs progress. These facilities typically contain independent living units, assisted living residences and skilled nursing care. This allows residents to remain on the same campus throughout their later years without having to find and relocate to a facility that offers a higher level of care.

Moving to a Retirement Community? Do Your Homework First

Fully research how the finances are handled. 

Educating yourself about all financial requirements can spare you headaches in the future. Make sure that you clearly comprehend all costs and fees. Are there “extras” or are all costs built in? Make sure to get the complete breakdown in writing to prevent unpleasant surprises in the future, and to assist you in making cost comparisons with other communities. Because each facility structures its pricing differently, it can be challenging to make accurate comparisons. The costs can also vary dramatically even within one state, so do your best to research all pricing scenarios for the senior living communities you’re seriously considering. You should also find out what happens if your financial situation changes or if your funds run low. Will the community work with you or are residents asked to leave? And if it should turn out that the facility isn’t a good fit, what are the contract termination terms?

Assess the occupancy rates.

Often considered a sign of financial strength, occupancy levels can provide a glimpse into the future. Sparsely populated retirement communities may be struggling and financial doom could be on the horizon. If they wind up being bought out by another company, it may result in changes in amenities and services offered. And if the community closes, you aren’t guaranteed a refund on any money spent or put down in advance.

Check out the amenities. 

Many retirement communities in the U.S. are evolving with the changing needs of retirees and offering an array of resort-like features. Fitness centers, swimming pools, multiple dining options, endless activities, and scheduled day trips are among the most popular amenities. Don’t forget to consider important daily living factors, too, such as the floor plans, amount of living space offered, and the noise level.

Thoroughly evaluate your top contenders. 

Once you’re narrowed down your choices, it’s time to step up your investigation. When you take a tour, observe the residents carefully. Do they appear content and well cared-for? Does the staff interact with the residents and treat them respectfully? Does the community appear clean and well-kept or do you smell foul odors? The staff will probably be on their best behavior during scheduled visits, so show up unannounced, preferably on a weekend or evening, to get a realistic look at the facility. See how well they are able to accommodate you when your visit isn’t expected.

Make a plan for getting rid of your extra stuff. 

Over the years, most of us accumulate many cherished possessions. When it comes time to downsize, many of those items will need a new home. You may find that your adult children aren’t as enthused about acquiring your goods as you’d like them to be, so it’s wise to explore other options. Senior move management is one popular choice that’s experiencing unprecedented growth. These move managers usually charge an hourly rate of $50 to $125. They help their clients sort through decades of accumulated possessions and make decisions about what to dispose of, what to donate, and what to take with them for their new living spaces. Other seniors choose to give their items to charities that are near and dear to their hearts. By donating your possessions, you’ll know that someone who really wants them will purchase them, or that a needy individual will be helped by your benevolence. Be sure to obtain receipts when making charitable donations so you’ll have them for tax time.

Don’t play the waiting game. 

In truth, it’s never too early to start looking for a retirement community. Begin looking long before you need to move. Ideally, your research should begin when you’re in your 50s or 60s. That will give you ample time to investigate the many options available so you’ll be ready when the time comes. Your financial advisor can assist you in assessing the economics of various scenarios and determining what’s best for your financial situation. This kind of analysis is critical, as taxes can be a significant issue and they vary widely by state.

When it comes to senior housing, there’s no shortage of options. 

While the process of finding the right senior living community can be a labor-intensive one, the results will be well worth the effort in terms of your peace of mind, health and happiness.

If moving to a retirement community is on your radar, our friendly, experienced professionals can help you determine the best choice for your needs. Please contact us to get started.

About FAI Wealth Management, Inc.: Located in Columbia, Maryland, FAI focuses on helping clients create the financial future they desire by protecting their wealth, making the most of their assets, and planning for life's uncertainties. The firm combines fee-only, fiduciary-driven guidance with highly personalized, consultative financial planning and investment services that enable individuals, families, and businesses to navigate complex life transitions. Founded in 1987, FAI currently manages more than $350 million in client assets nationwide. For more information about FAI Wealth Management, please visit the website at https://www.faiwealth.com or call 410.715.9200.

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