When preparing for a visit, first of all, research needs to be completed regarding what facilities are in the area in which you want to live. Proximity to family and friends, local weather conditions, and the availability of healthcare facilities are all factors to consider in your decision. As we age, easy access to healthcare services becomes increasingly important. Evaluate both the healthcare facilities in the surrounding area and those within the Retirement Community when making your choice.

Explore reviews of the Retirement Community. Take time to read feedback from past and present residents, and engage in conversations with both the staff and residents during your visit. Opting for a retirement community with excellent reviews increases the likelihood of a satisfying experience for you. Conversely, you might not find contentment in a community with less favorable reviews.

Next you should create a list of questions to ask during the visit. The questions should include:

-What types of living units are available?

-How much does it cost to live in the community and what is included in the cost?

-What are the homes furnished with and what appliances come with the homes?

-What amenities are offered?

-What utilities are included in the rent and what is paid for by the community? This includes Wi-Fi access. 

-Are pets allowed?

-What social activities are offered?

-Are staff members on site all of the time?

-What activities are available throughout the month?

-Is live music available to the residents and how often does it occur?

During the visit, note the environment, staff and residents of the community. If the area is clean, that is great. If it isn’t, that could be a deciding factor. Notice if the staff appear to be enjoying themselves and if the staff interact in a positive way with the residents. 

The Atria Caregiver’s Guide notes the following: “Take notice of the property around the senior living community. Look for easily accessible walking paths and common areas such as gardens, patios and courtyards. Upon entering the community, ask yourself these questions: Did I receive a friendly greeting? Are common areas tidy? Do residents look happy and engaged? Are the hallways and common areas well-lit, spacious and easy to navigate?”

By preparing yourself for the visit, and asking the right questions, you can ensure that you will have what you need to make an educated decision about your retirement years.