Let’s assume that you’ve decided to investigate the possibilities of moving to a retirement community. In my last blog I briefly covered some of the aspects of retirement living to give food for thought. In this one I will try to cover the next steps that you may wish to take.
First, where to go? Do you want to stay in the same general area to be near friends or family members, or do you want to try somewhere new? Whichever choice you make you will then need to discover what retirement communities there are in that area or, if there are none, how far away they are. You can find out a lot by reading the adverts in national and local papers, although some providers rarely use this medium, and by searching on line if you have access to a computer. You will not be short of information to enable you to make an initial assessment.
Once you have decided on the area and have perhaps made a preliminary selection the next step is to visit. Ring the Village Manager and make an appointment to be shown around. Before you go think of all the things you want to know about and during the visit don’t be afraid to ask questions. Insist on speaking to some of the residents to get their point of view. Even though this may be resisted by the staff, this is essential. Don’t lose sight of the fact that they are trying to sell you something so they will inevitably be biased to a greater or lesser degree.
Some establishments offer the facility to ‘Try Before You Buy’ where you will be accommodated either in a guest suite or perhaps in an as yet unsold dwelling. You may also have the opportunity to eat in the restaurant, if there is one, and to meet more residents. If you are interested in joining in the social life ask to see a schedule of the activities available. It would be an added bonus if you could time your stay to coincide with a social event enabling you to observe the general atmosphere and to talk to even more residents. You will undoubtedly get a number of differing opinions but they will all help you to form your own.
If you have a choice of establishments in your chosen area you should repeat this process at each one. You can not have too much information but if you think you will forget some of it then take a notebook and write down what you need to know. It’s in your interests to get it right.