What to Look For When Choosing a Retirement Community

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No matter if it’s for yourself or for the ones closest to you, retirement community options vary significantly and finding one suitable can be daunting task.

To narrow your options, identify both needs and wants. Start with what essential items there are before adding any lifestyle features you’d like to enjoy into the mix.


Location may seem like an unimportant factor when choosing a retirement community, but it should not be disregarded. Consider choosing somewhere close enough for you to visit frequently with family and grandchildren as well as providing recreational activities like golfing, beach walks or cultural events.

Make sure the retirement community you select offers access to quality medical care. Ask prospective communities for detailed information on nearby doctors and specialists accepting new patients; these providers should also be able to provide you with a list of physical therapists and podiatrists.

Some retirement communities provide a continuum of care, making the move from independent living to assisted living and then memory care or skilled nursing a seamless one. This option is particularly suitable for individuals who require some level of healthcare but want to maintain maximum independence.


An important consideration when selecting the ideal community is how it supports residents as their needs shift over time. “Fortunately, more communities now provide continuum of care,” according to Brady. Some communities provide assisted living and memory care as well as independent living options; others ensure you can upgrade to higher levels of care without incurring a new entrance fee (Type C).

Retirees also look for amenities that encourage community. Walking paths and fitness centers with personal trainers and more exercise classes are popular requests among today’s boomers; 55+ communities sometimes provide even funkier amenities, like “agrihoods”, that enable retirees to get some dirt under their nails and enjoy growing food without spending hours tending to their own yards.

Notable amenities of unique retirement communities for retirees include social gathering spaces, bars and cafes – and increasingly pet-friendly communities that allow their furry companions to come along!


Retirees generally seek low-maintenance living close to family and friends, along with living in an active community that offers amenities they appreciate, such as entertainment and cultural events.

Communities should offer active seniors a range of fitness and wellness options designed to keep them fit and healthy, such as yoga, Tai Chi and strength training classes tailored specifically for older adults. Swimming pools and fitness rooms can also encourage movement while offering great ways to stay in shape.

Consideration should be given when entering retirement communities as many require both an entrance fee and monthly care fees, with particular attention paid to what services are included within these costs and whether additional services may need to be added on should care become necessary in the future. Some retirement communities provide a continuum of care so seniors can move up or down levels of care without leaving the community, such as assisted living, memory care or skilled nursing in one facility.


Researching on your own or for someone else? When selecting a retirement community, look for one with a safe environment – this means checking the presence of security cameras, check-in areas, emergency call buttons and security lights. Furthermore, access should also be offered to transportation and healthcare services that make life easier for residents when going shopping or seeing their doctor.

Check if the community provides nurses’ stations that are centrally located, making it easier for staff to identify and meet resident needs. Also assess if the outdoor area is secure with features like level paths, lighting controls in rest areas and locks on elevators. It would also help if you visited and talked with current and past residents to understand their experiences – this will enable you to make an informed decision when considering living options for yourself or a loved one. Inquire further into their management track record as well as financial history of the retirement community before making a final decision about your living options!