Lake outside of Brandon Wilde retirement community

9 Questions to Ask Before Choosing a Senior Living Community

Moving to a senior living community can be one of the best decisions you’ll ever make. Although giving up a home of your own can seem like a loss of independence, most people who choose to move to a senior living community don’t regret it one bit. From day one, they become part of a thriving community of new friends and neighbors. The support and camaraderie can really lift your spirits, especially if you’ve lost a spouse or if family members don’t live nearby.

New residents also discover how much easier and more fulfilling an independent lifestyle can be. Instead of dealing with home maintenance or wondering what to cook for dinner, they can focus on the things they want to do. And with the variety of life-enriching amenities and services available at most senior living communities, the possibilities are endless.

So how do you find the senior living community that’s right for you? Start early and do your research. Don’t wait until you have to move. There may not be an opening available at your preferred community. And if your health has declined, you may not qualify for independent living or have the option of choosing a LifeCare® contract, which can protect you from the rising cost of long-term care.

Questions to Ask Senior Living Communities

To learn more, download our brochure: “Six Questions To Ask For A Better Senior Living Decision.” Then consider the following questions to help you find the right senior living community for you.

1. Where Do You Want to Live?

Some people prefer to stay close to where they’ve lived for years so they can continue to stay in touch with friends and be in familiar surroundings. If children and grandchildren live further away, would you be happier living where you can see them more often? Or perhaps you want a change of scenery near the beach or the mountains? Think about what’s important to you before you start visiting communities.

2. What Living Accommodations Suit You?

Independent living residences come in all shapes and sizes. There are high-rises and mid-rises with apartments; townhomes and duplexes; as well as cottages and single-family homes. Some offer garages or under-building parking, while others offer carports or open parking spaces.

3. What Type of Community?

The most common types of retirement communities fall into two categories: rental communities and Life Plan Communities (also known as continuing care retirement communities). Rental communities may not offer higher levels of care, which means if you need personal care, memory care or skilled nursing, you may have to move from your independent living rental community. Life Plan Communities, on the other hand, offer a full continuum of care on-site, in addition to independent living. This allows you to age in place with a greater sense of control and security, knowing you have a plan for whatever tomorrow may bring.

4. Is There an Entrance Fee?

Almost all Life Plan Communities require a one-time entrance fee, and some rental communities will charge a community fee. However, the monthly service fee will likely be lower at a Life Plan Community than at a comparable rental community.

5. What’s the Food Like?

Most communities will brag about their dining, but the proof is in the pudding. Be sure to eat a meal or two at each community on your shortlist. See what the service is like in the dining room. And ask how many meals per month are included in the meal plan. At Brandon Wilde, we feature a variety of fresh, locally sourced dishes on our menu throughout the year.

6. What Activities Are Available?

Senior gardening

See if the community supports the kind of activities you like to do. Are you a hiker or swimmer? Do you practice yoga or play bridge? Does the community have an arts studio or woodworking shop? Are there classes and opportunities to continue learning and growing? For a sample of activities at Brandon Wilde, check out our Wellness Program.

7. Is Transportation Provided?

Most communities provide transportation, but that doesn’t mean you can order a car and driver 24/7. At Brandon Wilde, scheduled transportation is available around town to get you where you need to go, such as shopping or medical appointments.

8. Are Pets Allowed?

Many communities allow pets, and some have designated pet play areas. If you’re bringing a pet to live with you, ask about the community’s pet policy during your visit. At Brandon Wilde, we love our four-legged friends, and they love our expansive grounds and extensive walking trails.

9. Is There a Waiting List?

It’s not such a bad thing to have to wait for your desired independent living apartment to become available. Often, it’s a sign of a community’s fiscal health when a high percentage of independent living residences are occupied. By joining the wait list, you can reserve your place in line for your preferred floor plan.

Choosing the Right Community is All about Asking the Right Questions

To help make your decision easier, download our brochure: “Six Questions for a Better Senior Living Decision.” This comprehensive guide includes additional questions to those in this blog post. It’s designed to help you determine your priorities, defines common terms you’ll encounter in your research, and explains how LifeCare could save you tens of thousands of dollars in long-term care costs.

Of course, if you have any questions about moving to Brandon Wilde, get in touch. We’ll get back to you with answers as soon as possible.