If you have decided that retirement community living could meet your needs or those of a loved one, you have several options to consider. You may even feel a bit overwhelmed by your choices and concerned about making the right one. Seeking recommendations from friends or relatives is fine, but your priorities may be different from theirs, and you might not be as happy or satisfied with their senior living choice as they are.
To get started, make a list of the qualities and features most important to you in a retirement community. Items on your list will probably fall under “practical considerations” and “quality measures.” Within each of those areas, here are some questions that you might want to ask. You can find our full list of suggested questions on our tip sheet, “What to Look for When Considering a Retirement Community.” You might also be interested in ordering our 20-page guide, “Navigating the Maze of Senior Living Options.”
Practical considerations for selecting a senior living community
- Does the retirement community offer levels of senior care that might be needed in the future?
- What is included in the monthly fee—is it one, all-inclusive rate or could there be add on charges?
- How has the senior living community fared in state inspections? How has it corrected any deficiencies from previous inspections?
- Does the community provide transportation to doctor visits, stores, banks and restaurants?
- And for some of you … does the senior living community allow pets?
Quality measures for selecting a senior living community
- Are daily personal care services provided for residents who need assistance?
- How are medications managed for residents of the senior community?
- Do co-workers address residents by name and respond positively to them?
- Do residents and staff appear to be happy and to enjoy their interaction?
- Do residents have adequate access to privacy?
- Are the surroundings—both indoor and outside—pleasant, clean and well maintained?
Quality of programs
- Are there plenty of retirement community activities for socialization, both on campus and off?
- Does the dining program offer variety, choices, fresh produce and foods for special diets?
- Does the retirement community provide daily fitness activities with qualified instructors?
- Are therapy services available on site?
Quality of staff
- What training have the community’s co-workers received?
- Are licensed nurses on staff 24 hours a day, including weekends and holidays?
- Is the staff organized and positive? How do they seem to interact with each other?
- Do staffing levels change on weekends and holidays?
Visit retirement communities on your list and talk to those who live and work there
Be sure to visit any retirement home you are considering, possibly more than once and at different times. Talk to the staff, administrator, residents and family members. You will want to be prepared to discuss which service option would meet your needs. An independent living community or an assisted living/personal care home? Is memory support services or restorative services an option?
If you’re choosing a retirement community in Pennsylvania or Maryland, we hope that you will check out one or more of our senior communities. Country Meadows has 10 retirement communities in Pennsylvania—in Lancaster, Hershey, Mechanicsburg, Pittsburgh, Wyomissing, York-South, York-West, Allentown, Bethlehem and Easton—as well as a Frederick, Maryland retirement home.
Please contact us for information or to schedule a tour so that we can introduce you to our full range of services.