Choosing the right retirement community for you isn’t always easy. There are plenty of factors to consider, including the amount of independence that you need, and the amount of care and support that you need – and how you plan to balance the two. As we age, there’s nothing wrong with needing a little bit of extra support with everyday tasks, but it’s understandable that you might not feel ready to completely give up your independence just yet. That’s why independent and assisted living facilities are such a great choice; they allow you to live an independent lifestyle in a way that suits you, while still providing you with the level of support that you require. So, what questions should you ask to figure out which one is the best option for you?
How Much Independence Do You Need?
Do you want to be completely independent? Are you okay with doing everything for yourself, but simply want to live somewhere with a community of likeminded people? If so, an independent living facility might be the better option for you. Unlike assisted living, where you have access to 24/7 care and support whenever you need it, independent living is more about providing seniors with a secure place to live surrounded by a community of peers in a similar situation to themselves. On the other hand, if you’d like to remain as independent as possible but would like the option to have somebody visit you every day to help with certain tasks, or be able to just pick up the phone and get support whenever you need it, assisted living could be an ideal choice.
How Much Support Do You Need?
It can sometimes be difficult to admit that you have reached a point in your life where you need support with doing certain tasks, but the truth is that there’s absolutely nothing wrong with needing help, at any age! If you have found yourself often forgetting to do things like take daily medication or are struggling to do everyday tasks like cleaning your home or cooking healthy meals for yourself, don’t suffer in silence. An assisted living facility provides you with round-the-clock care staff that you can call on to help you with these things, while you get on with the important stuff like socializing, taking part in activities and having fun on your terms.
Which Area Would You Like to Live In?
You might already have an idea of the area that you would like to live in, which will help you narrow down your choices of independent or assisted senior living communities. For example, if you have children, grandchildren, and friends in a certain area and would like to be as close to them as possible, this is likely to be a big driving factor in your choice of location. On the other hand, if this isn’t a big factor in your life or you know that your family is willing to travel to come and see you, it could be a great opportunity to move to an area that you’ve always wanted to live in but haven’t had the chance to move to so far.
What Activities Would You Like to Take Part In?
Most independent and assisted living facilities will have a wide range of amenities and facilities on-site that you can take advantage of, including a calendar of activities for seniors to enjoy. This will vary between retirement communities, so it’s a good idea to do some research and find out what is on offer before you make your choice. Some communities tend to offer quieter, indoor activities, while others have an active calendar of walks, hikes, visits to tourist attractions, and more – so it all depends on your personality, preferences, and what you like to do the most.
Do You Need Somewhere That Encourages You to Stay Active?
As we get older, staying active is even more important for our health and wellbeing. If you’d like to get more exercise but never seem to find the time or the motivation, it might be a good idea to look for an independent or assisted living facility that makes this easier for you. Many retirement communities have a good selection of fitness facilities on-site, which could include a dedicated gym and fitness rooms, a swimming pool, fitness classes and more – if you’re not sure which physical activities you are likely to enjoy the most, it is worth choosing a retirement community with a lot of different ones on offer so that you are free to try them all out and find one that you like.
Do You Need to Bring a Pet?
Having a pet can be a great source of companionship for a senior person, and if you have a dog or a cat at home, you probably can’t imagine living somewhere that you are not allowed to keep them. Thankfully, many senior living communities are willing to accept pets, but bear in mind that these policies vary between facilities, so it’s best not to assume that your pet will be welcome. If you have a pet, find out as much as you can about the pet policy before you decide where to move. In some cases, it might mean that you and your pet will need to make a compromise, such as helping your indoor/outdoor cat adjust to living indoors.
Do You Have Your Own Transport?
Seniors who drive are usually not willing to give up their cars until it’s absolutely necessary – after all, it’s a huge part of your freedom and you probably couldn’t imagine not being able to just jump in the car and go to wherever you like at any time. If you have a car that you are taking with you, be sure to do your research on parking facilities at the community and whether or not it is going to incur any additional costs for you.
There are several different types of senior living facility, designed to meet a range of needs. Before you decide where to move, ask yourself these questions to help you figure out which one is going to be the best fit for you.