Retirement communities offer low-maintenance, senior-friendly housing and cater to those with active, social lifestyles. They’re perfect for seniors who are capable of living independently and also seek to create new and lasting friendships. This type of senior living is an attractive option for retirees who do not require any medical or personal care.
So – you’re in search of a retirement community…
Accommodations and costs will vary, so it’s important to first gather options near you and then compare, based on your own needs and wants. What amenities are you looking for? How close will you live to family members? And, just how much maintenance do you consider low-maintenance, really?
Here are the most common features to look for and questions to ask when shopping for a retirement community:
Community Amenities & Services
Most communities require a homeowner association (HOA) fee that covers the cost of a variety of amenities and services. But, what’s usually included and what’s not? Here are some common features you should keep an eye out for:
- House cleaning services
- Laundry services
- Repair or maintenance staff
- Resident transportation
- Snow removal
- Leaf pick-up
- Lawn care
Community Amenity & Service Questions to Ask:
- How often is the HOA fee billed? Monthly? Annually?
- Does the HOA fee cover all outdoor services such as lawn care and snow removal? If not, how much extra to add on one or more?
- How often are outdoor services provided?
- Is there a security guard or key card access to the development?
- Do the homes come with any fire prevention like sprinklers or fire extinguishers?
- Is the development gated?
- Does resident transportation run on a schedule or does it need to be reserved? And, how far or to what destinations will it travel?
- Just how senior-accessible is my new home? Will it have grab bars and other types of safety hardware already installed?
Related: 6 Factors To Consider Before Buying A Home After Retirement
Retirement Communities & Medical Services
Though most retirement communities don’t provide on-site medical services (unless it’s a CCRC), there are usually some provisions. After all, things happen, and health needs can change in the blink of an eye. For those times where life sneaks up on you, here are some of the more common provisions:
- Medical emergency alert systems
- Location is in close proximity to a hospital and other emergency services
- Wellness checks
Medical Service Questions to Ask:
- Who might conduct wellness checks and how often?
- Where is the closest hospital located and how far away is it?
- How close is the neighborhood to your primary care physician?
- Does the community have emergency plans that are posted somewhere?
- Is a medical emergency alert system included in any monthly fees?
Fitness & Wellness
You’re moving to a retirement community because you want your quality of life to thrive! You might already be active, but maybe your healthy routine could benefit from a little extra! So, what types of features do you want? What do you think will help you become the best version of yourself? Here are some common fitness and wellness amenities to look for:
- Group exercise classes
- Swimming pool
- Recreational activities or organized sports
Fitness & Wellness Questions to Ask:
- Is a gym membership included in the HOA fees?
- Do group exercise classes cost extra and is there a sign up?
- Does the swimming pool have a lifeguard or is it “swim at your own risk?”
- Are there any water fitness classes to take?
- Does the community reccommend or endorse and meal services?
Entertainment & Leisure
If you’re moving to a retirement community, then you’re probably looking for opportunities to socialize and have fun! Are you outgoing? Do you love to laugh? Maybe you just enjoy chatting about your favorite books? No matter your interests, most developments offer a variety of activities. But, do they offer the ones you’re looking for? Whether you’re already a social butterfly, or just starting to branch out, here are some common entertainment and leisure amenities to look for:
- Group outings and day trips
- Group classes
- Social nights
- On-site dining
- Dancing, golf, or other on-site sports
- Travel clubs
- Book clubs or other special interest groups
- Art studio
- Game room
- Swimming pool
- Professional entertainment
Entertainment & Leisure Questions to Ask:
- Are all activities and other fun covered by the HOA fee?
- Does the community host game nights or other special interest get-togethers such as karaoke or cards?
- Are there frequent group outings? And, how much do they cost?
- Are reservations required for professional entertainment nights?
- How often can I attend grou classes or clubs?
How To Choose The Best Retirement Community For YOU
From security to services and everything in between – it’s all important! And, if you’re going to live there, then yes, it’s absolutely worth your time to ask questions about it all! At the end of the day, it’s about your comfort. And, no matter which features of retirement communities are most important to you, make time to make sure the retirement community you choose has everything you need and want.
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What Are HOA Fees? Average Cost and What They Cover