We get it. If you’re an older adult cautiously considering the idea of moving into a senior retirement community, the notion can be overwhelming.
And, if you’re a family member helping an elder you love to prepare for the future, the confusion can be just as intense. Yes, there are many, many things to consider, so just where should one begin?
Sure, the questions may be basic like “Where are the best retirement communities in Edmond?” or “How much does a senior community in northwest Oklahoma City cost?” or “Are there nice retirement communities around Bethany?” Other questions can be more complex.
In our Downsizing Made Easy guidebook we offer a list of questions for Senior Living Community Tours designed to help you navigate through the sensory overload and racing mind that’s sure to accompany your initial visits to these communities.
The most important thing to remember is that it’s perfectly natural to feel a bit overwhelmed and more than a little confused. After all, this is indeed a pretty major life event for either yourself or someone you care about and it is probably also fraught with a huge jumble of emotions.
All too often, older adults and their family members trudge through these visits in a daze, trying their best to make sense of it all and visualize how things will “play out,” yet still remain completely oblivious to some very basic items to consider. To make it easier for you, here are a few of the primary points to ponder.
Is there an upfront fee or is it simply month-to-month?
Ever joined a gym or fitness center? If so, then you’re probably aware of their bevy of “initiation fees” and “annual fees” in addition to the regular monthly fee. Many senior living communities have the same sort of fees. In fact, this may be one of the first questions you’ll want to ask a community even before scheduling a tour. But be careful to compare apples with apples and not apples with oranges.
Don’t scratch a community off your list based purely on pricing until you know what specifically the fees include — both in the short and the long term.
Are pets allowed? If so, is there an additional fee?
If your pet means absolutely everything to you, this question is pretty vital. And it’s possible that additional fees exist if you want your sweet Scottie or furry feline to move in with you. Some communities may only allow pets on the first floor.
How often does the rent increase?
Ask anyone who lives in an apartment and they’ll probably tell you that rent increases come annually. Expect rent increases from 2% to as much as 5% annually. This is largely dictated by supply and demand. But since every community is different, be sure to ask. Also, be sure to look at the contract for specifics.
What utilities are included in the monthly rent?
Most all-inclusive communities include utilities in the rent. Some 55+ apartment complexes may only cover the water, sewer, and garbage bills. And don’t make assumptions about the internet and wi-fi. Even if they include it, it will be the basic service. Any upgrades will be at your expense. Always ask about the specifics.
What is the level of functioning of current residents? Do they seem to be at a higher or lower level than you? How do you feel about this?
You’ll want to live in a community where the majority of residents are as active as you are – both physically and mentally. Regardless of whether the community is a good financial fit, it’s vital for you to remain vibrant, and you simply can’t do that if most of your neighbors are much older and experiencing drastically reduced health.
Our guide “Downsizing Made Easy” spells out many more questions and scenarios while offering further advice. The guide is provided complimentary to those we meet with for personal downsizing consultations.
And, of course, if you live in the Oklahoma City area and are planning a move to a senior retirement community or assisted living, please feel free to contact us at any time for further advice and a no-obligation chat concerning your move. Our team can help you devise a budget, narrow down the options, and provide tips and guidance for all aspects of the move.
Receive a free copy of our “Downsizing Made Easy” guide when you meet with us for a personal consultation.