How to Choose an Independent Senior Living/Retirement Community
As you research retirement communities, you’ll find many that offer stunning landscaping and lots of tempting perks. Nice! Remember, though, that the only features that matter are the ones that will benefit you, or you and your spouse together, in the way you want to live independently. If you don’t play tennis, who cares that there are six courts?
Make a list of things that are most important to you, and use it as you compare options. An atmosphere that is friendly and welcoming goes a long way toward making any community feel like home.
Some factors to consider:
- The age range of residents (at The Lodge, the minimum age is 62)
- Lifestyle activities and amenities for residents
- Spiritual care opportunities for residents (is there an onsite chapel and/or Bible study groups?)
- What meals, if any, are provided
- Transportation available to residents
- What is covered (and what is not) by monthly fees
- Interaction between residents and the wider community
- Security and emergency protocols
- Advanced levels of care available, if any
See for Yourself
Making a decision sight-unseen is a bad plan, especially when the decision fundamentally affects your lifestyle and the rest of your life. A personal visit to your shortlist of “candidate” communities is a must – multiple visits are even better because there is so much to take in. Because The Lodge is part of the Magnolia Manor family of senior living communities, visiting any of our six other campuses that offer independent living will give you an excellent, first-hand feel for what it’s like to be part of our family.
When you visit:
- Tour the community and grounds to get a feel for the overall atmosphere
- Attend an event or activity, perhaps a worship service or Bible study gathering
- Eat a meal
- Chat with some of the residents and team members
- Check out the wellness/fitness center
- Check out a housing unit like the one you’re considering
- Speak with a team member one-on-one chat to discuss your personal situation and desires
- Ask yourself if you will feel cared for and comfortable here
Plan Now for More Choices
If you have planned well financially for your retirement, that’s great. But it’s equally important to plan where you want to live as an independent senior – now, while you still have the most options available, and while you’re still healthy and active. Your top-choice community may well have a waiting list or health requirement, and that could be problematic if you wait too long.
Find Communities Near You
Finding a retirement community that’s just right for you starts with picking the location. You can look for a senior living community near where you live now. Or you can take this opportunity to move across the country, to be closer to your children and grandchildren or enjoy a different climate. There’s a lot to be said for spending more time with loved ones, both family and friends, and in a senior community you’ll have plenty of time to do just that.
With a location in mind, you can search for possibilities. Use every resource available. Here are a few resource suggestions:
- Friends or relatives currently living in a retirement community – what do they like or not like about it?
- Your church – pastor and/or fellow congregants may have a referral for you
- Your primary care provider
- For-profit and non-profit senior care advisors and organizations
You can search for independent senior living retirement communities by state here.
Senior Living and Pets
Moving away from your current home is not easy. But if you have a pet or two, the thought of leaving them behind can feel even more wrenching. At The Lodge, we understand that nothing warms the heart like the wag of a tail or a softly purring kitty or the song of a colorful finch. So we say yes to pets! Pets are welcome in our independent living villas and select apartments.
However, most senior living communities do not allow pets. As you research retirement options, be sure to ask about pet policies (including for pets visiting residents). And if you choose a pet-free community, consider who will take on responsibility for your pet after you move. Researching options ahead of time will give you peace of mind knowing that your precious companion will be moving into a great new home, just as you are when the time comes.
The Joys of Independent Senior Living
Yes, it can be hard to decide to move before you “have” to, but it can be such a blessing in so many ways. We all face new decisions as we age, and doing what it takes to proactively make a really great decision for yourself will bring you the best and happiest outcome.
It’s simply a fact that most seniors will eventually require some type of long-term care assistance. Moving to a senior living community while you are still healthy and active allows you to fully embrace your independence while you still can. Sure, you may miss your current home. But you’re leaving behind the things you don’t really like about it. Tedious chores. Hard work and endless expense of home maintenance. Concerns about rising taxes.
Remember, you’re an optimist! So don’t focus on what you’ll “lose” if you choose independent senior living, think about all the things you’ll gain. Things you’ve always wanted to do but couldn’t due to time or resource constraints. At The Lodge, every day opens new doors, to your own beautifully appointed home and an entire community where you can feed your body, engage your mind and lift up your spirit, surrounded by caring neighbors and team members.
And you just never know. You could be the next resident who, at age 90, looks back on moving to The Lodge and says, “Ten years ago, I made the best friend of my life!”