Finding the Right Retirement Community for Your Parents

Your parents have been retired for quite a few years and they say they are now ready to move to a retirement community. They’ve asked for your help because they’re overwhelmed with the choices available and aren’t sure what they can afford or what kind of community they want to live in. Now it’s time for you to go shopping.

Begin in the immediate area where your parents currently live. There may be a city or county agency in your area with a resource directory that will make your research much easier. Your local library is a good place to go for this information, too.

When you’ve created a list of communities that warrant further research, use the following as a guide to insure that you’ve selected the right ones for your parents to choose from:

  1. Research the Community Restrictions. Pets, young children, outdoor grilling, parking vehicles anywhere other than a driveway are all examples of restrictions that can be found within any housing community. Whether the community is apartments, housing, gated or ungated, it is a community and there will be restrictions.
  • Home Care and Maintenance. Who will take care of the home while your parents are out of town or traveling? Some communities have onsite maintenance, repair and security services while others don’t. Caretaker and home-watch services are common in high-end communities and their costs can be added to the overall costs of living in that community.
  • Community Financial Health. Many retirement communities have been affected by the recent recession. You can ask to see the association financial records. You can also search the county clerks’ officer for foreclosures and liens in the community, as well as tax and property assessments.
  • Meet the Neighbors. Visit the community and meet some of the people living there. Social activities occur every day in planned retirement communities, making it easy to stop by and meet new people at any given time.
  • Nearby Medical Care. What is available? What will your parents need now and in the near future and as they age? Does the community have onsite medical services or is there a medical office nearby? If there is a hospital or clinic does your parents’ primary healthcare provider or specialists have privileges there?

Bring the results of your research to the conversation with your parents and choose the communities that interest them. Then do a site visit with your parents before the final decision is made.