It pays to do your homework and prepare questions to ask senior living communities before you schedule a visit.
Moving to a senior living community is a big decision. But the more knowledgeable you become, the easier it will be to choose a community that checks every item on your wish list. If at all possible, give yourself plenty of time to research your options online and in person. The last thing you want is to delay your decision until a health issue forces your hand. When a serious crisis occurs, someone else will have to scramble and make the decision for you. To avoid that scenario, invest all the time you need to become an educated consumer and explore all the available options.
Questions to ask senior living communities
To help you prepare for your first appointment with a senior living community, consider the following:
What to know beforehand
There’s no point in falling in love with a community, only to find out afterward it’s not a financially viable option. Knowing what you can afford before you visit a community will save time and disappointment.
As a general rule, continuing care retirement communities (CCRCs), sometimes called Life Plan Communities, require assets that total twice the entrance fee and a monthly income equal to 1.5 times the monthly fee. Bear in mind fees will increase a little each year. (Rental communities may only require a nominal community fee, but all other things being equal, the monthly service fee for a rental contract will likely be higher than other contract types.)
To calculate your net worth, add up your assets minus your liabilities:
- Market value of your home (minus any remaining balance on your mortgage)
- Value of other real estate you may own
- Retirement accounts (IRAs, 401(k), annuities and other retirement savings)
- Stocks and mutual funds that aren’t part of your retirement accounts
- Cash value of life insurance (whole life and universal life policies)
- Checking and savings (current total balance)
- Certificates of Deposit
- Outstanding obligations and loans
- Long-term care insurance
Don’t include things like the car, china and crystal, furniture, etc. Anything you use for daily living should be excluded, except for your current home.
To calculate your monthly income, consider all sources, such as:
- Social Security, pension, interest and dividends, rental income
List your priorities
What’s important to you in a senior living community? For example:
- Type of community: rental or CCRC/Life Plan Community; campus or high-rise setting
- Type of residence: apartment home, townhouse, or villa
- Services: concierge, housekeeping, maintenance, security, transportation
- Amenities: fitness center, pool, library, post office, salon, auditorium, movie theater, art studio, walking paths, gardening space
- On-site health services: assisted living, memory care, skilled nursing, rehabilitation
- Dining: casual and fine dining venues, take-out option, bar and lounge
- Activities: fitness programs, lifelong learning, art classes, woodworking, dance classes, choir, bridge club, cultural outings, volunteer opportunities
Questions about the community
It helps to prepare a list of questions to ask before you meet with a sales counselor. Here are common questions to ask senior living communities:
- What types of fitness classes are offered to residents?
- What are the most popular activities with residents?
- What services are included in my monthly fee?
- What role do residents play in management decisions?
- Do you have a plan for all types of emergencies, including how to prevent the spread of viruses?
- What is your pet policy?
- What levels of care do you offer?
- How will my monthly fees be affected if my spouse requires temporary or permanent care?
- What resources are available to help with moving to this community?
Be sure to make several visits to a community before you decide it’s the one for you. If possible, attend an event and talk to the residents (or future residents) about why they moved to the community and what they love about it. Many senior living communities include photo galleries and video testimonials on their websites. Facebook is another way to learn about a community. Of course, webinars and virtual visits make it easy these days to conduct your research without having to leave home.
Explore your options at Aberdeen Ridge
We’re introducing a whole new way to look at senior living in Colorado Springs. One that’s focused on the way you want to live. Resort-like amenities, life-enriching programs and delicious dining are just some of the ways we’ll make each day enjoyable. And with living options for independent living, assisted living and memory care all on one campus, you’ll enjoy added peace of mind whatever the future may bring.
To learn more about community life at Aberdeen Ridge and how you can be among the first to reserve your future residence, contact us to schedule a personal visit at our Information Center. If you prefer, we can also arrange a virtual visit.