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Ready, Set, Retire: Don’t wait too long

LeeAnne Opie
LeeAnne Opie

You are ready, armed with information and have done your homework. It is now time to narrow down your choices to two, maybe three, retirement community selections. But before you can go any further than that, there are a few things that you must take into consideration!

First you have to make sure you have chosen communities with all levels of care, this is one of the most important aspects of long term retirement. The different levels include: Independent Living, Assisted or Residential Living, Skilled Nursing with rehabilitation capabilities, Memory Care, and Home Health options. Though all of the different options to consider may be intimidating, it’s pertinent in the long run so you know what your community can provide you later on.

Now let’s have some fun…. For the second part of your decision making process, I recommend popping back into those communities you have so carefully chosen. Yes, someone might try to stop you before you can get very far, but that just gives you a good idea as to where there safety regulations lie. Do you see active adults out and about? What time of day is it? Mid-mornings and mid to late afternoons are a good time to take a sneak peak as most people are out participating in their daily activities. If you prefer to make an appointment, ask to have lunch or dinner and check out the food and activities available for yourself. Revisit homes for sale and the different layouts they offer. Take a look at all the amenities they have, especially those that are of interest to you. You may want to come on a day that offers particular exercise classes, movies or social hours to get a good feel of the community…don’t be shy, just take a test drive. Now onto the last but not least step, number three. Re-ask questions that are unclear such as: How are activities and groups decided upon and organized? Is this determined by the residents themselves or by management? How involved or uninvolved can you live your life within this community? Are there additional expenditures that are required and how are those met? Talk to people in the halls and see what their demeanor and responses are like. Are they pleasant and willing to share information? Do they like living there? By asking these questions, you can often get a good sense of atmosphere to the community and get a good idea as to whether or not it would be a good fit.

How are you feeling now? Apprehensive, excited, uncertain? These flurry of emotions are completely normal as change is difficult for us all, especially as we age. If you are feeling overwhelmed, ask for help. Also, don’t stress too much about the actually moving process. Many communities offer suggestions when it comes to movers, senior moving specialists or helpers. These people will help you decide what to take, how to downsize, organize and get rid of what you are not taking. The bottom line is, don’t wait too long. Try to move to a retirement community when your health is still in good shape and you can take advantage of all the perks your new lifestyle has to offer. This can be some of the best times of your life so make sure to give yourself enough time to enjoy it! New acquaintances and opportunities await, let a new chapter begin!