I totally get it. If you’re an older adult cautiously considering the idea of moving into a senior retirement community, the notion can be overwhelming. What? You? Among the voices swimming in your head, one cries loudly “No, no no!”
And, if you’re a family member helping an older loved one 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 Crown Heights cost?” or “Tell me about retirement communities in the Oklahoma City area. ” But others can be more complex.
In my guidebook “Downsizing Made Easy,” I 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 overwhelmed and confused. After all, this is indeed a pretty major life event for either yourself or someone you care about and it’s 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:
Questions for Senior Living Community Tours in Oklahoma City
Is there an entrance fee or is the payment month-to-month only?
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 and these costs can add up. In fact, this may be one of the first questions you’ll want to ask a community even before scheduling a tour. If finances are particularly tight and you’re uncomfortable with these fees, you may even save time and hassle by immediately scratching those communities off your list.
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 a hefty, additional fee exists if you want your sweet scottie or furry feline to move in with you.
How often does the rent increase and by what percentage?
Perhaps it goes without saying, but if you’ve owned your own home for a long period of time, you may have fallen out of the habit of viewing life and finances as a “renter.” Ask anyone who lives in an apartment, and they’ll probably tell you those increases come regularly and even annually. If you’re young, in good health, and plan to stick around for quite a while (let’s hope so!) what you’re paying ten years from now could be a boat-load more than what you’re told about now.
What utilities are included in the monthly rent?
Some communities pay all monthly utilities and some don’t. And don’t expect that Internet access or satellite TV is automatically included in the monthly cost.
What is the level of functioning of current residents? Do they seem to be at a higher or lower level than you or your loved one? 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.
My guide “Downsizing Made Easy” spells out many more questions and scenarios while offering further advice. Learn more about the book here.
And, of course, if you live in the Oklahoma City area and are planning a move to a senior retirement community or skilled nursing facility, please feel free to contact me at any time for further advice and a no-obligation chat concerning your late-in-life move. Our team can help you devise a budget – based on the equity in your home – to narrow down (financially) your senior housing options and provide tips and guidance for all areas of the move.
Homeowners receive a free copy of the guide “Downsizing Made Easy” when meeting with us for a personal consultation. Click here to schedule a meeting.
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