How to Compare Retirement Communities

Finding an acceptable and appropriate retirement community can be a daunting process. Visits to several communities should be made in person at different times, both announced and unannounced. Compare the benefits of each community with a checklist that has been devised of the qualities that are most important to you.

Discover the total required monthly and annual fees involved in living in the retirement community. Many communities offer different levels of fees depending on the size of the room or apartment as well as services that are offered. Inquire about any enrollment or processing fees that are involved in moving into the community. When comparing across different communities, be sure you are comparing prices based on similar services.

Ask about fees for additional services offered to residents. If outings, in-house activities, salon services and other amenities are offered, find out about the costs of these services. Add up the monthly fees along with services you are most likely to use when comparing the total costs of different communities.

Inquire about parking availability if you will bring your personal vehicle. If you will not have a vehicle with you, ask about transportation services provided to doctor's appointments and trips to purchase necessities such as groceries and toiletry items.

Discuss the meal plans offered at the facility. Find out specifics about the types of meals offered, how many meals per day are offered and when they are offered. If you have special dietary needs, ask about their ability to meet those needs and if there will be an additional fee involved.

Find out about medical services offered on site. Are there nurses on shift at all hours? Is there a doctor on call? Is the staff trained in CPR and first aid? If you have special medical needs, inquire about the staff's ability to handle these needs if necessary.

Check with the staff about the security that is provided at the facility. If there is a tendency to wander off, monitored and locked entrances and exits may be important. Otherwise, it may only be necessary to have the parking lots monitored and have security during the night available.