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Choosing a Community

Living a senior lifestyle today is not as easy as it used to be. A few decades ago, it was simple - when Mom and Dad needed extra attention they simply moved in with the kids. Today, senior citizens are more active then ever before. Seniors want to remain independent for as long as possible, but they still want the safety net, just in case health problems arise. The question remains - What type of retirement community is right for you?

Selecting a retirement community can be a daunting task, not just for the senior at hand but for all family members involved. The most important thing to remember is to take your time exploring the many retirement living options available today. Choosing the retirement community most compatible with you becomes simple when you are armed with basic information about yourself.

When selecting a retirement community have a few things available, such as age, health, religious preference, marital status, financials, and interests. By having your personal checklist on hand, this will help you in deciding which community is equipped to best serve you.

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Active Adult Communities are for older adults who want to maintain their lifestyle, but want to scale down in terms of house and lawn upkeep. Active adult communities are usually rented solely to adults who have surpassed a specific age, such as 60 years. Apartments, condos, or townhouses are among the types of living quarters one can expect when choosing to live in an active adult community. Keep in mind, this type of community usually does not offer meal service and structured activities.

Independent Living is for the senior who is independent physically and socially. Seniors benefit from this type of living because it is a maintenance-free environment. A person can truly enjoy this particular living arrangement because most everything is available for the senior from planned activities to linen service to meals served in a dining room atmosphere. Residents typically have the option of choosing from multiple floor plans and furnishing the apartment with their prized belongings from home.

Residential Care / Assisted Living is for the senior who needs assistance with daily life tasks, such as bathing and medication management. The concept behind assisted living is to maintain a person's independence for as long as possible. Living options range from private apartments to shared living quarters and take the form of an independent living arrangement, only with the added benefit of nursing care.

Skilled Nursing Facilities are for seniors who require 24-hour medical care. Skilled nursing facilities, otherwise known as nursing homes, provide both short-term rehabilitation and long-term care for people with chronic illnesses or disabilities that need the attention of a nurse in addition to assistance with everyday needs, such as bathing and dressing. Trained staff are on hand to provide these services as well as daily activities according to the residents' ability.

Continuing Care Retirement Communities, referred to as CCRC's, are for the senior who would like to 'age in place.' When a person prefers to 'age in place,' they simply do not wish to be moved from facility to facility as their medical needs change. A CCRC is usually a campus set up to offer services for independent living, assisted living, and skilled nursing. A senior may find comfort in only having to move once; they will be able to remain on the same campus no matter what medical needs may arise.

Once you become familiar with the basic types of senior living services available, as described above, you will better understand what type of community will best serve you. Find out what is available in your area by searching the telephone book or browsing the internet. Stop by every community you are interested in and take a tour. Most retirement communities will offer lunch, so don't hesitate to take them up on the offer. This is a great way to observe the staff and everyday happenings. Take your time, you will want your new residence to feel like home and the only way that can happen is if you feel comfortable and secure.

To help you determine which type of community may be best for your or your family member, download our assessment form.