A Checklist for Choosing the Right Living Option

If you have taken the decision to move into a retirement community or Over 50’s resort, this is only the beginning of your journey. The choices are many and it can be a confusing decision.

Ultimately the decision will be a holistic one that takes many factors into account, not least of all your gut feeling as to the retirement village or Over 50’s community that is right for you. However, the decision is made easier by breaking it down into the major factors and in this way you can skittle down the choices very fast to a more manageable shortlist. No checklist can be absolutely complete, but here is an extensive check list of some of the things to consider to help you make your decision.

Getting Advice

Family smiling at each other

1). Have you checked with your friends and relatives, especially those who live in a retirement community or those who are in the process of making a similar decision?

2). Have you checked out the publicly available sources of information such as government websites?

3). Have you sought professional advice on your personal needs and financial situation?

The Right Location

1). Is the retirement living or Over 50’s community easily accessible for your existing network of family and friends to visit?

2). How is the retirement or Over 50’s community located with relation to your place of work, if you intend to continue working or volunteering?

3). Are amenities such as shopping centres, restaurants, cinemas, doctors, and hospitals close at hand?

4). Can you easily get to those areas that are important to your personal lifestyle such as the beach, the hinterland, or a golf course?

Legal Structure & Costs

1). Have you considered whether a retirement village or a manufactured home park would better suit your personal circumstances?

2). Do you fully understand the costs involved, both going into the community, and exit fees and options?

3). Have you got a full understanding of the ongoing costs that you may have to pay?

4). Will you be entitled to any federal, state, or other assistance?

Community Managers

Seniors looking at old atifacts

1). Is the retirement community run by a large corporation, religious group, or small company?

2). Are the community managers new to the industry or have they had many years of experience?

3). What is the reputation of the community managers?

4). Is there a Residents’ Committee?

5). Is there a clear and easy dispute resolution process?

Buildings & Design

1). Have you considered whether you want to be in a community with landed units such as villas or town houses, or would you prefer apartment style-living, whether low rise or high rise?

2). Are your needs met in terms of the number of bedrooms and bathrooms, storage and the general layout of the villas or apartments.

3). Is there garage space or an allocated parking spot?

4). Is there parking for visitors?

5). Have the villas or apartments been designed keeping in mind the mobility difficulties that can accompany older age – are the doorways wide enough to accommodate a wheelchair, can a wheelchair turnaround in the bathroom, are there rounded edges on kitchen islands and bench tops, do door handles have to be twisted or do they push down?

6). Have steps and stairs been eliminated both inside and outside or are there adequate ramps to allow you to get anywhere you want to?

Staying Secure

1). Does the community have a secure perimeter? Are there regular security patrols?

2). Are there special security arrangements for periods when you are absent such as a trip overseas?

3). Is an emergency call system available?

Domestic Assistance

1). Is domestic assistance such as cleaning available and is it at an additional cost?

2). Laundry and Ironing – is assistance available for laundry and ironing and if so is there a cost attached?

Personal Care

1). Are there facilities such as a hairdresser and beauty salon in the village?

2). Are there personal well-being programmers run at the community such as yoga, meditation, or Zumba classes?

3). Is personal care assistance available if needed, such as with getting around, bathing etc.?

4). Which are the In-Home Care providers that most regularly visit the community for other clients?

5). Do you have any special needs whether physical or emotional and are those special needs catered for?

6). Are pets allowed?

Home Upkeep

1). Is home maintenance provided for consumables such as globes?

2). Is gardening done for you?

3). Can you plant shrubs, flowers, and trees of your choice?

4). Is any assistance given in respect of home modification and repairs and are the rules compatible with your needs?

Atmosphere and Feel

1). Have you visited on open days and other times?

2). Have you talked with some of the residents and staff, and do you get a good feeling about it?

3). Can you positively say you would look forward to living in this community, are you drawn to it?

Entertainment, Socialising, & Recreation

1). Have you thought about the social atmosphere and how well you think it suits your character and personality?

2). Is there in-village entertainment such as a cinema, media room, theatrette, library, games room and music room?

3). Are there sporting facilities such as billiards, bowling green, tennis court and swimming pool?

4). Are you happy with the rules relating to guests?

5). Is there transport for shopping or appointments?

6). Are there organized trips and tours you can join?

7). What relationship, if any, does the community manager maintain with the family of residents?

Dining Options

Online dating as a senior

1). Are there onsite eateries and restaurants?

2). Is there an in-home food service available?

3). Is there a variety of food styles to suit your taste such as Asian, European, and Indian?

4). Are the restaurants in the area and cooked meal services welcomed for home delivery or are they discouraged?

5). Is the pricing in the on-site eateries subsidised?

6). Are visitors welcome to eat with you at the on-site eateries?

Medical Issues

1). Is there on-site nursing care and medical care?

2). Are there pharmacy prescription arrangements?

3). Will there be help with taking Medications?

4). Are there arrangements for visits from dentists and allied health professionals?

5). How does the community management deal with residents who develop dementia?

Moving On

1). Is assistance given in selling the property? Do you understand the financial implications if you want to move out?

2). Is there an Aged Care facility associated with the retirement community nearby or on the same estate?

Australian Over 50s Living & Lifestyle Guide

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