Looking to Move into a Retirement Community Next Year? Four Things to Think About Today

Our retirement community has been growing for over 90 years, and we love to welcome new members. Here is what you and your family need to know to make your best move.

There are so many wonderful options for aging adults today. It can be hard to know what to look for in a retirement community and harder still to know how to choose an assisted living community.

  1. Will you have personal space?

    The social nature of a senior living community is one of its most attractive features. Imagine living your best life, safely and securely, surrounded by your best friends! Warm and welcoming common areas, gracious dining options, and beautiful grounds are all designed to encourage get-togethers and good times.

    You still want to feel at home, however. Personal space is important to maintain privacy, dignity, and choice in our lives, and the amount of personal space we need varies from person to person. Now is the time to think about what personal space means to you.

    Do you want a roommate or your own private room? Are you comfortable sharing a bathroom with others or would you prefer your own private bath? Will a private bedroom be enough for you or would you prefer your own private apartment? Studio, one-bedroom, or two bedrooms? If you want the option of cooking for yourself on occasion, will that apartment include a kitchen?

    When choosing a retirement home, prioritize the features of your own personal living area. If you love tending houseplants, look for big windows, southern exposure, or your own private balcony. If you are a social butterfly, try to secure a private living space closer to the community common areas.

    Make a list of your must-have features for your private residence and bring it with you to every senior care community you visit.

  2. Will you have high-quality medical care?

    Depending on your reasons for moving into a senior care community, medical care may be at the top or near the bottom of your list. For active older adults exploring independent living, future access to medical care might seem more important, while seniors transitioning from rehabilitation centers or with chronic or medically complex conditions will have accessing the highest quality medical care right now as their top priority.

    Our advice on what to look for in a retirement community? Priority access to award-winning person-centered healthcare. Even independent living options should provide 24/7 access to high-quality healthcare.

    At The Cedars, all care plans in our Households and Rehabilitation Center are based on the lifestyles and preferences of our residents and designed by residents, their families, and their healthcare providers. Our highly trained staff respond to needs in the moment and have the capacity to treat even medically complex conditions, like chronic heart failure or kidney failure, onsite. Our specialized rehabilitation program draws patients from around the state to start the road to recovery with our physical, occupational, and speech therapists. No matter what our residents need—now, or in the future—we will be able to care for them, right at home.

    Before you begin touring senior care communities, speak to your physician about the healthcare options they feel you should prioritize.

  3. What activities will be available?

    The best senior living communities offer a diverse array of engaging, meaningful activities and events. You have worked hard to get to this point, putting others before yourself. Aging is a time to pursue personal passions, to continue to learn and grow. You want to make the most of this fresh chapter in your life and your senior living community should offer many opportunities to do so.

    Make a list of things you love to do or want to try. Swimming or water aerobics? Look for a senior living community with an indoor pool or Jacuzzi. Golf? Your senior living community should be on or near the green. Live performances, art galleries, or concerts? You will want to be living close by a thriving urban center. And don’t forget fun activities like playing bridge, learning local history, discussing books with likeminded friends, or chatting about current events. Vibrant senior living communities will have many active clubs or groups where you can connect with others who share your interests.

    Now think about activities that promote personal health or mental wellbeing. Your senior living community should offer an assortment of fitness classes for all levels of strength and mobility. Are there fitness facilities with exercise equipment designed for older adults? Chances to get outdoors? Sun porches, sensory gardens, and walking paths? Reliable transportation services?

    Take note of how many activities take place outside and in your community—particularly intergenerational activities. As an experienced older adult, you have so much to offer your larger community. Teaching, mentoring, or volunteering provides a strong sense of purpose and the glow of giving back and doing good.

    You will finally have the time and energy to be your best self in your senior living community. As you tour senior living communities, ask how they will support your treasured pastimes and pursuits.

  4. Where do you feel at home?

    Of all the things to think about, the feeling of “home” is the hardest to qualify and yet the easiest to quantify. You may not know exactly how to describe what feels like home to you but you will know, from the moment you walk in, if you are at home in a senior living community.

    True homes have front doors with doorbells, not sliding glass doors. Foyers instead of lobbies. Warm and inviting common areas filled with cozy, comfortable furnishings and stocked with computers, games, books, and puzzles. Kitchens filled with the tempting smells of delicious food and refrigerators and cupboards stocked with favorite snacks and treats. Bright, airy sunrooms. Gracious dining rooms. Charming gardens and grounds. And a relaxed, peaceful ambiance enlivened with laughter and conversation uninterrupted by alarms or call bells.

    It is very difficult to find a senior living community that has truly adopted and implemented the new and transformative Household Model of care—The Cedars has the only real Households in Maine, for instance—but only a Household can truly create that feeling of being right at home. If you have never seen a Household in action, make sure you visit one before choosing your senior living community.

    To compare and contrast other senior living communities against a true Household, download our My Household Checklist.

If you are thinking about moving to a retirement community in the coming year, talk to our senior living specialists at 207.221.7000 today.