Community retirement centers are a great option for retired individuals who lack or no longer have an interest in living in their own homes. The benefits of a CRC are many and are often well worth the transition period and annoyance of moving. However, there are many questions you should ask when narrowing down the list of your community choices. Avoid depending solely on a community tour and brochure to give you all the information you need to make the decision.
Here are some important topics to ask about:
Monthly Rate Increases
Inquiring about any increases in monthly rates over the past 3-5 years is a good idea. You should ask about and take note of any regular annual increases which can become problematic over time. If there have been multiple rate increases over the past few years, you should be aware that such a trend could continue. Any recurring fees of significant cost should also be investigated as they are occasionally not mentioned upfront.
What Is Covered By The Monthly Rate?
It is very important to completely understand which services are covered by your monthly rate and what is additional. You may find that not all meals are included, housekeeping, or certain desired amenities and services are extra. Avoid all surprises by obtaining an actual list of fees and calculating yourself instead of trusting any averages.
Transferring to Higher Levels of Care
At some point in your retirement period you may ultimately need to transfer to assisted living or skilled nursing level of care. As such, knowing what is available and how much your monthly rate can be impacted is invaluable. It can be a slight risk to join a CRC where the highest levels of resident care are either unavailable or overburdened. Ask lots of questions till you are completely informed of the additional expenses to be expected if this situation were to arise. If you may not be able to afford the increase, it may be wise to consider another retirement community. Insist on a tour of any on-site health care center and make sure you are well-informed on both staffing and the services the health care center can provide.
Ages and Activities
For younger, newly retired individuals, a wealth of available activities is usually pretty important. Make sure your retirement community has the amenities to aid you in your healthy, active lifestyle. Inquire about the age of the average resident. If the prospective CRC's average resident's age is on the higher side, you may not find many activities that interest you on the calendar. In the same token, communities designed around active retirees may have much less to offer for older individuals with a lower activity level. Determining the availability and limitations of provided transportation as well as the associated fees can sometimes offset any activity issues.
Making the jump to a community retirement center is a big decision. Asking the right questions can help prevent overall dissatisfaction with your ultimate choice. There are a multitude of red flags to be on the lookout for including hidden fees, inability to visit the health care center, and frequent or significant rate increases. As your future retirement community may well be your final home, it is worth it to select one that fits your lifestyle perfectly.
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