Westminster At Lake Ridge Blog
Posted: Friday, October 27, 2017
The 5 most important questions to ask about a retirement community
Life Plan Communities (previously referred to as Continuing care retirement communities) offer a vibrant and secure lifestyle for people who want to pursue their interests without the hassles involved in owning a home. Communities like Westminster at Lake Ridge offer a wide range of services, support and amenities so residents can live their lives to the fullest with the added peace of mind of onsite health care as they grow older.
If you’re thinking about making a move, you’ll want to learn as much as you can about the communities you’re considering. Most communities have websites, and that’s a good place to start getting an idea of what services and amenities are offered and whether it can support the kind of retirement lifestyle you want. But after that, you’ll want to dig deeper. The best way to get information is to contact the community and ask to come for a visit. You can tour the grounds, see sample living spaces and talk to residents.
Here are the five most important questions to ask.
- What are your initial impressions of the community? Look for well-maintained grounds and buildings. A friendly staff member should greet you when you arrive and make sure you have access to areas of the community you wish to see. Your guide should explain floor plans and options for customizing your living space to suit your needs and tastes. You should be offered the opportunity to talk with current residents. Your observations of how staff members behave and whether residents seem to be the kind of people you’d want for your neighbors are important deciding factors.
- Is the community financially stable? Do a little research into the community’s history and reputation; learn how long it has been in business and how it ranks financially compared with other communities. Plans for expansion are one indicator that a community is desirable and growing. That’s actually just one of the financial questions you’ll want to ask.
- How good are the community’s health services? Life plan communities often provide skilled nursing and rehabilitation services. You can find out how they rank by visiting www.medicare.gov’s Nursing Home Compare service. Look for a five-star ranking, the highest that Medicare awards.
- What is the process for applying and getting accepted? Find out whether there is a wait list, and if so, approximately how long the wait will be. Examine the details of the contract you’ll be asked to sign. Ask what is covered in the monthly fee and what services may require additional fees, and ask about refunds, payment schedules, insurance coverage and contract options.
- Is this the right place for you? A retirement community should be more than just a place to live. It should inspire you to continue to be active and healthy—if you love to swim, for example, you’ll want to make sure there is a pool. The community should provide ample opportunities for continued learning and personal growth through classes and other educational and cultural programs, art facilities and plenty of occasions for socializing. If you like to cook, does your living space have a great kitchen? If you don’t, does the community offer several choices for dining? You might also want to ask about religious services on campus, transportation to offsite activities and appointments, and whether residents are involved in management of the community.
It’s a good idea to have a list of questions prepared when you visit a retirement community and to write down your observations. You can view a detailed list of questions at the AARP’s Caregiving Resource Center.
Westminster at Lake Ridge welcomes visits from prospective members and invites you learn more about this unique retirement community by attending one of our informational presentations. You can also request information here.