The decision to move to a senior retirement community is not easy. Someone once said to me that “chewing glass may be more enjoyable!” Friends will pass snide comments. Family will chip in with their slant. These opinions not based on your situation but tainted by their own views and feelings.
You and your spouse or partner will be filled with naked mixed emotions. It’s a venture into the unknown. Whatever the circumstances. Deciding to move is emotional and demanding. It’s critical to think carefully through each step. Although there are many, many factors to consider, these ones will give you a good basis for making your decision.
- Do you have anything specific that is a priority? Will either something you love or something you hate have an influence?
- Where do you want to live? Consider the distance to shops, public transport, pastime or sport facilities and family and friends. Remember, that as one gets older driving becomes more daunting.
2. The Facilities
- What style and size home do you want?
- Is security an issue? For many people it’s an important and growing concern.
- What level of independence do you desire? How much privacy would you like?
- Are there recreational activities?
- Does it offer levels of independence? Some retirement living communities offer greater levels of independent living. While others have a greater focus on community living. Which approach best meets your needs?
- Are there financial options available which suit you?
- Does the development have a sustainable business model? Is it financially well-managed?
- What are the costs now and what are they likely to be in the future?
- What is included in the costs you’ll have to pay?
- What financial provisions have been made for the long-term maintenance and upkeep?
4. The Developers
- Beware of developer promises. There are some shady operators out there who have taken advantage of this market.
- Is the development still in the growth phase? If so, will the developers be able to deliver on their promises? Consider the developer’s financial resources and their experience.
- Will the developers be involved in the management of the completed estate?
- If you are buying off plan. Where will any money you pay be kept until the completion of the estate?
- What are your options should anything, like the community or frail care facilities, not be completed?
5. Medical Care
- How close are the nearest medical services? Think carefully about how you could manage deteriorating health.
- If this is required at a later date, what access is there to ongoing care?
- Is there a frail care facility large enough for the estate? Remember that there will be growing numbers of “older old” folk requiring support.
6. Level of Input and Involvement
- Would you like to have a say in the running of the estate? Is there a provision for the community to get involved in the operation?
- Is there a residents’ committee or trustees’ committee that you can join? Does it work with management to make certain the needs of the residents are sustained at a high standard?
7. Management of the Estate
- Who will run the estate? What is their experience or qualifications in this field? Do they have experience in meeting the needs of older people?
- If you decide to leave the village what are your financial responsibilities? Will it be necessary to restore your unit? If so, exactly what restoration would you need to carry out?
- When you leave, how much money will you receive? When will you receive this money? Often money is not paid until your unit is sold to a new resident.
- What guarantees do you have that your unit will be sold as quickly as possible? Do you have the option of marketing your unit yourself to speed up the process?
9. Membership and assurances
- Is the village a member of any organization or associations? If so, what assurance does this guarantee you?
- Does the association provide a quick and cheap way of resolving disagreements between you and the estate?
10. Legal and binding contract
- Check the Deed of Sale. Make sure that you understand your obligations with regard to maintenance, refurbishment, general upkeep of the property and medical and ongoing care services.
- Find out what services the management are legally required to supply on an ongoing basis.
11. The Final decision
- Make sure that all the boxes are ticked and all the questions answered.
- When do you plan to move? Is there a long waiting list? Many of the more reasonably priced, well-managed and viable communities have long waiting lists … in some cases up to 10 years!
- What are other people saying about the place? Do you know anyone living there? Do you know anyone who knows anyone living there? Have you spoken to anyone living there?
These are the many questions and concerns that you will have to wrestle with when making the final decision about moving to a retirement living community. Once you move the rewards can be considerable. Living in a community of like-minded people. Independence to enjoy life with less hassles and hindrances. A truly enhanced lifestyle.
Freedom to have the time to follow the interests you’ve always wanted to pursue. Enjoying a well-deserved retirement. It’s now up to you. A new lifestyle in a new place … or live with life as you know it?