By Hazel Bridges from AgingWellness.org
Here are 4 ways you can choose the right community and downsize quickly to start enjoying your retirement!
Many areas have a variety of options available for seniors looking for a retirement community where they can enjoy their golden years. There are assisted living facilities, nursing homes, 55+ neighborhoods, and continuing care retirement community options. Families can quickly become overwhelmed by the work involved in making this crucial decision. In addition to looking at amenities, medical support, and facility location, you should look at some business-related specifics, as well as what it’s going to take to move. The Jeremy & Peg King Real Estate team presents the following tips and resources to assist seniors during the downsizing process.
Research a community’s history before making a commitment
There are often significant financial investments involved when moving into a retirement community, and it is vital to choose one that is going to be worth the investment required. Ask plenty of questions about any community you are considering before signing on the dotted line. USA Today explains that there is a financial risk when signing a contract for many retirement communities, and too many families overlook this risk when making a decision.
Research each place’s business history and accreditation. Don’t be shy about asking for specifics, such as how long they’ve been in business, what their occupancy ratio is, and the resident or staff turnover they typically experience. Numbers may fluctuate during difficult economies, but you do not want to sink your nest egg into a community that may not be financially secure and able to accommodate your needs throughout your golden.
Accreditation, oversight, and quality reviews may be challenging to review
You may want to check into whether a facility is accredited, but that is not necessarily a guarantee of quality. Becoming accredited is voluntary and can be expensive, notes Forbes, so there are quality communities worth considering that choose not to go that route. However, you can check into their licensing and you might want to review the licensing survey done on a facility if possible.
Kiplinger points out that oversight of retirement communities can be spotty depending on the area. Not only does the quality of state oversight vary by state, but families may find it difficult to find independent, unbiased reviews of these communities. However, visiting in person can provide valuable insight both in terms of whether the place feels like a fit as well as how smoothly things seem to be run on the business side.
Ask for specifics about a community’s financials
Retirement communities should be willing to share details about their financial stability. Are their liabilities greater than their assets? Does their operating income cover their expenses? Ask for a detailed breakdown of the fees so you know what services are covered and ask about prior fee increases. Annual increases in monthly fees of 4 to 6 percent should be expected, and sharper increases may be concerning.
You will also want to know what happens if residents run out of funds for their monthly fees. Is there a “benevolent fund,” and if so, how specifically are details regarding that fund spelled out? What leads to residents being discharged? Is the facility able to keep their units filled sufficiently, above 85 to 90 percent, so those living in the community do not bear a significant burden for maintenance and other costs?
Plan for the actual moving day
When thoughts turn to the actual day of the move, consider bringing on a Senior Move Manager. These professionals help with all moving logistics for seniors including downsizing, packing, home staging, organizing and sorting, paperwork and overseeing movers. Of course you’ll also want to enlist the help of family and friends to help with sorting and packing your belongings. When downsizing, ask among them who may want furniture and other items that you no longer need.
It’s also never too early to start researching moving professionals. Check out the Angi movers page to find highly-rated moving pros in your area. Familiarize yourself with options and your budget, and make sure the company you choose is licensed and insured. Hiring reputable movers makes relocating belongings accumulated over the years much easier, and it ensures that those items make it securely to the new home.
Picking a retirement community is a big decision. Ask questions and review specifics about their history and financials so you can make a sound decision. Families want their senior loved ones to enjoy their golden years, experiencing as little stress as possible, so it’s important to dig into the details to find the community that will best serve your family member for their remaining years.
Trusted real estate teams like Jeremy and Peg King can help you make the tough decisions and guide you on your downsizing journey.