Approaching retirement is an exciting time! There’s nothing quite like the feeling of being able to leave the working life behind and spend your time as you choose. However, the decisions associated with retirement are big ones, and not ones that you want to make lightly. While liberating, it can also be an emotional, stressful and challenging time. But choosing the right over 55 living home doesn’t need to be. Follow these steps to help you find the best over 55 living home for you – and get started on enjoying your retirement.
Set a budget
Setting a budget for your retirement living expenses is a must. Before you even start searching for the perfect over 55 living facility, work out what your budget is. While entry into an Australian facility remains affordable in today’s economic climate, the cost of occupying an over 55 living property under a lease can vary widely between facilities. Determine what you are willing and able to pay for the home, taking into account your plans for travel, lifestyle, family etc. during your retirement. Then don’t be tempted to spend more than you can realistically afford. Setting a budget beforehand means you’re less likely to be swayed by factors that might be nice (but are not actually necessary) later.
Look around your area
Spend some time searching for over 55 lifestyle facilities in your area (or the area you plan to move to). Use the yellow pages, or browse online, or just keep an eye out as you drive around the area. Compile a list of potential facilities that seem promising.
Get some good referrals
Word of mouth is always the best way to uncover quality. People who have had a good experience moving into an over 55 living community (or know someone who has) are usually happy to recommend a wonderful facility. If you have recently retired friends, relatives or colleagues, pick their brains to find out what facility they chose – and why. The ‘why’ may be the most important part of all – as the individual reasons why someone chose (or didn’t chose) a facility can be very telling. These in-depth referrals will better enable you to choose an over 55 lifestyle community that is a good fit for your individual situation.
It’s time to dig deeper online and look into a wider pool of recommendations and referrals than just people you know. Online forums can be a great place to uncover honest opinions about retirement facilities. Not only will you be able to avoid any less desirable places, you’ll also be able to find some which come highly recommended and with a proven track record of client satisfaction. Once you do, visit the website of these facilities to glean even more information.
Create a shortlist
Now that you’ve gathered a lot of preliminary information, it’s time to analyse it all and come up with a shortlist. It’s best to narrow it down to two or three quality options to allow for plenty of choice without confusing the process too much.
What do you need to know?
You’ll need to find out a great deal about each of the options on your shortlist, in order to make the best decision. Come up with a list of questions that you’ll need answered about the process of moving into an over 55 living community and how it will work for you. Then write them down, rather than relying on memory. That way you’ll ensure you ask all the important questions that you need answers to, and don’t leave out anything vital that might influence your decision.
Also come up with a list of non-negotiable requirements in your choice of over 55 community. Does it need to be located near the beach? Have a big garden? Come with a community centre and plenty of activity options? Give you a lot of privacy? Write down whatever you think is necessary, and also include a list of factors that would be nice to have but you might be willing to compromise on for the right place.
Book an appointment to tour the facilities
So, now you have your budget, your shortlist and your list of questions and non-negotiables. It’s time to tour the facilities where possible (and if you don’t live near your chosen destination, a virtual tour might be a possibility). Get in contact with your shortlisted facilities and book a time to come for a tour. This is the best possible way to find out if the facility and community is a match for you.
Make sure you ask all your questions and take note of how the staff communicate with you. Do they answer your questions freely and openly, or treat you as if you were a bother? Do they communicate clearly and explain what they mean? You’ll soon get a feeling for whether this is the place you want to be.
Make the best choice
Following your visits, take some time and reflect deeply on your choices. It’s not something you want to get wrong. Compare your checklist of requirements with your list of facilities, their costs, and your general impression of them. By now you’ll probably have a fairly good idea about which place is the best match for you. Don’t rush the choice though, but take the time to make the best and most informed decision. To get in touch with a vibrant over 55 living community that offers the best in retirement living, contact Alumuna here: (02) 5504 6518 or visit the website.