Five Things to Look For When Choosing a Retirement Community

Director of Sales and Marketing, Saint John’s On The Lake

There are many factors to consider when choosing a retirement community CCRC or continuing care community for yourself, or your parents if you have been invited to be part of their exploration process. So, what should your check list look like for helping you or your parents make this HUGE decision?





1. First impressions matter. As you drive up to the community, do the grounds look groomed and well maintained? As you step inside; is it clean? Fresh? Is the environment both inside and out pleasant and  fresh without artificial air freshening scents to mask cleanliness or odors?

2. Did you feel welcome? Were you greeted with a smile and eye contact or did the staff seem too busy to bother? Was the staff    friendly and attentive? This will be your future home, so staff attention to you and your needs matters. Ask them how they like working in their role, or the community you’re visiting.

3. Now let’s talk about your tour. Are there community spaces for you to enjoy new hobbies or pursue former ones you may have time for again? Some communities have groups or committees that align with your interests or your professional experience so that you can continue to share your wisdom and expertise if you wish. Several have residents who serve on the Community’s Board of Directors, representing resident’s needs and desires and concerns.

How about residents you met? Were they friendly? Did you make any connections? “Will I fit in?” is a crucial factor for residents deciding on their future community. So common interests, a former neighbor or friend who lives in the community can all be helpful in your decision-making. A soon-to-be resident is grateful that several members of his Church family are also residents, as it creates a natural network of people with whom he already has something in common. Talk to residents, sit down for lunch, come for dinner or join residents for an event to learn what they really think about living in their community. 

Speaking of lunch, let’s talk about food. Dining together is an essential ingredient of community living, and you want to know what residents enjoy the most (and the least) about their dining options. Is the dining program flexible, are there multiple restaurant venues? Can I still cook and entertain in my apartment or are “three squares” a requirement of the plan? What if I travel? 

For some people this may be the biggest decision of their life. Evaluate what is important to you and use that as your “North star” to guide you in your process. These are just my first five, if you’d like to know the next five items to look for sooner than the October issue of “the Leaves,” don’t hesitate to contact me for the full skinny! 


Discover Saint John’s On The Lake.  Exceptional Retirement Living.