Selecting Your Retirement Community

There are several qualities of senior care communities that you will want to check into before making a decision. Factors like privacy, independence, cost, medical and personal care are things you’ll need to consider as you select a community.

Temporary versus Long Term care

An older person may go to a nursing home for rehab following a surgery or stroke, then return home. In other circumstances, a senior’s needs are better served by planning a move that is likely to remain the same for the many years to come.


Can the senior live alone, and more importantly, does he/she want to? Or would living in a more service-oriented environment be more nurturing? These are the questions that you’ll need to answer before choosing a community for yourself or a loved one.


If the senior’s desire for privacy is important, independent living, assisted living or a Continuing Care Retirement Community would be more preferable than a nursing home.

Needs for Personal Care

How much and what kinds of personal or “custodial care” are needed or desired? There are online needs assessment questionnaires to help you determine this, and then match care needs with the right type of housing.

Needs for Medical Care

If the senior has a chronic illness that necessitates special medical care, or ongoing services of medical professionals, independent living and even assisted living may not be suitable.

Cost Considerations

The national median rate for a private one-bedroom apartment in an assisted living residence is $2,575 per month. Although, it is difficult to get a good reading on the average cost of nursing homes or assisted living because care is varied with each person’s need, and pricing is often tiered to reflect this need. However, assisted living is often less expensive than home health services or nursing home care in the same geographic area. The cost of a senior living residence is usually paid for through private financial resources, since most insurance policies do not cover such expenses. At best, one’s insurance program or policy will reimburse some of the cost. Seniors have several ways of funding retirement living if existing finances are not adequate.

For most seniors, owning a home is the biggest asset available. Of course selling the home would fund your new living arrangements, but renting or obtaining a reverse mortgage would also allow for money to come in without getting rid of the property.

Housing and Veterans subsidies exist for some seniors with annual incomes under $12,000, which provides funds that can help pay for the room-and-board portion of both independent living and assisted living environments. Veterans can benefit from the Department of Veterans Affairs skilled and intermediate-level care, depending on space availability.

To truly ensure your capacity to pay for senior living, long-term care insurance is your best bet. The Assisted Living Federation of America suggests researching long-term care insurance at age 40 and owning it by age 50. This type of insurance gives you the flexibility to choose the type of housing that’s right for you.