Choosing a retirement community can be a daunting task. For many people, it’s deciding on the place you’ll live for the rest of your life — including, in some cases, where you will receive long-term care, if needed.
Vicki Bosler, Business Development Director and Hospital Liaison for Pine Run Health Center in Doylestown, has some advice for those getting ready to make this major life decision:
Consider your needs Some retirement communities offer continuing care medical facilities, some are more focused on housing and recreation, and some offer both.
When it comes to medical expenses down the line, “consider whether you want to include all of your medical care for as long as you live, or as you need it,” says Bosler.
Other considerations include location, cost, and whether you are moving to a retirement community on your own or with a spouse.
Ask friends and neighbors “Many people find us through word-of-mouth,” Bosler says. Start by asking people you trust if they’re familiar with retirement communities in your preferred area. You may be surprised at how much feedback you get.
Do your homework “Search retirement communities online and read as much as you can about them to help you decide which ones you want to explore further,” says Bosler. If you’re looking for continuing care, go to www.medicare.gov and click on Nursing Home Compare. In this section, you can search and find facilities and see how they’re rated in a “star” rating system. “Be sure to look not only at the Overall rating but Staffing, Quality Measures, and Health Inspections as well.”
Visit the facility Once you’ve narrowed down your options, visiting the facility is a must.
“It’s good to start with a group tour to get a basic feel of things,” says Bosler. “If you like what you see, schedule a more in-depth tour, where you can talk with the marketing/sales team. A one-on-one private conversation can help identify your specific goals and desires in retirement living.”
“Don’t underestimate the importance of having a meal and talking to residents,” she adds. When visiting a continuing care facility, be aware of cleanliness and length of call bell ringing, which point to the care of the patients.
Ask questions Are there education programs? Fitness classes? Trips? Game nights? Ask to see a calendar of events to get and idea of outings and events offered. Ask about what is included in the fees, which may (or may not) include meals, housekeeping, and utilities. “It’s important to ask ‘What do I have to pay out of pocket?’” she says.
Be Prepared When you meet with staff to discuss the possibility of moving to the community, be ready to divulge your financial situation. “It’s a necessary part of the process,” says Bosler, “and it’s easier if you’re not caught off guard.” To learn more about choosing Pine Run Health Center, voted Best of Bucks several years running, go to pinerun.org, or contact Vicki Bosler at 267-980-4957 or firstname.lastname@example.org.