Choosing a Community

Once you’ve made the decision to move to a retirement community, you’ll want to find the one that’s right for you. First, take some time to think about what you’re looking for. What services do you need? What type of residence do you prefer? What amenities are important to you? Make a list of your top three “must haves” and keep them in mind when researching communities.

It’s also important to take notes every time you visit a community. There’s a lot to take in during these visits and you’ll want to remember everything you saw, thought, and heard. We’ve put together the following list of questions to help make the process easier:

Community Visit Checklist

Print this checklist


  • Is it convenient to shopping, medical offices, and local amenities?
  • Is it close enough for visits with friends and family?
  • Are there civic and religious opportunities nearby?

Services, Health Options, Amenities

  • Does the community offer the services, amenities, and activities you want?
  • What health care services does the community offer?
  • What will happen if health care needs change?
  • What does the monthly service fee include?
  • Are you allowed to have pets?

Is It a Good Fit?

  • What is your first impression when you arrived?
  • Does the staff greet you warmly, listen attentively, and answer all your questions?
  • Do you get a good feeling about the community?
  • Are the apartment choices appealing?
  • What are the three most appealing aspects of the community?

Financial/Move-In Information

  • Is the community’s financial structure explained to your satisfaction?
  • Will you pay real estate taxes or need to carry homeowner’s insurance?
  • Is there an entrance fee? What does it cover?
  • Is all or any portion of the entrance fee refundable?
  • Is any portion of the monthly fee tax-deductible?
  • Who decides when a higher level of care is warranted?
  • Is there a wait list? If so, how does it work?
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