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How to Choose a Retirement Community

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A senior woman sits at a table, holding cards next to a cup of tea and smiling. In the background, fellow seniors engage in conversation while a nurse helps out.

Choosing a senior living community for a loved one can be a challenging and emotional decision. After all, it’s all about finding a place that offers your loved one the care and support they need while also providing them with opportunities to stay active, engaged, and happy. 

Some things to consider during the process of choosing a retirement community include: 

  • Your loved one’s care needs
  • How comfortable your loved one feels there
  • Activities & programs offered
  • How the community fits with your budget

Another thing one can consider to narrow down the list of prospects is determining which type of living situation best suits the senior’s lifestyle—independent living versus assisted living or memory care, for example. We’ll review some of the more common senior community options in this article if you’re unsure which may be a good fit for your loved one.

Types of Senior Communities

Although some communities offer a wide range of services, senior living isn’t usually a one-size-fits-all situation because we’re all from different walks of life with varying needs.

Independent Living Communities

Independent living communities are designed for active seniors who can take care of themselves but seek a low-maintenance lifestyle. These communities offer a range of amenities and engaging activities to promote a social and healthy lifestyle. Residents here can enjoy their freedom and privacy while having access to help and care if needed.

Assisted Living Communities

Assisted living communities provide support to seniors who need help with some daily tasks, such as bathing, dressing, and managing medication. These communities focus on promoting independence and providing personal care services to help seniors with daily tasks. They also often provide amenities such as recreational activities and on-site dining, along with health and wellness programs.

Memory Care Communities

Memory care communities serve seniors with dementia, Alzheimer’s disease, or other cognitive impairments. These communities can provide a safe environment and structured activities tailored to your loved one’s needs. Staff members are trained to provide specialized care and support to residents to help them maintain their quality of life and independence.

Continuing Care Retirement Communities

Continuing Care Retirement Communities (CCRCs) provide a continuum of care, ranging from independent living, assisted living, and memory care, to skilled nursing. These communities typically offer a complete spectrum of care services and allow seniors to age in place by providing a seamless transition between different levels of care as their needs change.

Respite Care

Many people view respite care as simply a way for a caregiver to take a necessary break. But respite care can also provide a great way for a senior to “test drive” a community to see if it’s a good fit for their needs and wants.

Tips to Help You Choose a Retirement Community

There isn’t a right or wrong way to choose a senior community. Much of it comes down to an individual’s needs and their lifestyle goals for retirement.

Research Different Options

Before you choose a senior community, it’s important to do your research. This can help you find a community that fits your loved one’s needs and preferences. Make sure to check out their website, social media pages, and online reviews. Don’t forget to read the information on their programs and services, as these can vary from community to community.

Visit Each Community

After you’ve done your online research, visit the senior communities that you think will be a good fit for your loved one. Speak to the staff, ask questions, and take an in-person tour. By visiting, you can get a much better idea of the overall atmosphere, the quality of care provided, and the community’s overall vibe. Bring your loved one along to help them get a feel for each community and choose what feels most comfortable to them.

Talk to Other Families

Online reviews are a great way of gauging whether a community is right for your loved one or not. However, talking to other families who have experience with the senior community can be incredibly helpful. Ask the community for references of current residents. You will usually hear good and bad feedback, both of which can help you make an informed decision.


Consider your financial situation before committing to a community. Ask questions about costs, such as rates and fees. You can also ask if they accept your insurance or if they offer any special programs, discounts, or promotions.

A group of seniors in an audience, each raising their right hand in a fist, some are smiling, as a nurse stands and leads the exercise

Activities & Programs

A senior community with regular social activities and events can offer residents the opportunity to meet new people and make new friends. Find out if a community offers activities and programs that interest your loved one. This could be anything from pet therapy to group fitness classes.

Consider Healthcare Options & Specialized Needs

One of the key benefits of a retirement community is access to healthcare services. Look for communities that offer a range of healthcare options, such as assisted living, memory care, and skilled nursing.

Ask about the availability of healthcare professionals and the level of care provided. Consider your current healthcare needs and any potential future needs when choosing a community.

Choose a Great Community in Amarillo

Choosing a senior community can be a complex process, but with these tips, you can find a community that meets your loved one’s needs. With the right information and knowledge, you will be equipped to make the best possible choice for your loved one.Get in touch with our team at The Legacy at Town Square if you’re considering communities in Amarillo. Our professional and compassionate team can answer your questions. We’re happy to book a community tour so you and your loved one can see if our community is a good fit.

Written by LifeWell

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