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How to Start Looking for a Senior Community

Starting the search for a retirement community can be a daunting task. There are so many facilities, and each one offers different things at a different price. It's hard to know where to start.

Know what you need

What kinds of services and support do you need? Making a list of these items can help determine your budget and narrow down your choices.


How much you can spend per month puts a limit on where you might be able to live. Many of your current expenses may be included in your rent at a retirement facility. Don't overlook any resources or benefits (like those for veterans) that might help you pay for your senior living community.


Do you want to be located near anything specific, like parks or shopping centers? Near friends and family? Would you prefer to be close to the city center or out in the country?


What's non-negotiable, and what "would be nice"? You should make a list of all the "must-haves", such as being pet friendly and having transportation provided. You should also make a wishlist of all the things you would like to have, but aren't necessarily deal-breakers. This may be things like being all on one level or having a hair salon on site.


A community's website will tell you a lot about it. You should also look at 3rd party sites - these will give you reviews, but their information may not be up to date. Additionally, look at social media sites like Facebook and Instagram to get an alternate view of the community.

Ask around

Does someone you know live in a senior community? Other people you know may have already done some research. Ask them what places they recommend. What places should you avoid?

Call or email first.

You can shorten a long list by asking questions before taking the time to visit somewhere in person.

Visit in person.

An in-person visit is vital to making an informed decision. Bring a friend with you, ask questions, and take notes. Does it feel like somewhere you could call home?

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