Making the decision to move from the comfort of your own home into a retirement home is not one to be taken lightly and needs a lot of thought and preparation.
So what should be you be looking for?
Peace of Mind
Whether you are able to live without assistance or need extra care, you want to know that you're going to be getting the best and most secure facilities on offer to fit within your lifestyle.
Modern day retirement developments are thought out very carefully with special attention paid to detail, from the style of the property and its natural surroundings, to the distance from local shops, hospitals, transport and social aspects such as meeting clubs and restaurants. Security entrances, 24 hour care lines, smoke alarms and lifts are generally included and designed to make you feel secure and protected. A house manager is also a reassuring presence. Whether you need them or not, from keeping an eye on your apartment to answering any questions you might have, they are there to provide assistance.
Special attention isn't just paid to the local amenities and facilities outside your home. In order to live as independently as possible, you need access to everything you'd expect in your own home such as enough space for storage, right down to the types of tap fittings used and the heights of units. These small details mean that you can continue to look after yourself well into your retirement. Assisted living is a great option for those who can maintain a good degree of independence and are well enough not to need a full time care home but need a bit of extra help. Many retirement developments offer assisted living for those that need it while still allowing its residents a high degree of independence.
To be comfortable, you need to feel at home, relaxed and secure. This is mostly achieved by choosing a good quality retirement apartment but extras such as laundry rooms and residents lounges also offer you companionship and conversation when you want it and fully equipped guest suites for when friends or family wish to stay overnight.
Cost of living is obviously high on the agenda for many people. While it's usually tempting to go for the cheapest option, that's not always best.
Try to find somewhere within your budget with a clear cost structure so there are no hidden costs. Various service charges including garden maintenance, water rates, the use of the care line, the house manager etc can soon add up causing a great deal of stress and worry.
You want value for money in a location suitable for you, with the facilities you need and a clear idea of what extra charges you will need to budget for. Energy efficiency should be high on the tick list too because the more efficient a property, the less costly it will be.
If you are planning to retire it usually makes sense to choose a location where you already have some form of connection. For example, some people might select a location to be near to family whilst others might select a location which is close to their friends. Many choose to retire to a location because of the countryside - or indeed that very popular option, to be near the sea. Many people select a location on the basis that it is the place where they feel comfortable and of course "gut feeling" may well play an important part in that judgment.
Finally, whatever grounds you might give for selecting a retirement apartment or flat it really is worth looking around to see what's on offer. One of the best places to start is by going to the largest builder of retirement homes in the UK as they have extensive resources on their website to help the retirement home hunter. Happy searching!