QUESTION: I’ve been widowed for almost two years and am considering a move. My home and yard are more than I want to continue to take care of. I am active and independent and don’t need to be taken care of but at times am very lonely. I’m considering what they call retirement living. Can you provide some guidance about his subject?
ANSWER: I’d be delighted to tell you what I know about researching retirement living. You’ll find this type of living accommodation referred to as a retirement community, a retirement facility, independent living or congregate living.
These accommodations are designed for independent senior adults and provide apartment like living with 24-hour on-site staff available should a problem occur. Services usually include meals, housekeeping, laundry, social activities (entertainment and educational) and transportation.
Plan to visit all the retirement facilities available in your area so you can compare what is offered. Some facilities offer the opportunity to stay for two or three days so you can experience what it is like to live there. If you are offered such an opportunity I encourage you to take it.
During a tour ask about rules and regulations such as whether residents can have a small pet in their apartment or allowed to have overnight guests.
Find out about the cost and what is included in the monthly fee. Checking on meal service is very important. How many meals per day are included in the basic monthly fee? If you have special dietary needs can they be met? If you become ill is tray service available and is there a cost and length of time available.
If you no longer drive is transportation available and if so is there a charge, how often is it available and to what locations? If you still drive is parking available?
Check on laundry facilities and the availability of extra storage and on-premises services such as a barber or beauty shop.
If you have out-of-town friends or relatives who might visit does the facility offer guest accommodations? Look into the type and frequency of social activities. Do these events interest you? Are field trips away from the facility offered?
Because you would be living in much smaller quarters be sure to look at the public rooms available for your use and enjoyment. Is the dining room pleasant? At what times are meals served? Is there a small private dining room where you could host a family get-together? Is an activities room available and what activities are offered? Are evening as well as daytime activities planned? Is there an exercise room and if so what type of equipment is provided? Do residents appear to use these rooms?
Ask a current resident to act as a guide for your tour. If possible try to have a meal as part of your visit. Be aware of how friendly the staff members are to residents. They should treat the residents with respect and know the residents by name.
Take time after your visit to consider whether the facility will allow you to live as easily and independently as you would like. There are many facilities out there and each has something that others may not have. Don’t rush into making a decision. Good luck on your search.
MEDICARE – 2016 SEMINARS
Wednesday October 14 – 1:30 – Simi Valley Senior Center – (805) 583-6363
Thursday October 15 – 1:30 – Moorpark Active Adult Center – (805) 517-6261
Friday October 16 – 1:00 – Goebel Adult Community Center – (805) 381-2744
THURSDAY – October 8 – 10:30 – Noon – Seminar – “Will You Pass Your Next Driving Test?” at Goebel Adult Community Center, 1385 E. Janss Road in Thousand Oaks – reservations (805) 381-2744.
SUNDAY – October 11 – 2:00 pm – History Comes Alive – The Beatles and Me on Tour presented by Ivor Davis – at Goebel Adult Community Center. Tickets are $5 and can be purchased at the door on the day of the event.
WEDNESDAY – October 14 – 5:30 – 6:30 pm – Lawyers at the Library Series – Estate Planning 101 at Ventura County Law Library, 800 S. Victoria Avenue. The Library is located in the Ventura County Government Center facing Parking Lot A. For reservations and information call (805) 642-8982.
FRIDAY – October 16 – 5:00 pm – Brats & Beer – Come and celebrate the fall season at the Goebel Center. Tickets are $7 at Goebel’s front desk.
TUESDAY – October 20 – 5:30 to 7:00 pm – The Empowered Caregiver Series – “Paying the Bills When the Paychecks Stop – at Senior Concerns Day Care Center, 401 Hodencamp Road in Thousand Oaks. For reservations call (805) 497-0189.
WEDNESDAY – October 21 – 12:30 pm – Transit Work Shop – at Goebel Adult Community Center, 1385 E. Janss Road in Thousand Oaks. Call (805) 381-2744 for reservations. Seating is limited.