how to prepare for a retirement community

You’ve prepared for your retirement for a long time. Years of saving and planning have finally come to fruition, and it’s time for you to move to a retirement community. With so many independent living options to choose from, it can be challenging to determine the best option. Once you’ve decided which retirement community you’ll call home, it can feel overwhelming preparing for the big day. Below, you’ll learn how to choose the best community and prepare for moving in once you’ve found the right one.

Decide on the Type of Retirement Community

There are several types of senior living options available. You’ve decided a senior living community is your best option, but now you have to decide which one is right for you. Older adults will find their options include apartments, single homes, or retirement homes. These are different from assisted living communities or skilled nursing facilities, which are meant for older adults who require some level of medical care and assistance with activities of daily living.

Many older adults find retirement apartments their best option because they combine independent living with professional assistance (like lawn care and housekeeping) at a more affordable cost than single homes. Communities featuring single homes offer the independence of apartment communities but at a much higher price tag. Retirement homes may be a good choice for older adults who are single, but this option doesn’t provide much privacy or space.

Research Relevant Retirement Communities

Once you’ve decided on the type of living space you want, you can begin researching relevant communities. Find a community within your budget and look online to see what residents say about their accommodations. The ideal community will be reliable, clean, and within your budget and will provide most or all of the amenities you want. Remember to check what the retirement community requires regarding age, health, or other considerations.

Decide What To Do With Your Family Home

If you own your own home, you’ll need to figure out what you’ll do with it once you move to a senior community. There are several options available.

One of the most common options is to sell your family home to help provide for your retirement planning. The money from your home can help you pay in advance for a certain amount of time in your chosen community. However, selling isn’t the only way to provide for both the monthly cost of retirement and your family home. You could consider renting the house to family members. If you’re sure the family member you rent to will pay reliably, this monthly income can help support your living expenses during retirement.

Discuss Finances

Many communities are affordable, but some may cost more than others. Prices can vary significantly based on your location, type of community, and more. Consider how you’ll pay for the entrance fees and monthly cost alongside any other bills you might have. A financial adviser can help look at your retirement funds and discuss ways to pay. You can also speak with accounting staff at the community you choose. Ask about additional fees and see if the neighborhood you choose is all-inclusive.

retirement community


The chances are high that you’ll need to downsize your belongings and lifestyle before moving into an apartment living community. The best way to do this is to give yourself plenty of time before your move-in date to go through each room of your home one at a time. You can get rid of anything you no longer need so your belongings will fit in your new living space. However, if you find you still have a few too many belongings, you could always consider renting a storage unit. For example, a storage unit can be used for holiday decorations and sentimental items you aren’t quite ready to part with. If you rent a storage unit, make sure you include these fees in your costs moving forward. At Riddle Village, every apartment comes with a storage cage for additional space.

There are a few options for what to do with items you don’t want when downsizing. These include:

  • Donating gently used items to a local charity
  • Throwing away anything that’s no longer usable
  • Giving items to family members or friends
  • Having a yard sale or estate sale

Hire Moving Help

You can make the moving process more manageable and ensure a smooth transition by hiring moving help. You can choose to hire a professional moving service or ask your family for help. Consider seeing if whoever you hire to help can also assist with furniture placement, packing, and unpacking. Furniture is heavy and can be a struggle for older adults to move around their new living space. Many residents find having help for packing and unpacking is also in their best interests.

Give Yourself Time To Settle Into Your New Home

If you’ve lived in your old home for an extended period, you likely have a lot of emotional ties there and may be feeling overwhelmed initially. Even though you’ve decided a retirement home is your best option, settling into your new surroundings can take some time. Give yourself that time to adjust, and don’t be too hard on yourself. Some residents find that staying busy is most helpful. You might consider attending community events, having meals with new friends in the dining room, or exploring local attractions. However, it’s okay if you find it more comfortable to stay in your new living space and spend time alone. The best advice is to do what makes you most comfortable during this time.

More Information on Independent Living Communities

If you’d like more information on preparing for the best retirement community, you can check out our online resources. To learn more about Riddle Village specifically, call us at (610) 891-3700. You can also schedule a visit of our facilities online if preferred.