Senior woman talking on the phone and using her laptop

How to Find the Right Retirement Community

It may be stating the obvious, but everyone is different. We have different likes and dislikes. Some people prefer the mountains, while others like the beach. Luckily, if you’re researching retirement communities, you know there are a lot of living options available. The only downside is with so many choices, searching for and finding the perfect type of community can leave you feeling overwhelmed. But we’re here to help. This blog post will show you how to find the right senior community for your lifestyle and even provide you with a retirement community checklist. That way, when you find it, you can stop searching and keep on enjoying life.

Narrowing Down Your Retirement Community Options

While you could just start by throwing a dart at the map, the steps below are more likely to help you hit the bullseye.

  • Ask a friend: This is a good place to start because you and your friends probably share similar interests. Their opinions and advice can help you home in one some choices right off the bat. You can also talk with your doctor, who may have some good recommendations based on the health services you may need in the future.
  • Figure out what you need: Take an honest inventory of where you are now and where you could be in the future. Senior living offers independent living, a maintenance-free lifestyle offering services and amenities. Plus, many communities also offer assisted living which is for those who need a little help with daily activities. There’s also memory care for people with dementia and skilled nursing for those who need round-the-clock care.
  • Decide what you can afford: It’s important to figure this out so you don’t fall in love with an option you can’t afford. However, communities do offer a range of floor plans and contract options, so they’ll probably have something to fit both your budget and lifestyle preferences.
  • Choose an ideal location: Where do you want to live? Do you want to stay in the community connections you’ve spent years making? If your family and friends have moved to another state, do you want to live close to them? Is there a part of the country that attracts you more because you feel you could live a more enjoyable lifestyle there?
  • Consider the weather: What do you prefer? The four seasons? Mild summers and winters? Warm to borderline hot weather almost all the time? Your retirement years give you the opportunity to live almost anywhere, so consider which type of climate you’d prefer.
  • Evaluate services and amenities: Does the community offer services (classes, clubs, housekeeping, dining, etc.) and have amenities (community gardens, dining options, art studio, etc.) that are important to you? If you have a hobby, could you start a club around that hobby?
  • Do your research: Once you know what you’re looking for, what you need and what you can afford, it’s time to start your search. Review community websites and read their online reviews. You might also see if they have a community Facebook page. That’s a great way to get a feel for the community’s residents and staff members. If a community seems like a fit, it’s a good time to call them and see if they fit in your budget.
  • Tour your top selections: Once you’ve narrowed down your choices, it’s time for community tours. Visiting a community is the best way to get a feel for their lifestyle, see their amenities, taste their food and meet your potential neighbors. At this point, the most important question you can ask is, “Can I see myself living here?”
  • Find out if there is a waitlist: If you’re looking to make a move soon, it’s important to know if a community has a waitlist or if you’ll be able to move in when you want to.

Senior Living Checklist

Here are some things to consider and questions to ask on your community visits:

  • Will this community meet my needs for today and tomorrow? What types of on-site care options do they offer?
  • Ask about the community’s finances and/or their ownership.
  • What is the community’s reputation?
  • Ask to talk with residents. Be sure to ask them what they like and dislike about the community.
  • Notice the interactions between community staff and residents. Is it friendly and respectful?
  • What services and amenities are covered by the monthly fee and which aren’t? How much are the ones that aren’t covered?
  • Ask to try the food.
  • What types of off-site activities are offered and is transportation provided?

What Residents Are Saying About Mary’s Woods

“Mary’s Woods is a true community, a caring one where we’re nurtured in every respect. While my husband and I didn’t really come here to make new friends, we’ve done just that. We’ve encountered a number of new lifelong learning opportunities too. Plus, we just love the beautiful, peaceful campus.”

— Carolyn Snow


“After looking at an even dozen retirement communities, Mary’s Woods easily rose to the top! After moving in, it quickly became very evident that the choice was the very best I could have made. From the beautifully landscaped campus and abundance of available activities, to the facilities and the various services, including dining that can easily compete with the very best, I’m convinced a better choice simply wouldn’t have been possible for me! But what makes it all work for me are the people — a friendly and happy service staff at all levels, and a delightfully spirited and welcoming group of fellow residents that makes it seem like I’m at home and in the midst of a warm and happy family. I love Mary’s Woods!”

— Paul Gulyas


With immediate occupancy available, right now is a great time to consider the independent living lifestyle at Mary’s Woods. To learn more or to schedule your personal visit, contact us here.