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Consider these eight key factors to find the retirement community that’s right for you

Fred and Janice Widders moved to Chapel Pointe from a dairy farm where the closest thing they had to neighbors walked on four legs and mooed. They now have a vastly different experience. “What I have loved here is being able to socialize,” Janice said.

From the very first time she walked through the doors (when her mother was a resident) Janice said “it just felt like home.”

If you don’t have a personal connection to a senior living community and haven’t experienced a “felt like home” moment, don’t panic. We want to help!

The daunting task of researching every senior living community may make it hard to determine where to start your research.

With numerous types of retirement communities - many of which serve seniors at a specific phase in their lives - you have abundant options. Continuing Care Retirement Communities (CCRCs) have grown in popularity among independent seniors because their strategic design allows them to meet residents’ social and health needs in the present and future.


As you tour various CCRCs, consider these eight key factors to find the retirement community that’s right for you:

  1. Consider the community culture that best suites you.

Every CCRC offers its own culture with unique values that impacts every aspect of daily life. Choose one where you feel comfortable, can be yourself, and share things in common with others. Some CCRCs cater to seniors with specific interests or religious affiliations.

  1. Narrow down your ideal location.

The location of senior living communities includes many facets. Think about your preference for an urban versus rural setting, proximity to friends and loved ones, and access to local amenities such as restaurants, churches, hospitals, grocery stores, and shopping.

  1. Evaluate the amenities, activities, and lifestyle.

CCRCs typically offer various dining, entertainment, and fitness options, as well as regularly scheduled social gatherings and activities. Ensure that your preferred organization offers facilities and support for the things you love to do most. Ask which amenities involve additional costs, such as dining and transportation. A high-quality community should also accommodate your dietary restrictions.

  1. Consider the nonprofit difference.

For-profit CCRCs may have flashy features, but when residents run out of money, they must leave. Nonprofits have values that run deep, impacting the culture, inspiring a healthy network of supporters, and ensuring that residents receive everything they need even if they outlive their assets.

  1. Explore staff and resident dynamics.

As you tour CCRCs, observe interactions between staff and residents. Do staff members behave in a kind, sincere, and professional manner? Ask if the organization offers professional development opportunities to engage staff and person-first training to ensure staff consider each resident’s personal preferences. Residents should appear relaxed, happy, and well-cared for. Ask yourself if you could envision a comfortable and content life in the campus environment.

  1. Plan for your investment and clarify the contract type(s).

Talk to a financial advisor to determine your budget for investing in your retirement lifestyle. CCRCs offer several types of contracts and a single CCRC may have multiple contract types from which to choose. A high-quality CCRC should be up-front about their rates and happy to answer any questions you may have.

  1. Find a floor plan that meets your needs.

How do you plan to use your new home? If you need a bedroom for visiting family or an office to work from home, choose a floorplan with an extra bedroom. If you want to entertain, consider if you want a large dining room or if a smaller apartment with access to a community room and catering would suit better. If you’re looking to downsize, ask if the organization offers free downsizing services.

  1. Reputation and awards.

Read online reviews about each CCRC. If you may need skilled (nursing) care in the future, review the community’s healthcare star rating by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. In addition, see if the organization has received any positive or negative attention from the media and whether it has received awards. 

Enjoy a Loving Way of Life with Chapel Pointe

At Chapel Pointe, we want you to choose the senior living community that’s right for you. Stress and uncertainty often accompany transitions, but we hope to help you experience a sense of peace about your move. We’re with you every step of the way!

Please contact us to talk to a team member or to set up a tour of Chapel Pointe.

About the Author


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  • The Alliance
  • LeadingAge PA
  • Best of Cumberland County 2022 Winner
  • Action Pact