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Find the right fit

Where do you start your senior living community search?

Once you’ve decided to make the move to a senior living setting, where do you start? Every community has its own culture, amenities, opportunities, and services. You’ll want to consider location, finances, and professional expertise. Check any reviews about communities and ask friends for their comments. Visit as many communities as you need to until one feels right.

These 12 tips from the Americans Senior Housing Association can help you get started:

  1. Know What You Need. Make an objective list of necessary services and support, both current and anticipated. Maintaining independence, getting help with bathing and dressing, managing medication, maximizing safety – knowing upfront what’s needed can help define budget and choice.
  2. Establish a Budget. How much can you spend on senior living each month? Many homeowner expenses will be included in monthly fees – meals, utilities, and taxes, for example. As you’re planning, be mindful of other resources that can help, such as long-term care insurance or the Aid & Attendance benefit for veterans and their surviving spouses. Don’t overlook any resources that can help.
  3. Determine a Location. The real estate mantra – location, location, location – applies. Is it meaningful to stay close to the current neighborhood? Is proximity to a major medical center most important? Is the location vital for the sake of adult children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren? Which location is “it”?
  4. List Desires. Your must-have list should include whatever is non-negotiable in making this move – a community that accepts pets or offers a comprehensive wellness program, for instance. Create a “wish list” with everything hoped for, such as an on-site guest suite for visitors, a fitness center, or an in-house branch of a favorite bank.
  5. Visit Websites. A community’s website should describe services and amenities, the continuum of care available, and life enrichment programs. Some communities also provide general information about successful aging, caregiver support, and senior living. Make a list of the communities you’d like to know more about – or visit.
  6. Read Online Reviews.  Check,, and other sites for reviews by residents and families concerning the communities you’re interested in.
  7. Don’t Forget About Facebook. Check out the community’s Facebook page. Read the comments. Look at the photos. See what you can learn about lifestyle, residents, activities, programs – even the quality of dining.
  8. Ask Around. Anyone who’s been through the process – for themselves or on behalf of a loved one – may offer helpful insights. Talk to a trusted family physician, clergy member, friends, family, and colleagues. You may discover ideas you haven’t thought about and information you need to know.
  9. Make Preliminary Contact. Shorten a long list of potential communities by phoning or emailing. Prepare questions based on needs, desires, and budget. Figure out which communities will be important to visit in person.
  10. Go Visit. An in-person visit pays huge dividends. Watch for: How residents and staff interact. The mood of the community. Are residents actively engaged, sitting quietly, or out of sight? Do you see handrails, grab bars, and emergency call systems for safety? Is it clean and up to date? Are you greeted promptly and with friendliness? Most of all, see if a place feels like it could be home. Ask questions, take notes, and consider bringing along a friend or relative so you can compare notes.
  11. Review and Revisit.  Schedule a new round of visits to your top prospects. Return to each community at a different time than your last visit – even consider visiting evenings and weekends. See what it’s like when senior management isn’t on site.
  12. Consult an Attorney. Mistakes here can be expensive, both financially and emotionally. Retirement community contracts can be long and complicated. So make sure you understand the ins and outs before you sign anything. Get a professional on your side.
It’s All About You

Take a tour or join a class.

Wherever you choose to live should feel like home to you. As you visit different senior communities, think about what makes you smile most: Do people seem friendly and engaged? Is the atmosphere lively and comfortable? Modern and clean? While it’s essential to have the amenities and services you require, it’s just as important to feel like you fit in. After all, you won’t be living among strangers for long. In a positive setting, new neighbors become friends who feel like family.

When residents and associates care about one another, a community thrives. Personal and professional relationships create mutual trust and compassion. Each person feels empowered to pursue interests, discover new passions, and continue to grow. Consistency is spiced up with spontaneity. So a painting class might erupt into a dance party, or a book club meeting could become a group outing. And whether you’re highly sociable or cherish your solitude, everyone at every level of care should feel accepted and appreciated.

At Watermark Retirement Communities®, our founders David Freshwater and David Barnes envisioned enhanced senior living more than 35 years ago. We live by these words every day: 

We believe in the power of the human spirit. We believe every person — no matter where they come from, how they look, what they believe, who they love, what they can do, or how old they are — deserves a life filled with purpose, possibility, and joy.

We hope you find a senior community that feeds your soul and encourages you to live life to the fullest. 


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Questions? Interested in a tour? Want to attend one of our events? 

Fill in the form, or call us at 585-381-0680 to learn more.