Here, there and everywhere. Retirement and assisted living communities, that is. How do you find the right one for your aging parent? According to Steve Wright of Wright Mature Market Services, here are the top three methods Boomers use to begin their search:
1. Referral sources--friends, professionals such as doctors, nurses, social workers and senior centers are all good places to start. Most cannot recommend one community. Instead, they refer. The difference is subtle. "Here's a list of communities you might visit," a social worker might tell you. If you ask, "Are there a few that your clients have had good luck with?" she may point you to her top two or three. Bingo! You've narrowed the field. Another source of information is your friends whose parents live in a community. Hopefully, they're happy with their choice and want to help you.
2. The Internet--Most Boomers do at least half of their search online, before even setting foot in a community, says Wright. They often search words such as "Medicaid," "affordable senior housing," "continuing care retirement community," etc. When I view a website, I look for a "taste" of community life. I pay close attention to testimonials, which are powerful in telling the community's story. I look for photos depicting seniors having fun.
3. Advertisements--this is a distant third. Direct mail pieces, invitations to events, strong signage, all can help you look around to check out the community further.
Can you think of other methods you've used to find the best retirement community for your aging parent?