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8 vital questions when looking for a new home

Carefully compare the amenities and their costs, including menus and dining facilities, of each nursing home or assisted-living center you are considering.

Whether looking to rent an apartment, buy a new house or move to a retirement community or assisted-living facility, you should take into consideration security, mobility and social opportunities. Use the points below to help you make an informed choice when faced with a major move.

Apartment, house or retirement community

1. How does the landlord determine pricing? Check for the following:

— market rates that are in line with typical rentals without age restrictions

— added amenities for seniors without increased rates

— affordable rental rates for fixed-income occupants

2. What are the security features available? Check to see if:

— lobby and entryways are locked

— security alarms and surveillance features are installed

— whether security guards patrol the grounds or law enforcement keeps a close watch

3. Do accommodations cater to physical limitations? When previewing, look for:

— space designs that decrease accidents

— grab bars in the toilet area, tub or shower; lift accommodations

— downstairs units or dependable, easily accessed elevator service for upstairs units

Moving into an assisted-living facility

4. Are you looking for a faith-based facility focused on Christianity, Judaism or other religions? To find this type of facility, you should:

— consult with your current pastor, rabbi or faith leader for potential contacts

— check for houses of worship nearby

— find out what religious services are available in the facility you are considering

5. What amenities can you afford? Compare the following:

— costs related to meal plans, amenities and social activities

— costs tied to utilities and amenities

— nonprofit status or public-private partnerships that could reduce cost

6. What amenities and social features are offered? List what you would like to have and check off which ones each place offers for:

— wellness programs and activities

— clubhouse or activity facilities

— planned events (i.e. movies, tours, holidays)

Moving into a nursing home (skilled nursing facilities)

7. How do prices and affordability compare between each facility? When visiting possible nursing homes, be sure to ask about:

— Medicare options

— payment plans and flexibility

— private financial resources for monthly and long-term payments

8. What level of care is provided based on overall health and wellness? Health issues will largely determine what level of care you need in a facility. Make sure:

— level of care is based on your most recent physician or specialist diagnoses

— the facility provides specialized care for your needs

— the facility provides a checklist of special needs such as dressing, medications and general supervision

Start early in planning any move. Utilize online resources and surveys of potential facilities as you investigate places to live. You can research reports about facilities online or through state licensing agencies before setting up appointments to tour the ones that meet your criteria.

You should also take someone with you to help keep track of your comparisons. An objective observer can help you keep emotions at bay and make an informed and well-researched decision.

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