4 Questions to Ask When Considering Retirement Communities


There are more options for luxurious retirement living today than ever before, which can make the search overwhelming and leave you wondering which community is really the best fit for you. We hope to ease your pain through the process by providing a simple guide with the top four questions designed to narrow down your community living options and evaluate them against one another.

To make the process smoother yet, consider including a friend or family member on your journey so you have more than one perspective while you evaluate. Also, it’s a great idea to meet with your financial advisor or estate planner ahead of time to find out what you can afford. Finally, try to start the narrowing-down process with the information available to you from websites and word of mouth so you’re only interviewing and touring a few places (2-5 is ideal, depending on your timelines and schedule).

What are my priorities in life?

There are no two retirement communities exactly the same and no one community that’s the best fit for every individual or couple who’s looking. Even though we think we’re pretty great, we’re the first to tell potential clients that we aren’t the best fit when it sounds like they know what they want and we know we can’t offer it.

The first question to consider is what are your own priorities at this stage in your life? What led you to consider retirement living in the first place and what would a community need to offer in order to support fulfillment of your goals? We’ve heard lots of different priorities, and all are good:

  • To live hassle-free without worry about home and lawn maintenance and upkeep
  • To seek adventure and keep working on that bucket list
  • To build a network of friends and enjoy a social life
  • To save money and work on my legacy when it comes to finances
  • To achieve optimal health and wellness

The list of responses are endless and all are great choices. So what are your priorities at this stage of your life?

Which amenities are available?

Now that you know what it is you’re looking to accomplish during retirement, you can learn more about the communities you’re evaluating by asking questions to find out whether they can support you in those priorities.

Amenities that you can expect almost anywhere include laundry service, light housekeeping, dining options, some activities, and access to a central gym. Amenities that you’ll find in the best communities might include:

  • a beauty and barber shop on-site for your convenience
  • transportation service to local businesses for appointments and shopping
  • spa services, like massage and nail care
  • physical and occupational therapy on-site
  • a pharmacy within the campus
  • expanded wellness options
  • meal options prepared by a gourmet chef with dine-in and take-out
  • recreational rooms with billiards
  • access to a wide range of opportunities for life enrichment
  • access to a full library, and more

Many communities strive to offer unique and rewarding amenities to provide a true retirement lifestyle to their community members, so don’t forget to closely evaluate amenities against your priorities to narrow down the list. Perhaps most important, never assume an amenity is standard; always ask the question.

What are my options for wellness and local healthcare?

Whether fitness is a priority to you or not, having a solid understanding of how a retirement community you’re considering can support your overall health and well-being is critical for decision-making.

Ask ahead of time about local primary care clinics, emergency rooms, and hospitals to find out how far from the community they are and how they’re rated by both patients and credentialing bodies. It’s important that local healthcare organizations are as reputable as the retirement community itself.

If you regularly see one or more specialists, find out whether you have access to the right specialties in the local community and again, whether they’re reputations are favorable. Make sure the options available locally accept your insurance.

Additionally, explore the wellness program. Is it a modest gym that you can access as you desire or do they offer wellness courses and exercise classes to help you in your journey? Which of these amenities are offered at no cost and which result in additional fees?

How much does it cost?

It’s always critically important to ask the team you’re working with, “How much will it cost to live here?” and then ask yourself, “Can I afford this?” before making a commitment.

Most retirement communities are set up similarly with a structure that requires a move-in payment and then monthly payments that stay somewhat consistent depending on the services you elect. Although the structures are the same, the monthly fees and what they include (and what will result in additional costs) varies significantly between communities, so request information about the cost of housing and services in writing during your tour. This will best allow you to compare options.

To conclude, asking the right questions can help you make the best decision the first time around and find a forever home that truly works for you forever.

Cambridge Village Apex Schedule a Tour


Cambridge Village of Wilmington is the area’s premier resort-style retirement community, offering the conveniences and amenities that you’d expect from a luxury independent retirement community. We take a holistic approach to health, treating the whole person and focusing on well­-being in every area: physical, intellectual, emotional, social, and spiritual. Ultimately, we offer a community that makes people feel at home and an environment they can thrive in.

Contact Cambridge Village of Wilmington at (910) 239­-9500 for more information or schedule a tour today.