How to Choose a Retirement Community – Getting Started

The thought of looking for a retirement community for yourself or a loved one can be very overwhelming.  Here are a few things to look for during your search.

First, decide what level of care you or your loved one is in need of — independent living, assisted living or skilled nursing. In independent living, the person(s) is looking to make their life a little easier. They want to give up the burden of home maintenance and would like to be in a safer and more secure environment where they can come and go as they please. They may also be looking for companionship and the opportunity for social interaction. If assistance with personal care like bathing, dressing, grooming and medication management is necessary, then assisted living is the more appropriate setting. Skilled nursing is for those who need 24-hour care.

A great source to help determine an appropriate level of care is the senior care assessment tool which can be accessed at LeadingAge WNY. By answering a series of questions, this tool can create a list of the best available options to suit the needs of the person.

Next, start doing your research.  Use the internet, look in other media sources and most importantly, talk to people. Someone you know may have done the same thing you are doing and have learned about some wonderful senior living options.

Now make your calls to the various communities to get information and ask questions. Learn what services they offer, their fee structure and also availability. Have in mind that you or your loved ones’ financial information, including monthly income and assets, will be considered. Ask to have information sent to you and, when you are ready, schedule a tour of those communities that will meet your needs the best. If you are looking for a loved one, it is best to narrow down the choices to two or three before taking them for a tour. Ask if you can have lunch at the community and, while you are there, talk to the residents and staff.  You can tell a lot about a community by how the residents and staff respond.

When you have all that information compiled, look at each community side-by-side to determine which is the best fit. Sometimes you may know this right when you walk through the door, it just feels like home.

The GreenFields Continuing Care Community is located on Broadway in Lancaster, offering independent living apartments at GreenField Manor and assisted living apartments at GreenField Court. The GreenField Health and Rehabilitation Center provides skilled nursing care, inpatient rehabilitation services and outpatient therapy. GreenField Terrace provides memory care and enhanced assisted living. To learn more about what The GreenFields has to offer, call the Senior Living Department at 716-684-8400.

Hear this topic as presented on WBEN radio.

The GreenFields resident



5959 Broadway
Lancaster, NY 14086

The Niagara Lutheran Health System does not discriminate in the admittance of residents or the hiring of employees relative to age, race, creed, color, national origin, sex, sexual orientation, sexual preference gender, gender identity, blindness, handicap, sponsor, marital status, or religion.

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