Senior Care: Retirement Community Selection Tips

Making the move to any type of assisted living is tough. There are family members to consult, home selections to ponder, financial decisions to make, downsizing tasks to administer, logistics to navigate.

Senior Circle has identified below some of the questions you and your loved ones should consider before making the life-changing decision to move to a Continuing Care Retirement Community (CCRC).



Identify and review spectrum of Senior Care options available and associated pricing. 

Does the CCRC provide the flexibility to transition as your health situation changes. What are the levels of support available: Independent Living? Assisted Living? Nursing Care? Memory Care?

Identify projected monthly expenditures of preferred CCRC, how does this compare to current home expenses.  

As in-home care expenses increase there may be value in moving to a CCRC?  See Senior Circle for an expense analysis worksheet.

Does the facility require an up-front deposit?

What percentage is refundable if the resident passes away or moves to another facility?

Are you able to review financial summary to assure the facility will be around for the long term to avoid disruptions in housing and care?

Important measurements to review include debt, assets, cash, profit/loss margins

What services are included in the monthly fee?  What services require extra expenditures?

Examples include nurse visits, meals, snacks, transportation to medical appointments, administering daily medicine

What is the history of price changes/ projected pricing?

Quality Control

Are you able to review operation audit information?

·         State audit results

·         Health inspection results

·         Staffing ratios

Are there well-defined tools and procedures for the ongoing evaluation of resident wellness and identification of senior care adjustments, if needed?

What is the staff turnover rate at all levels of operation (management, staff, nursing care)?

Services and Amenities

·         Floor plans/options

·         Meal plans/dining venues/nutrition focus

·         Transportation accommodations

·         Health wellness focus and supporting programs

·         Social environment and programs to support. How are special occasions celebrated?

·         Religious/spiritual options available?

·         Salon, library, grounds, walking trails, indoor/outdoor sitting areas, coffee shop, lounge-What are included?

Additional Points for Review

·         Medicare certification

·         Clean and well-groomed residents

·         Proximity to the family or friend support network

·         Living space assessment (cleanliness, temperature control, adequate lighting, proper noise levels, comfortable common areas)

·         Apartments or rooms- How are personal belongings managed? 

·         Hallways, Stairs, Lounges.  Are areas clearly marked and safe? How many community areas are available?

·         What are practices in periodic facility updates (overall facilities or individual apartments, rooms).

·         The focus on safety and care of employees and residence? 

·         Positive relationship of staff with residents?  Staff able to participate in continuing education (CE)/ Professional Development? 

·         Pet policies


Senior Circle has analyzed and compiled a portfolio of the various Des Moines area retirement communities.  We can help you make the decision process easier-from choosing your new home, conducting financial assessments, downsizing and facilitating relocation. 

Please contact us if you have questions or if we can be of assistance.