This past week, I had the pleasure of speaking to a group at Ventana by Buckner, a beautiful new continuing care retirement community (CCRC, also called a life plan community) in Dallas. It was a great opportunity to interact with prospective residents and help answer some of their questions on topics like financial hesitancy, for-profit versus not-for-profit communities, and lifestyle.

Prior to my presentation, I also had an opportunity to tour this two-year-old community, which prides itself on making senior living “feel like a vacation every day,” and I could see why. This elegant high-rise building has luxurious amenities like an art studio, movie theater, fine and casual dining venues (including a coffee and juice bar), a spa, and much more.

>> Related: CCRC Services and Amenities Include Many Attractive Perks

Choosing the senior living option that’s right for you

In my presentation, I talked about the importance of choosing the right retirement community to meet your goals and needs. I discussed the concept of the senior living planner, procrastinator, and crasher, a topic we recently blogged about.

Retirement planning isn’t just about finances, I noted. It should also be about planning for potential health events, your relationship with your loved ones, and your overall well-being. There is value in making an investment in yourself, after all — it is far less expensive to be well then it is to be sick, and a senior living community like a CCRC can help seniors stay healthy and active.

A key aspect of my talk at Ventana by Buckner was that a senior living decision can seem daunting at first, but with the proper insight and understanding of what is important to you, and education about the options that are available, it can make the decision look much more manageable.

>> Related: How Financial Confidence Impacts Your CCRC Decision Process

The importance of an educated consumer

To drive home this point, I like to share the story of Sy Syms. You might remember the SYMS clothing stores — you may have even shopped there! This store chain, located primarily in the New York/New Jersey area, sold quality, top-brand men’s clothing and suits but at a bargain “off-price” cost. Sy Syms debuted his stores’ catchphrase – “An educated consumer is our best customer — in 1974 in the chain’s first TV commercial.

Indeed, an educated consumer also is the senior living industry’s best customer. And this is the founding philosophy behind myLifeSite. Our goal is to help educate people on the various senior living choices that are available to them — options that include 55+ communities, CCRCs, rentals, or even remaining in their current home — and then helping them decide which is right for them. To help with this objective, our comprehensive retirement community search tool provides unbiased, community-specific data at no cost to consumers.

We also offer senior living communities a variety of shareable content, and consumer education and engagement tools that can help with many of the stumbling blocks to making a senior living decision:  financial hesitancy.

 >> Learn more about how our MoneyGauge financial affordability assessment can help CCRCs identify qualified prospects and broaden the sales funnel for your sales team (PDF).

An educated senior living decision

As I shared in my talk at Ventana by Buckner, at first glance, making a senior living decision might seem like jumping the Grand Canyon. But creating a plan for a future in which you can live your best life during retirement might be easier and more affordable than you think.

Once you get educated on your options, understand where you are financially with your retirement planning, and consider how you will handle potential age-related health events, making an informed senior living decision can look and feel like jumping a mere crack in the sidewalk!

When it comes to senior living choices, an educated consumer truly is the best customer.

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