While inquisitiveness is a trait found in many members of the animal kingdom, human intelligence leads us to learn about the world, at least in part, by asking questions. And it starts at a young age. In fact, researchers in Britain have found that children ask a daily average of 73 questions. For those of you exploring various continuing care retirement communities (CCRCs, or life plan communities), you may feel like you have a similar number of questions each day!

Indeed, when considering a CCRC or other retirement community, it is understandable that you have a lot of topics about which you want answers. This is a big decision — one that will impact your finances, quality of life, and even your health in the years to come. You want to be sure you are choosing the community that best fits your budget, your lifestyle goals, and your current or future care needs. So I say: The more questions, the better!

But it can also feel overwhelming. Even after you’ve read all of the brochures and the fine print on the contract, you probably still have other issues you’re curious about. And what if there are important questions you aren’t thinking to ask?

>> Related: How Do I Know If I’ll Be Happy Living in This CCRC?

Questions and answers

I recently wrote about some of these less obvious CCRC questions, such as:

  • Is there outdoor lighting that will shine into my bedroom at night?
  • Is there ample parking for me, my visitors, and handicapped persons?
  • Are there any plans for future expansion that could have a negative effect on your residence?
  • Is the front desk and/or concierge desk regularly staffed and responsive?
  • Will I be eligible for my entry fee refund (if applicable) after permanently vacating my independent living residence or only after I have vacated the community entirely?
  • What are the written policies and procedures for various emergency situations?
  • Have there been complaints of sexual harassment or elder abuse by staff or other residents?

(Visit the full blog post, Why Didn’t I Think to Ask That?: The Less Obvious CCRC Questions, to see some key points about each of these questions.)

Introducing The Ultimate CCRC Checklist

I’m happy to share that the above questions were pulled from The Ultimate CCRC Checklist, our newest printable resource. This free download from myLifeSite includes these plus 80 other questions to guide you in your CCRC decision process.

To help you organize your thoughts and your conversations, the checklist is divided into 10 categories including:

  • Living Area
  • Common Areas/Grounds
  • Safety and Security
  • Healthcare Services and Accessibility
  • Residency and Care Contract
  • Entry Fee and Refund Details (if applicable)
  • Financial Viability
  • Policies and Protocols
  • Wellness and Preventative Health
  • Dining

This convenient checklist even includes space for you to compile your notes or jot down additional questions you may have.

>> Related: 8 Questions to Consider Before You Decide to Age in Place

More about The Ultimate CCRC Checklist

The questions provided in this checklist were compiled with input from prospective CCRC residents, current residents, and staff of communities across the country, as well as my own insights from staying at nearly 100 different retirement communities. While we can’t possibly provide every single question you should ask, I’m confident this checklist will give you a great head start!

We have intentionally left out questions that are rather obvious. For example, this guide won’t suggest that you ask about pet policies. If you own a pet, then naturally you’ll think to ask about this. Our goal is to help you consider the things that are less obvious, recognizing that we can’t possibly provide every important question you should ask.

Some of these questions may only require a quick yes or no. Others may require a deeper discussion with staff. And still others may be answered through observation. But the key thing to remember is, there are no silly questions, especially when it comes to your CCRC decision, so be sure to get yours answered!

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