Deciding where to live during retirement is a major life milestone that should be approached with the utmost care and consideration.

When you’re unsure what your next step should be, there are several individuals who can support you during the decision-making process to ensure you end up in a living situation that keeps you happy and comfortable for years to come.

When to Use a Senior Living Referral Agent

When you’re not confident which senior living option is right for your family and need to find something soon, a senior living referral agent can be your greatest ally. This individual is knowledgeable about all available living options – from independent living to assisted living and continuing care retirement communities (CCRCs) – and can break them down by pricing, size, community living style, medical support, etc.

Referral agents are a lifeboat for families in crisis mode, prepared to help simplify the search process, consult on the various options, contact communities on your behalf and coordinate the move to take some leg work out of the senior living search process.

In other words, senior living referral agents act as your partner in the search for living options, streamlining the process so that your family can find a new living situation that suits your specific needs. Tip: Oftentimes, senior living referral agents will offer their services for free, which is an added bonus for families in tight financial situations.

When to Consult a Geriatric Care Manager

A geriatric care manager is a great option for families who want to plan for their retirement years. Geriatric care managers can help pinpoint communities based on medical needs, lifestyle preferences, etc.

Furthermore, geriatric care managers have specific training relevant to older adults and their families and can help you navigate health care and social services that may be complicated and difficult to coordinate. Tip: Keep in mind that some geriatric care managers charge an hourly fee for their consulting services, so be sure to ask about pricing before starting your search for senior living options.

When to Search on Your Own

Searching on your own is the best option for tech-savvy individuals who want complete control over the senior living search process. Online, on websites like Seniorly.com, you can filter search results for things like location, pricing, living style, resident capacity, languages, cultural preferences and more. This is likely the best option for adult children of aging parents who are taking charge of the senior living search process for their family.

If you’re familiar with senior housing types and have a good idea of what you’re looking for, searching on your own can be a rewarding experience. However, keep in mind that someone with inside knowledge of the industry will be able to streamline the process and facilitate conversations between your family and the communities you are interested in.

Whether you decide to use a senior living referral agent, a geriatric care manager, or just search on your own for senior living options is up to you. There is no “correct” answer. The choice depends entirely on what works best for you and your loved ones during this important life transition.

Where would you ideally like to live in retirement? Have you considered living in an assisted living community? Who, if anyone, is helping you make your decision? Please join the conversation.

Jacqueline Hatch is the Content Manager at Seniorly.com, a company that provides free resources for families in need of senior care services. Her goal is to produce educational articles that help families navigate the complicated world of aging options. She does this through managing the Seniorly Resource Center, where families can search for relevant articles based on topics and keywords.

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