Is It Time to Move from Your Retirement Is it Time To Move From Your Retirement Community?Community?

Moving into a retirement community is a big decision. Moving out of one can be even more of a challenge, after all the time and effort you put into selecting what you’d thought would be the right place to enjoy your retirement. In some cases, moving on can be the best choice. Here are a few questions to consider if you’re wondering whether it’s time to move from your retirement community.

Are your healthcare needs being met?

If your health has changed since you moved in, you may need to move. By law, facilities that aren’t licensed nursing homes can’t provide nursing help, so you’ll have to move to get that kind of care. If you’re driving to doctor appointments often enough to feel like a bona fide commuter, it’s probably time to move closer to your care providers.

In some cases, the community administrator will tell you directly that they can no longer meet your needs, but in other cases, such as frequent driving to the doctor, it’s your call to make.

Can you still afford your current community?

Virtually every senior living community allows for yearly cost-of-living rate increases in its contracts, but if rates are rising faster than you expected or if the economy has reduced your nest egg dramatically, it may be time to move. The key, of course, is finding a place that provides good quality care and has room for you. You might have to bide your time until a vacancy opens up. If you’re comfortable with a long-distance move, you might consider moving to a city or state with lower overall care costs, but be sure to factor in the cost to your social life and family ties if you relocate.

Are you happy with the way the community is run?

There will always be some staff turnover in senior communities, because caregiving is hard work. If your community has so much staff turnover that you don’t know the people who are there to help you, you may be more comfortable living somewhere with less frequent staff changes.

Sometimes it’s not the staffing situation but the rules that give residents second thoughts. It might be time to move if your community rules prevent you from doing things you enjoy. That might be hosting your grandchildren for overnight visits, keeping a pet, grilling on your patio, or (no kidding) having a conversation on your balcony after dark.

Are you bored or uncomfortable?

Boredom may sound like a petty complaint but it’s not. Boredom can lead to isolation and inactivity, which can cause your mental and physical well-being to decline. If your community’s social offerings and the local lifestyle don’t appeal, consider a change.

If you just don’t connect with the other residents in your community – for example, if everyone’s expected to participate in group activities and you’d rather not — it can cause hurt feelings and chronic stress. You may fare better in a retirement community with a different slate of activities or a different resident culture.

Whatever your reasons for considering a move, be sure to review our Guide to Senior Housing Options as you look for a new place that’s a better fit for you.

Casey Kelly-Barton is an Austin-based freelance writer whose childhood was made awesome by her grandmothers, great-grandmother, great-aunts and -uncles, and their friends.


  1. Edwin Norse June 23, 2016 Reply

    You are right on, on a lot of this stuff…..thanks

  2. Sy Fine June 23, 2016 Reply

    What are the alternative life styles to living in an assisted living community?
    Sy Fine

  3. j cullina June 25, 2016 Reply

    A very timely and well written piece. Kudos

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