Selecting a new home is difficult enough – deciding to move from a home to a retirement community is an even more wrenching decision.

Yet it’s a decision more and more seniors – and their middle-aged children – are facing every year as medical advances help us live longer.

There is no one right or best way to go about making a decision of this magnitude, but there are some issues that – if addressed together, as a family – can help the senior and his or her children make a decision that is best for everyone.

Senior Living Alternatives, a nationwide directory of retirement community issues and options ( offers a checklist of questions and issues in determining whether a retirement community is the right choice. Review the checklist and use it as a beginning point of discussion in evaluating alternatives.

  • I want to remain independent.
  • I have concerns about my health.
  • Emergency medical help is important.
  • Housekeeping assistance would be helpful to me.
  • I would like assistance with home maintenance and repairs.

Finally, after each visit and after talking with staff and residents, sit down and write up a brief summary of your observations and feelings about the community.

Trying to put your thoughts into words will help focus your attention on the issues you will need to address in making such an important decision.