We all envision our retirement years in our own unique ways, but one part that remains consistent is – no matter how you plan to spend your time – you want to be happy! This seems like a no brainer, but not all retirement communities are created equally.

Ask yourself these important questions during your search for a retirement community to ensure that the one you ultimately choose is best-suited for your lifestyle and needs!

1. What amenities am I looking for?

When you’re considering making the move to a retirement community, make a list of all of the amenities that are of top importance to you. From activities and hobbies to wellness-focused amenities, campus features and conveniences, dining, medical facilities and more, you want to ensure that all of your day-to-day needs will not only be met once you move to a retirement community, but that you have plenty of ways to enjoy yourself, too!

Are you concerned your medical needs may change over time? On-campus clinics, rehabilitation services, and assisted living options might be at the top of your list. Have an artistic side? Look for a retirement community with opportunities for art classes, regular concerts and other creative activities. Enjoy being a social butterfly? See if the retirement community that you’re looking at has an active social events calendar! From staying physically active to enjoying great food, the list of of amenities that are important to you will help you narrow down your selection of retirement communities and is a great place to start.

2. Will I enjoy the dining services?

Speaking of enjoying great food, whether you have gourmet taste buds or simply want to make sure you won’t have to eat the same thing every day, it’s important to take a look at the dining services available at each retirement community that you’re considering. Many retirement communities are expanding upon the typical model of a group dining experience to offer several venues and dining options at which residents may eat.

See what types of dining options are available at the retirement communities on your list, and don’t be afraid to ask to take a look at their menus! From picky-eaters to seniors who want to ensure there are healthy options for their dietary needs, the top retirement communities are taking many factors into consideration when planning out their dining options and menus. Prefer to prepare your own food? Make sure that the living options that you’re able to choose from at the retirement community include full kitchens complete with all of the appliances and space you need to whip up a great meal!

3. How will I remain independent after I move here?

Ensuring that you will be able to retain your independence is a top concern for many seniors when thinking about making the move to a retirement community. If you require some assistance with daily tasks, choosing an assisted living facility that will help you maintain your independence and privacy for longer, while still receiving the services you need to stay healthy and safe. If you are interested in making the move with a partner, but you and your partner have different needs, check to see if the retirement community you’re researching offers the ability for couples to only pay for the services they need (i.e. if one partner needs assisted living or memory care services but the other doesn’t). This will enable you to continue living together without encountering unnecessary costs.

Even if you don’t currently require assistance to help you maintain your independence, and are looking at independent living options, it’s important to choose a retirement community that offers a full continuum of care. With this model of care, if your needs change you won’t have to leave the community to get the assistance you need. Another way retirement communities help seniors 55 years and up maintain their independence is by offering con