retirement community

Choosing a Retirement Community

Our clients at Phelps LaClair, a 2nd generation estate planning law firm serving Chandler, Mesa, Phoenix and Scottsdale, have spent their lives putting together estates to leave to their heirs. As the autumn of their years approaches, they want to know the advantages of moving into a senior living arrangement. If you are approaching retirement age, chances are you, too, have been considering how you want to spend your “golden years.” What are some of the main factors involved in choosing a retirement living community?

Independent vs. Assisted living

Independent living is for those seniors who don’t require skilled nursing and who don’t suffer from memory loss. In assisted living communities, medical needs are fulfilled for those who need help with daily living activities. Even though both communities may offer similar amenities such as dining services and exercise facilities, active seniors usually do not choose to live in an assisted living community unless their spouse requires it.

The wider community

The surrounding community needs to be taken into consideration. Some retirees want to stay connected with their familiar places; others want a change of scenery. Do you want to be active in cultural pursuits, or do you desire a more secluded environment? What religious services and entertainments are available? If you are living in an assisted community, you will be much more restricted in choices. For those who want independent living, life will be more like normal. In either situation, it helps to know that the retirement village is a valued part of a wider community.


Moving to a retirement community should make it easier to enjoy hobbies and personal pursuits. Many communities offer art and exercise classes, movie nights, music, gardening and cultural adventures. Taking up a new hobby will bring satisfaction as you learn new skills and develop new friendships

Exercise is vital to maintaining good health and a balanced lifestyle. Many communities will offer yoga and tai chi, weight training for seniors, dance classes and more. Most will provide swimming facilities and walking paths. Some will have tennis courts and others may have a golf course. You can choose by interest and the level of activity you desire.


This area is what distinguishes higher levels of retirement communities. Hair salons, art and sewing rooms, craft and woodworking facilities will all be found in the highest (and most expensive) places. Catered or fine dining rooms with a reputable on-staff chef are also found in high level retirement villages. Gardens and arboretums will mark this level as well. Housekeeping, laundry and concierge services will set the best apart from the rest.

Family and pets

Many retirement communities encourage, or at least don’t prohibit, small pets. They have found the wellness aspect of pets to be a valuable part of living. The same goes for family. When kids or grandkids come for a visit, make sure that your community will allow them to stay longer than just overnight!

Choosing a retirement living community is a process of deciding your goals and priorities. Like estate planning, there is no such thing as “one size fits all.” Phelps LaClair has been helping folks like you for over 40 years, designing estate plans that protect your assets and provide for a smooth transition of wealth from one generation to the next. We welcome your questions about your estate and your plans for retirement, including the possibility of needing long-term care. Give us a call and let us help make your dreams come true.



Images used under creative commons license (Commerical Use) 12 23 19  Photo by FilterGrade on Unsplash

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