Top Financial Questions to Ask When Choosing a Retirement Community

Mar 1, 2022
choosing a retirement community

When choosing a retirement community, it is essential that older adults ask financial questions to avoid surprises down the road. Knowing all the costs upfront can help compare different communities on a level playing field so seniors and their families can make the right choice the first time. Although the costs go up as the level of care needed increases, knowing everything in advance is key to ensuring a safe, healthy, and happy retirement.

Is housing rented or purchased?

Different senior living communities offer different types of housing from stand-alone condominiums, villas, or cottages, to apartments with one or two bedrooms. For those moving into active or independent living, a separate home may be preferred because it offers all the benefits of a home with the added convenience of the senior community. This choice, however, does come with all of the typical costs of buying a home such as home inspection, titles and closing costs.

For those who prefer a smaller home, however, moving to a senior living apartment will be the best option because of the very close proximity to amenities and services. Most senior living apartments are rented by the month so residents know exactly what their annual housing costs will be. Before choosing a senior living community, take a look at the housing options available at Ganton’s Countryside.

Is there an endowment fee when choosing a retirement community?

Choosing a senior living community can also be complicated by fees that are charged at move-in. Sometimes called endowment fees, entrance fees or move-in fees, these may be small or very large. According to the blog, “The Cost of Living in a Retirement Community” these fees can range from a few thousand to many hundreds of thousands of dollars depending upon what type of community it is. Also notable is that these fees may or may not be refundable so seniors should read the contract carefully. Unlike many, Ganton’s Senior Living does not charge any endowment fees.

Is there a fee for a second occupant?

When choosing a retirement community as a couple, be sure to ask about additional costs for a second person. When couples share an independent living home or apartment these costs will generally be less than double the amount for one person. However, if the move is to assisted living or memory care they may be the same for both residents or greater for one or the other due to the level of care required. This may cause some older adult couples to believe it’s less costly to live at home, but the reality may surprise them. Find out more about comparing costs in our blog, “Comparing Costs of Assisted Living vs. Home Care.”

What typical monthly services are included?

Another cost factor to consider when choosing a retirement community is whether costs for services like utilities (water/sewer, electricity, and natural gas), cable TV, internet, housekeeping, maintenance, and linen service are included. Again, every community is different, but independent residents of stand-alone homes can often expect to pay some or all of the costs for these services while those in apartments, whether it is independent or assisted living or memory care, will have fewer if any to pay on a monthly basis. When choosing a senior living community check our blog, “Top Questions to Ask When Considering an Independent Living Community,”

Are meals included or extra?

For many, choosing a senior living community has a lot to do with the quality and quantity of meals. This is especially true for those who no longer can or want to cook for themselves, but also for active seniors who want nutritious and delicious meals available when they desire. Many communities offer meal plans with regular meals served in their dining rooms, as well as ala carte options like a deli or cafe where residents can purchase a meal or snack, so everyone has options.

What amenities are included in the retirement community?

Older adults have so many amenities available to them when choosing a senior living community, but it’s important to know what is included and what costs extra. For example, the use of communal areas and services like game rooms, fitness facilities, and libraries are often included while costs for using convenient onsite hair salons and barbershops are extra. Also included are plenty of activities and events designed for older adults to enjoy exercise, entertainment, and social time with friends.

At Ganton’s we also simplify life for our residents by providing the following services onsite:

  • Skilled nursing and rehabilitation
  • Pharmacy
  • Hearing Services
  • Visiting physicians and podiatrists
  • Mobile x-ray
  • Variety of worship services


To find out what to expect from the best in senior living in our blog, “Top Qualities of the Best Retirement Communities in Michigan.”

Ganton’s Countryside offers the full range of senior living options from independent and assisted living to memory care, respite care and skilled nursing all on one safe and secure campus. For more information about Countryside, please call Margaret Nagel at (517) 206-5000 or download our brochure to learn about our care levels, cost, and amenities.

assisted living near me

Subscribe to our blog.

Recent Posts

Michigan Senior Living: The Complete Guide for 2022

Ready to find your forever home in Michigan? You’re in luck! Few states come close to the natural beauty, affordability and high quality of life found in Pure Michigan. No matter what type of retirement community you’re looking for, you can find it here — if you know...

What the Best Michigan Memory Care Residences Have to Offer

For seniors with Alzheimer’s and dementia, memory loss can be jarring, lonely and even anger-inducing. They may be unable to remember basic facts, like what year it is, their location or a loved one’s name, all of which can contribute to feelings of a lost identity....

Top Qualities of the Best Retirement Communities in Michigan

Entering your golden years can be an exhilarating adventure, or it can be a stressful, uncertain transition. For most people, the difference comes down to whether or not they feel secure and supported in their new phase of life. Finding a retirement community that...

Assisted Living in Michigan: Everything You Need to Know

What happens when seniors can no longer live comfortably at home? Some people think that being unable to live alone means that a senior should enter nursing care, but that’s not necessarily true. The reality is that there are several living options in between total...

Memory Care Services in Jackson, MI.

Does your loved one struggle with serious memory loss? Losing memory and other cognitive functions is scary — it can feel like losing yourself. People who suffer from dementia and related conditions can become withdrawn and isolated, depressed or even angry. These...

Your Options for Assisted Living in Jackson, MI

How do you want to age? It’s a simple question, but an important one. Everyone who is lucky enough to live a long life will interact with old age, and preparing for that reality can make the aging process easier. By 2030, all baby boomers will be 65 or older. As the...

Comparing Costs of Assisted Living vs. Home Care

When envisioning retirement, seniors may plan to travel the world, spend more time with family and friends, or take up a new hobby to fill their days. But they don’t always plan for the cost of care should they need it. From just a little help with housekeeping to...

Senior Living in Jackson, MI: Guide for Seniors and Adult Children

The opportunity to grow older is a gift. It means more time to spend with the people you love, doing the activities you enjoy. There are a lot of misconceptions about getting older, especially when it comes to quality of life. Although ageist stereotypes may lead you...

Independent Living in Jackson, MI

Everyone ages, but no one ages in exactly the same way. Whereas some older people experience mobility issues and cognitive decline, others stay sprightly and mentally sharp their entire lives. That means that two seniors who are exactly the same age can have...

Share This