Where Do I Start Looking For Retirement Living For My Mom?

(This article is written with a simple question about looking for your mom, but it can be used for information concerning any family member or friend who needs assistance with research for retirement living.) 

The most crucial step is to involve your mother in the decision-making process. Open and candid conversations are so meaningful to ease any fears that control is in someone else’s hands. Openness is very important whether you are just assisting your mom with research or she is incapable of research and decision-making. Start by asking your mom about her preferences, concerns, and fears about moving and downsizing. 

So often, there is a great deal of anxiety about this big life step, but the goal is safety, support, socialization, and a new chapter in life! Have fun on the journey!

Where to start?


Embarking on the search for retirement living options for a loved one can feel overwhelming, but breaking it down into manageable steps can help make the process smoother. Here’s a guide to help you get started:

Assess Your Mother’s Needs: Begin by evaluating your mother’s current and anticipated future needs. Consider factors such as her health condition, mobility, social preferences, and any specific care requirements she may have.

So often, people wait until there is an emergency that requires a move. Ideally, these conversations and the resulting research happen early.

Marjorie moved to McCrite Plaza after two years of investigation. Soon after she was widowed, she started looking for the right place. She and her two daughters decided it was time to make a change. They all knew her large home was no longer suitable. The maintenance, landscaping, and keeping up with taxes and insurance were too much. They decided to divide and conquer, and both girls took part in looking for the perfect retirement space. As it turned out, after a process of elimination, they toured McCrite Plaza together, and all three fell in love with the community, staff, and other residents.”

Research Different Types of Retirement Communities

Familiarize yourself with the various types of retirement facilities available, such as Independent Living, Assisted Living, Memory Care, and Continuing Care Retirement Communities (CCRCs). Each offers different levels of care and amenities to meet the diverse needs of residents.

Inquire with your mother’s physician about what might be appropriate. Visit with friends and others who have already been through the process. There is no need to pay for a higher level of care if it is not appropriate.

Also, it is vital to consider the possibility of moving more than once. A CCRC’s advantage is that all levels of care are available on the same campus. 

Determine Your Budget


Establish a budget based on your financial resources and your mother’s ability to contribute. Consider factors such as monthly fees, entrance fees (if applicable), and any potential costs for additional care services.

So many adult children assume that Medicare or Social Security will pay for a retirement Community. With very few exceptions, those sources do not pay. If your mom has long-term care insurance, it is critical to determine the criteria necessary to activate the policy. 

Finances will be the number one issue in determining what choices are. It is essential to set a budget before starting the process. 

The sale of the current home may greatly influence that budget. Getting a realtor involved is essential. 

Make a List of Preferences

Create a list of preferences and priorities for your mother’s retirement living arrangements. This might include location preferences, desired amenities (e.g., dining options, recreational activities), and specific care services she may require.

Harriet wanted to stay in her hometown, where she was familiar with the community and had close friends, doctors, and church family. Her kids thought she should move across the country to be close to them. It was a hard choice to make. But in this case, the decision was made to find the best retirement community in her hometown. McCrite Plaza was the community she had been visiting for years, and several of her friends lived there. She felt at home. The kids who lived in California were very mobile and had moved several times already. Harriet did not want to follow them in their advancing careers. They did come to visit her frequently. McCrite Plaza became her comfort zone, where she could read the daily newspaper and learn about what was happening in her city.”

Visit Retirement Communities


Research potential retirement communities online and narrow your list based on your preferences and budget. If possible, schedule visits to tour the communities in person to get a feel for the environment, meet staff members and ask questions.

During your visits, ask detailed questions about each community’s services, amenities, care options, staff qualifications, and policies—request information about pricing, contracts, and any additional fees.

This can be a lot of fun. Set lunch dates at the various communities. Your mom will enjoy the adventure; having you with her will be very helpful. Help her meet as many residents as possible. Help her engage in conversations to learn the ins and outs of the community. 

Location, location, location!

Consider the location of each retirement community in relation to essential factors such as proximity to family, healthcare providers, shopping centers, and recreational activities. Consider the climate and overall atmosphere of the area as well.

Your mom’s choice is really important in this area. It is not only essential to have a suitable amount of apartment space, but the community’s location is most critical. Is there outdoor space to enjoy? What is the scenery like? Are there nearby shopping areas and grocery stores? Is the community walkable? 

Review Contracts Carefully


If you’re considering a community that requires a contract or entrance fee, carefully review all documents with legal counsel or a financial advisor to ensure you understand the terms and obligations involved.

Ask for a blank contract that you can take with you to study.

Seek Feedback and References

Ask for references from current residents and their families, as well as from healthcare professionals or social workers familiar with the communities you’re considering. Hearing about others’ experiences can provide valuable insights.

Trust Your Instincts


If you feel pressure to make a decision or think the salespeople are too pushy, it’s a good sign that you’re not in the right place. Ultimately, trust your instincts when making a decision. Choose a retirement community where you feel confident that your mother will receive the care and support she needs and where she can thrive and enjoy a fulfilling lifestyle.

If your mom is smiling and engaged in a community, be sure to take note. Please pay attention to her comfort level. It is a stressful time, so trusting your gut feelings may guide you best. 

We invite you to come for a tour and investigate McCrite Plaza. Ask all of your questions. We promise you and your mom that there will be no pressure or high-powered sales pitch. We want you to make your home at McCrite Plaza!

Call McCrite Plaza in Briarcliff-Kansas City at (816) 888-7930 or (785) 267-2960 in Topeka to schedule a tour today, or complete the contact form below.

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