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Seniors reveal what they look for in retirement living

April 29, 2014

There are a number of reasons seniors choose to become part of a retirement community. But when it comes to finding the perfect senior living home, there are several factors that affect one's decision to move. The AARP recently released its Public Policy Institute report, which looks at the trends affecting senior living and surveys older adults about their preferences.

Study examines what seniors want
The PPI polled a number of adults over the age of 50 and caregivers from across the U.S. and determined which rising trends were most likely to affect their choice when deciding where to retire. According to the organization, the livability report is especially important for caregivers, as they are likely to provide guidance for seniors looking to choose the proper senior living home.

"We took a special look at caregivers, because it is such an important group for the future of communities," explained Rodney Harrell, the lead author of the study, in the AARP blog. "As boomers age and the population gets older, many more people will find themselves in caregiver situations. So we wanted to see if they had particular needs around the community."

Seniors care about location, community, resources
The results revealed that while a number of factors affected seniors' decisions, the two most influential were safety and schools. Respondents ranked police presence as the No. 1 most important factor for the surrounding community, while good schools, walkability, transportation and parks were all in the top five. Additionally, seniors noted that proximity to certain resources, including bus stops, grocery stores, pharmacies and hospitals, was equally important. 

One of the greatest factors affecting livability was how close the senior living home was to the communities with which aging adults were already familiar. While older adults were open to moving to new homes, they wanted to remain close to the surroundings they were already used to.

When assessing different senior living options, older adults have a number of factors to consider, including proximity to family, nearby resources and amenities offered by the community. Prior to selecting their new homes, seniors and caregivers should compile a similar list, assessing which factors are most likely to affect their decisions. Choosing a home that promotes a healthy lifestyle for seniors may be the top consideration for some, while those that provide memory care may rank higher for others.