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Looking Past Bad Press to Find the Perfect Retirement Village

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Recently, the media has focused some negative attention on retirement villages. The good news is that according to industry surveys, 98 percent of residents indicate that they would still choose to live in a retirement village if they had to go back and make the decisions again. It's also important to remember that not all villages are the same.

If you've been following some of the recent media coverage, you may be wondering how to tell a great retirement village from a subpar one. Here are some tips to help as you embark on your next adventure:

1. Read Reviews

Marketing is designed to be compelling, and when you're reviewing different retirement villages, you should read their brochures and marketing materials. However, you should also do independent research and look into reviews. Check out forums where residents and their families may have posted thoughts on various retirement villages.

2. Talk With Residents

After you've honed in on a few options, go visit those retirement villages. Take a look through the homes available and the grounds, but more importantly, stop and talk with residents. Try to come during a group meal or attend a group activity. Many retirement villages offer games, entertainment, social groups and similar types of events. Talking with residents can help you get a sense of what to expect.

3. Look for a Simplified Contract

One of the complaints lobbed against some in the industry is that the contracts are too complicated. Consider looking for a facility that has a simplified contract. Ideally, you should have a solicitor look at any contract before you sign it, but it should also be simple enough that you can understand it on your own.

4. Ask About Extra Fees

Some services bear extra fees. To be on the safe side financially, ask to see a list of all the fees. That way, you can anticipate what your costs are going to be based on your unique needs. Also, consider finding a retirement village that offers fewer fees for services but instead just takes a percentage of the home's sale price when you move out. That can be easier to plan for.

5. Talk About Safety and Emergency Services

Finally, talk with each facility about safety and emergency services. Retirement villages are designed to foster independent living, but as part of that, you need to know that you can hit an alarm or use an intercom to easily call emergency services if needed.