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Beyond Amenities: Choosing the Right Community For the Right Reasons

When you’re looking for the retirement community that’s right for you (or your loved one), where do you even start?

Chances are you might put the whole decision off for a while because making a big choice like this can be daunting. Fear not! Take it from us and follow these 6 tips to simplify your search.

Tip #1


Are you interested in a posh community with a million amenities that feels oh-so fancy? Own it! There’s no better time to go big or go home. You worked hard your whole life, so why not treat yourself? Or, is approachable and homey more your style? When you tour various communities, you'll get a distinct, sometimes tough-to-describe feel for them. Make sure the feel meets (or exceeds) your expectations…whatever they may be.

TIP #2


Independent Living, Assisted Living, nursing home, memory care...many communities offer a continuum of care—from independent living to skilled nursing and all the options in between. When choosing a community, think about whether or not having lots of care options is important to you. But remember that just because a certain facility has all levels of care on site, that doesn't necessarily mean they're the greatest quality of care. Consider whether convenience or quality of care is the most important to you and your family. And remember, you'll likely have to change apartments as you change levels of care, so there will still be a physical move involved, even if you're technically at the same facility.

TIP #3


Think about what’s important in terms of locale. Looking for something remote and quiet? Close to fun shops? A favorite park or trail? Right off the highway? Near your doctor? Near the family? The location should align with your needs. It can be easy to get hung up on familiarity, but consider how you will actually spend your time.

TIP #4


Depending on the kind of communities in your area, you may or may not have small, independently owned companies competing against corporate giants for your business. Think about the pros and cons of both. There might be rules, regulations or protocols with a corporate entity that are different from a smaller operation. Do decisions have to get approval from a distant corporate employee, or do the owners live down the street? There may also be differences in management turnover to think about. Keep this on your radar!

TIP #5


Take a moment to consider the things that bring you joy. Enjoying a delicious meal? Ask about the quality of food - or better yet, ask to try a meal. Making new friends, or staying fit and active? Ask about social opportunities and health and wellness programs - specifically, their variety, who leads them, and if they have a favorite of yours. Ask to see an activities calendar and a menu. Then, schedule a repeat visit during an activity you're interested in, so you can see it firsthand!

TIP #6


It’s important to dot your I’s, cross your T’s and make sure that the communities you’re considering have a good reputation, but trust that feeling in the pit of your stomach. Intuition is an important tool in combination with all the other homework you’re doing. If a place just feels like your new home, it can go a long way toward helping you make your decision.

In closing, remember that your new home is about more than the amenities that are included in the price. Take time to consider what you really want out of this next chapter - and then go out and get it.

For more information about Independent or Assisted Living at Melrose Meadows in Iowa City, call 319-341-7893 or email Marketing Manager Meghan Adam at

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