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Five factors to consider when choosing a senior living community

Financially, emotionally, and from a practical perspective, choosing a senior living community is a big decision. It will impact your qualify of life, happiness, health, and wallet for years to come.

To help make the decision process a little easier and more manageable, we have simplified the sometimes-overwhelming list of deciding factors into five key areas you should evaluate.

Residences and Amenities

When looking at a senior living community, among the easier things to assess are the physical campus and the various amenities. Take more than one tour of a community’s residences, considering different floor plans and features as you decide what's important to you.  

Communities also offer many different amenities, from basic services to high-end conveniences. You will need to determine which are essential and which are just nice-to-haves.

Some amenities to look for may include: technology that helps residents stay safe, community gardens, walking trails, and manicured grounds, transportation services and planned excursions, multiple dining options like cafés and bistro-style settings; a fitness center, pool, golf course, and tennis or pickleball courts, concierge-style services and move-in coordinators. It's up to you to decide which amenities will make you feel at home.

Contract Details and Financial Impact

There are different types of contracts offered among continuing care retirement communities. Some communities may require an entrance fee for lower monthly payments, others may be strictly a rental, or there may be another option entirely.

It is critical that you have a thorough understanding of which contract is right for your particular situation. And because contracts aren’t apples-to-apples, comparing the cost of different communities can be challenging. It is crucial that you understand how this move will impact your personal finances in the long-term and whether you'll be able to afford living there for the long haul.

For these reasons, it may be good idea to consult a financial advisor or attorney who can break down your finances and explain the details of a contract.

Quality of Care

Many community offer attractive services and amenities for those living independently, but the main reason many people consider a continuing care retirement community like Emporia Presbyterian Manor is access to a continuum of care services. You want to be sure that the care services—both assisted living  as well as the health care area are up to your expectations. You want to be confident that you you'll have what you need if and when you require more assistance and care.

When touring a community, visit the healthcare center. Check out whether the facilities are clean and well-maintained, if the staff appears content, and observe how residents are care for.  If a community's healthcare are is Medicare-certified (as opposed to private pay only), you can check out their Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) rating online.

It may also be a good idea to get some first-hand reviews from residents themselves, if possible.


Senior living communities are a home to their residents, but they're also a business. Before you choose a community, you want to look into whether it's well-managed and in good financial standing.

The financial viability of the community (and its parent company) is important in order to ensure that it will be able to provide residents the quality of care and services they expect and have paid for into the future. Consider consulting with an accountant or financial professional who is experienced in reading financial documents to ensure you will be getting what you pay for.

It’s also wise to understand the leadership structure of the community; get a feel for the expertise and experience brought by members of the board, and ask if residents are involved in a leadership capacity.

Lifestyle and Wellness

The concept of “lifestyle” relates to the factors that will impact your daily living experience within the community. It makes up the answer to the question, “Will I be happy and comfortable living here?” The community you choose should foster your lifestyle preferences so that you can live the life you want to live.

“Lifestyle” is a highly individualized concept, so the priorities of one person may be different from another person’s, but important lifestyle-related considerations may include aspects such as lifelong learning opportunities, dining choices and meal plan flexibility, community involvement and volunteer opportunities, size and location of the community, and the general vitality of the residents who live there.

A recent study found residents of continuing care retirement communities are in happier and healthier than those who do not live in such a community. From fitness classes to continuing education to nutritious food offerings, a community's wellness programs should be designed to nurture residents’ minds, bodies, and spirits.

Many communities will allow you to stay on-site for a night or two to get a feel for what it’s like to live there and the lifestyle and wellness opportunities offered there. Or you may be able to attend some of their events and activities.

Streamlining your decision

There's no denying that moving to a senior living community is a big decision. However, as you explore various communities and consider different contract types, keep the six key factors above top of mind.

If you need help making your decision, we'd be happy to help guide you. Contact us online or call Andraya Taber at 620-343-2613 or by email at

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