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Are meals optional in retirement communities?

I would like to find a 55+ communiity where meals are not included in the rent.
Status: Open    Dec 29, 2014 - 08:48 AM

Senior Living Communities

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Jan 01, 2015 - 10:18 AM

The inclusion of a meal plan or program is unique to every retirement community and will also be dependent on whether you are searching for a "55+ Retirement" or a "Independent Senior Living" community. Independent Senior Living, whether as an apartment or villa/cottage style community, will generally include one or more meals and will be geared toward seniors who wish to age in place. Most 55+ Retirement communities feature a physically active lifestyle and promote activites like golf and tennis and have a central gathering place for activity and may or may not provide meals.

My best advice for you is to begin with a list of amenities and services with two columns. Fill one column with things you would like to have included and the other with things you can do without. For instance, you do not want to have meals included as a part of your rent. After you have a list and an expectation of what you can afford, contact the 55+ and independent senior living communities to inquire. When you have a list of top candidates, don't hesitate to ask for a tour of the property so that you are fully informed before you make a final decision.

As a rule of thumb, meals that are bundled into the cost of the rent generally cannot be waived. However, you always retain the choice to attend meals or not. If you find a community that you prefer that does include meals that you won't attend, ask the property manager for a rent concession. Most properties have a policy in place and some will work on a case by cases basis for their residents. Depending on your unique need in searching for senior living options, you may find that having meals available is a truly beneficial amenitiy.

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