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Lifestyle Choices

5 Tips for Exploring Senior Housing Options

Here are 5 Tips for
Exploring Your Senior Housing Options by Diane Masson, Regional Director of Marketing


1)      Find out how much debt is on the retirement community  Does it have a mortgage with interest payment every month?  NO ONE, ever asks this – yet it can make a BIG difference in how your monthly payments are increased year after year.  Some communities raise their rates 10% a year.

Freedom Village is very proud of the fact that no bank holds a mortgage against us.  This allows us to keep our monthly fees low.

2)      Do Vibrant People live there?  My Mom, did not want to live with a bunch of old people.  Ask to see the activity calendar.  Do they have live entertainment on a regular basis?  Is there a nice variety of excursions and resident trips?

Freedom Village residents have many choices every day to choose from.  Our swimming pool is open year-round. We have weekly putting tournaments, weekly socials, weekly live entertainment, a variety of exercise classes, a personal trainer in our health club with state-of-the-art exercise equipment, a variety of card games, weekly excursions to fun locations, weekly shopping adventures and so much more. 

3)      As people age they cook less – FOOD is important!  Try the food!  How many dining venues does the community offer?  Most places only have one or two, and dining can become boring for the residents.

Freedom Village has 4 dining venues: The Freedom Café is open for breakfast and lunch six days a week, our La Cheminée Dining Room is open for lunch and dinner six days a week and on Sunday it offers a fabulous brunch with omelets cooked to order.  The Bistro and Outdoor Garden Café both feature chefs preparing gourmet delights live in front of residents and guests. Our award-winning Executive Chef Hugo has created different menus for each restaurant!  He has won three gold medals and is considered one of the best chefs in Southern CA. 

4)      Longvity of Staff – Please ask!  I was talking with the Marketing Director at another local community recently and she said that for 2 ½ months, they had no Bookkeeper, no Activity Director, no Executive Director, no Vice President of Operations and no Regional Marketing Director.  I don’t know how they functioned to serve the residents…if you don’t ask – they won’t tell.

Here at Freedom Village, our executive director, Marianne Casino, has worked for the company for 26 years, our director of marketing, Judye Gayle – 20 years, our activity director Jan Snook, 26 years, our health services director, Rhonda Buller 20 years and the list goes on…we’ve had the same ownership since we opened Freedom Village and that provides stability for our residents too.

5)      The 5th Tip is asking if they have a Guarantee of Care – let me give you a personal example.  I, the Regional Marketing Director, was looking for a place for my mom. I did not know the difference between a month-to-month rental and one of those buy-in places.  My mom just wanted to find a great place with vibrant people.  Fast forward – my mom has lived at a retirement community for 14 years and the last five years has been in Assisted Living.  My mom ran out her resources to pay the full monthly payment a couple of years ago and could not make the monthly payment.  If she had chosen a month-to-month rental senior housing community – they would have kicked her out.

Unbelievably, she still lives in that Seattle Continuing Care Retirement Community today.  They have never asked anyone to leave because of financial reasons.  Freedom Village offers that same guarantee of care for life, if you outlive your resources.  Does everyone do this?  No!! 

So those are the 5 Tips!


  1. Ask how much debt is on the community.
  2. Make sure it is fun and vibrant community – ask  for an activity calendar?
  3. Try the food, make sure there is lots of variety on the menu and multiple restaurants?
  4. How long have the majority of staff worked there?
  5. Do they offer a guarantee of care for the rest of your life?