St. Anthony's Senior Living

How to Choose a Retirement Community

In Kansas City, choosing an Independent Living Retirement Community takes a lot of consideration.  It is a BIG decision! You’ve probably never chosen a retirement community before, so educating yourself on what to look for is crucial.

After more than 25 years working in retirement communities, I’ve found several critical factors that you need to consider when choosing where to live during your retirement years. I’d like to share those with you and help you make the choice that is right for you. 

Let me state the obvious first: price. You have to choose a retirement community that you can afford. Take into account any large entrance fee, which could get tied up for a long period of time before it is refunded. And consider your monthly income, savings, and assets cto determine how many years you would be able to live in the community. Ask the question: how much is your average rate increase per year? I’ve seen horrible situations where prospective residents moved into a community at a deeply discounted special, only to face one or two 8-10% rate increases within the first year! You know the saying…if it looks too good to be true, it probably is!

At St. Anthony’s Senior Living, we are pleased to offer a high-quality retirement living experience at a mid-range price. In fact, in partnership with the Catholic Diocese of Kansas City-St. Joseph, part of our commitment was to keep St. Anthony’s reasonably priced.

One of the most important parts of a retirement community is the dining experience. Does the dining room feel like a place you would want to sit and visit with your neighbors over pie and coffee? Do you feel rushed? What is the ambiance? Are you served by wait staff or by staff who fill multiple roles, such as caregiver or housekeeper? Is there an Executive Chef? Are menus reviewed by a dietitian? Food nourishes our bodies and provides energy, but the dining experience nourishes our souls. Visiting over a meal with friends and family is absolutely priceless!

Executive Chef, Earl Morgan, oversees the preparation and planning of our menu, which is then reviewed by our dietitian. St. Elizabeth’s Bistro provides 5-STAR dining served by dedicated wait staff.

Ask about transportation and parking. If you are still driving, do you have to pay extra for covered parking? If you have more than one car, is there a charge per parking space? What is the charge for transportation services? 

We include free underground parking at St. Anthony’s. Extreme weather conditions or not, our vehicles are temperate and dry! If you don’t want to drive yourself, we offer transportation services within a 10-mile radius for physicians’ appointments, as well as regularly scheduled trips for groceries and other shopping.

An important part of a retirement community is the amenities that are available. These can vary widely, so consider them carefully and verify what is included in your monthly service fee versus what is not. For example, if you are going to do your own laundry, why would you want it included in your monthly fee? Are the amenities that are available the ones that are important to you? When the weather is inclement or you don’t feel like going out, it’s important to understand what is going to be available for you at the community.

St. Anthony’s has a long list of amenities. Our resident priests celebrate Mass daily in the St. Anthony’s Chapel. Residents may schedule hair and/or nail appointments in the All Saints Salon and exercise in St. Thomas More Fitness Center. Residents can enjoy walking amidst the Visitation Gardens and enjoy Happy Hour in St. Peter’s Pub, check out a book from the library, or visit with our 24-hour Concierge. The possibilities are nearly endless!

Another important part of the retirement lifestyle is activities. Ask to see an activity calendar and take a careful look. Are there things that interest you? Are there things that would challenge you (lifelong learning helps with brain fitness!)? If your favorite activity isn’t on their calendar, what does the community do?

At St. Anthony’s we call our activities program “Life Enrichment” because we believe our programming will enrich your life! We incorporate the activities that our residents tell us they prefer. Watercolor class (taught by a resident priest), Cooking Club, daily exercise class, Sewing Club, and Bridge are just a few examples of the more than 40 activities we offer every week. 

Lastly, what is the retirement community’s commitment to you about aging in place? Some communities rush to move residents to a higher level of care because they don’t want to accommodate residents’ needs as they age. 

We are committed to keeping our residents healthy as long as possible. It is for this reason that we bring a wide variety of services that residents can call upon without ever leaving the building. Most communities have therapy (physical, occupational, and speech), but we went beyond that! We have a visiting physician & nurse practitioner, dentist, chiropractor, massage therapist, and psychologist. You are also welcome to bring in home health, private duty nursing, or hospice services. 

All of these factors can be summarized in one sentence: does it feel like you are in control of your own retirement in your own home?

Set the sales pitch aside, review the facts, read the contracts carefully, and if I can assist you in any way give me a call. I’m here to help you!

Find out more about St. Anthony’s Senior Living by viewing our lifestyle video at