Just to summarize where I am, and what I and readers have shared, on the plusses and minuses of retirement communities as we age:
Know what’s important to you going in, so you can look beneath the surface amenities and see if what you seek is really there.
If you outsource your future care to some corporation or non-profit in the retirement community biz, understand the risks, financial and otherwise. Use the services of an elder care attorney and/or an accountant to help you be clear eyed about what you are getting into.
High end or low end, retirement communities pretty much pay their workers about the same, and they draw on the same pool of people willing to do that kind of work. Most of these places seem to be under-staffed and under-resourced. That’s not where they are putting their money. What attracts affluent and active aging people isn’t the thought of well paid staff. It’s granite counter tops, salt water pools, and a full menu of interesting activities plus good food in the dining room. That means that whether you seek out a high end facility or one in a more modest range, when you really need care, you’re going to be dependent on the kindness of strangers — and rather low paid ones at that.
Look on such a move as an adventure. Everything, at the end of the day, pretty much is.