When you’re searching for senior living communities, you’ll find many options, and it can seem overwhelming. Start by taking a close look at your wants and needs, or those of your loved one, to help you choose a community that feels like the right fit.
Here are some steps to help you navigate the process.
Identify Senior Living Preferences
Health and personal care needs, as well as budget, will play into the selection process. But people are unique and there are other aspects of everyday life to consider.
Here are a few things to think through:
- Atmosphere: What type of community culture would be right for you or your loved one? What is most important to her?
- Environment: What kind of environment will make your loved one feel most at home?
- Location: How important is it to stay close to family or have your loved one nearby? How important is proximity to shopping, medical services or cultural centers?
- Health: What care services do you or your loved one need today and anticipate needing in the future?
- Amenities: Does the community have a garden, spiritual care services, or other services that are important to you or your family?
- Activities: What kind of activities does the community offer and how well do they align with your or your loved one’s interests?
- Reputation: How important is it that the community/ownership has great credibility/reputation? Is the managing company or ownership financially stable? How well is the community run?
- Cost: Can you or your loved one afford this community? Is financial assistance needed?
Additional tips: Stop in at unscheduled times to see what is happening during off-hours. How are the residents being treated? Do they seem happy? Ask for testimonials, and research any community you are considering.
This guide can help you start thinking about your own preferences or start the conversation with a loved one.
Understand Care Needs
Wellness services are some of the important features of a senior living community, and they can vary widely between communities. Identify what health or care assistance you or your loved one needs today and might need going forward. Then understand how well the senior living community is able to meet those needs.
The different levels of care include:
- Assisted living offers support with daily activities while giving community members a high level of independence. Assisted living communities offer different levels of care. Some serve as a short-term solution, others as a permanent home. Some communities offer both services, so it is important to understand what type of care a community provides.
- Skilled nursing services provide 24-hour skilled care for both long-term and short-term stays for people who require rehabilitative care after an injury or illness.
- Memory care offers a safe and supportive environment for seniors living with dementia or Alzheimer’s disease. Residents receive assistance with daily tasks along with specialized programming to help those with memory challenges stay engaged.
- A Continuing Care Retirement Community (CCRC) provides a comprehensive range of services. With all of the care settings on one campus, residents can remain part of the community even as their care needs change.
Visit an Assisted Living Community
One of the best ways to identify the right senior living option is by visiting the communities. This is your opportunity to get a feel for each community’s unique culture and atmosphere.
Here are some questions to keep in mind on your visit:
- Do the residents seem to be receiving the care and services they need?
- Is the staff warm and accommodating?
- Does the community seem clean and safe?
- Does the lifestyle of the community fit you or your loved one?
When you visit a community, bring a list of detailed questions for the staff and current residents. You can find some suggestions on this handy checklist.
Once you decide on a community, learn how to take the next step with our moving guide.