The process of choosing a senior living community begins when you start to notice changes concerning a loved one. Maybe they no longer want the trouble of having to maintain a house. Or perhaps you find that they are often alone and in need of social interaction. This could also coincide with significant episodes concerning memory loss, driving ability, decreased mobility, or overall difficulty accomplishing menial tasks. Eventually, the conversation has to become directed towards a new path. It's time to decide whether or not it is time to consider a senior living facility for your loved one.
Even though they may still be independent, integrating into the right senior living facility can do wonders for the mental acuity and health of your loved one. Finding the right retirement community that can meet your loved ones needs is critical. In general, it is best to find a community that offers a wide range of care options. This way, as your loved one’s needs change, they will continue to receive the proper care needed. It's also wise to choose a location with a climate that they will be comfortable living in. You should also leverage the web to research and read reviews about all the available options.
Finding a Senior Living Community
The first step to take when searching for senior living communities is to think about your loved one's health needs and personal preferences. Some items to consider before you begin the process of searching:
- What kind of assistance will my loved one need? For example, if your loved one has dementia or Alzheimer's, what kind of memory care options are available?
- Where will my loved one want to live? In a warm or colder climate? Near family? Near shopping and retail? Near a golf course? Near a hospital?
- What kind of features do they need to function? Wheelchair access? Assistance showering?
- What is their budget? Prioritize everything from what is absolutely necessary to what is merely desired.
Once you have compiled a list of criteria and proper budget, you can begin searching online to find the right community near you. Some excellent resources beyond Google and simple word of mouth include:
Throughout this process, you should keep the focus on finding a community that will keep your loved one happy and healthy, both now and in the future
Evaluating Senior Living Communities
In this part of the process, you've successfully narrowed down your list of communities to a handful of top choices. Make sure that your loved one is extremely involved or leading the process to find their new home. Once you have a list, it can be helpful to tour their physical location(s) with your loved one (if possible). It can be helpful at this point to bring along pre-written questions, in case they do not cover everything during the tour. Some of the key aspects to have top of mind include the quality of the following factors:
Having a healthy balance of recreational activities is an important part of senior communities. That's because it promotes socialization and gives residents a purpose and chance to do something fun. The full list of activities available should cater to a wide variety of interests and physical abilities. But most importantly, it should contain activities that your loved one would enjoy, or would at least be interested in trying! This can include everything from outings, to church service, to community service, to sports. Make sure to go over the community's activity list with your loved one.
Does your loved one require specialists? If so, does your ideal senior living facility have staff clinically trained to administer that treatment? Or is the community located near medical professionals that are capable of doing so? Look for a retirement community that can provide care or detailed information about nearby medical providers. Likewise, check online reviews to make sure staff will treat your loved one the way they would want to be treated.
What type of weather is your loved one comfortable living in? Research the potential areas they are interested in and find out what the climate is like from season to season. Always visit the area and ask residents what they think of the weather, especially if they are transplants from another state. If they love warmth, they may like retirement homes in Florida, or if east coast winters are more their thing, check out senior living communities in Boston, MA. It's important to remember that this will be more than a short term commitment.
This is one of the most important aspects to consider when choosing a location. Affordable senior living facilities are not especially easy to find. That's why having budget top of mind is a priority when evaluating different options. Consider what your monthly bills will be, as well as any unexpected medical expenses could occur. There's also the reality of entrance fees, monthly maintenance, and any up charges that could accrue.
Questions to Ask While Touring
- Can we go over the contract details concerning regulations fees?
- How does billing work?
- Are pets allowed?
- Can residents come and go as they please?
- What restrictions do you place on residents?
- What activities and events do you encourage residents to participate in?
- Do you take Medicaid, Medicare, VA Aid, long-term care insurance or any other payment program?
While touring the facilities, keep an eye out for how whole the grounds are kept, how happy residents seem, and what the overall atmosphere is. Speak to residents and find out if they're satisfied with their current level of care and amenities. Look out for any red flags, and notice any positive signs. Check out our features on the signs to look for when evaluating quality of senior care:
- Excellent Behavioral Care
- Certification from the State
- Variety of Scheduled Activities and Functions
- Great Comfort and Care
- Wonderful Senior Community Friends
- Safety Features
- Noticeable Wear and Physical Signs of Stress
- Residents are Uncomfortable with or Avoid Questions
- Frantic or Apathetic and Uncaring Staff, High Turnover
- Hostility Between Staff and Residents
- Poor Customer Service
When embarking on the search to find a great senior living community, there are a great number of variables that should factor into you and your loved one's decision. This guide will provide you with a starting point and outline to follow for when you begin the journey to find a new home.
Landmark Senior Living Communities can save you from the hassle and emotional stress of searching for a great community. At Landmark, your loved one will be able to experience exceptional care and comfort delivered daily. We take care of our residents, and build strong relationships through our combined dedication to people, passion, and purpose.