Searching for a senior living community can be an overwhelming process. We understand it is a big decision, and not only that, there are so many options to choose from. How do you know where to start? How can you tell if you are asking the right questions? There is a lot of information out there, but it can be tricky to know where to begin.
That is why we’ve compiled a list of tips to help you start your research process. Knowing the right avenues to explore can help you narrow down your choices so you have a comprehensive list of options, rather than a sea of information. This guide will help you understand not only what options are out there, but what works best for you or your loved one, so you can begin to make informed decisions about your future.
Understand your care options
There are three main types of Senior Living options, each with their own level of care. Understanding the differences between these care services including what healthcare options, services, and amenities are associated with each one, can help you determine which type of care is best suited for you or your loved one. Different communities offer different levels of care, so determining ahead of time what care you may need will begin to narrow your search and give you a good starting off point.
Independent Living is best suited for older adults or active seniors who wish to live a maintenance-free lifestyle. If you no longer want to worry about home upkeep, laundry, constant cooking, or household chores, an Independent Living retirement community is a great place to start. These communities take care of all the home upkeep while you get to enjoy community events, socializing with peers, and a variety of amenities like fitness centers, full service dining rooms, clubhouses, salons, or games rooms.
Assisted Living also offers this same maintenance free lifestyle, but has the added benefit of offering care and caregiver led assistance. These assisted living services and wellness options can vary depending on the community, but can also be adjusted for each individual’s needs. This may include transportation services, mobility assistance, medication management, or assistance with bathing and grooming. If you want the peace of mind for yourself or a loved one knowing there are care staff on hand if and when you may need them, an Assisted Living community may be a good option to consider.
Memory Care, on the other hand, offers more specialized care. It is tailored to those with memory loss conditions such as Alzheimer’s disease or other forms of dementia. This type of senior care will also vary depending on the needs of the individual, but can include anything from specialized activities and enrichment programs, to assistance with the activities of daily living. These senior communities are almost always gated or secured in some way for the security of residents who may disassociate from their surroundings, to prevent wandering.
Narrow your location search
Whether you are looking to move to a sunnier climate, want to relocate close to family members, or are simply trying to stay near your current neighborhood, narrowing down your preferred location or locations can help you focus your search. If you are searching online, try adding a city name, neighborhood or zip code to your search. Communities can vary greatly depending on the neighborhood, so deciding if you want to be close to a big city, or are searching for a quiet and charming escape can also help you be more specific in your search.
Browse communities online
Deciding on a care level and location should help you start to generate a search list of senior housing locations to choose from. Once you start getting search results for communities that fit your needs, browse their websites! A good community website should include information on care, services and amenities, but also have visual aids like a photo gallery and floorplans, so you can get a feel for what the place looks like. This way, you can start to imagine yourself or your loved one there. If you like the look and sound of a community, then you can schedule a tour to visit while already having a feel for what the place will be like.
Follow your favorite communities on social media
Following social media accounts and getting to know a community on a more regular basis can show you a whole new side to a community. While websites tend to have informational resources like articles, price comparison sheets or floorplans, social platforms offer a window into life in the community. Check if the community you are interested in has a Facebook page or Instagram. A community with an active social life or activity program will post often on these platforms, and you will be able to see all the fun events that are going on in your new home. Alternatively, if social posts are rare, it may be a sign that activities and events are not a high priority in that community. You can also follow blogs like this one to learn more about what’s going on in the communities in detail, and read stories about a home that you are considering.
Check out community reviews
Reviews are a great way to know what other people really think. Whether they are from residents or loved ones of someone living in the community, reading reviews for a senior living facility you are interested in will let you hear from others about what makes the community great - or not so great. Reading reviews is a great way to get unbiased, honest information about a community and see if what other people are saying fits your needs, too!
Visit in Person
Last but not least, visit a community in person. Talking to residents, caregivers and team members is the best way to get to know a community. You can get a sense for the atmosphere and environment in a community, and also see the apartments, common spaces, and grounds for yourself. Schedule a tour at a community or attend an event to get a feel for somewhere you are considering. Making connections in person is the most personal way to get to know your potential new home.
Considering moving to a Senior Living community? If you have questions we have answers! Reach out to us, browse our informative blog, or follow us on social media to learn more about what makes our communities so special. Our friendly staff are always on hand to answer questions and help you along the journey to finding your new perfect home.