After nearly 30 years in the senior living industry, I’ve seen hundreds of people looking to find the right community. Adult children hoping to move their parents closer. Widows seeking friendship amid grief. Couples looking to build a new life after retirement. Whatever brings you to look at a senior living community, there are a few things you need to think about during the process.
How to Choose the Right Senior Living Community
This is an exciting time of your life, which is why you want to make sure that you’re committing to a community that is the right fit for you. Here are some factors you should consider when choosing a senior living community:
Before looking at a community itself, look at the surrounding areas. This will be your new home, so you want your existing life to fit. Is there easy access to your local bank, church, and grocery store? Can you maintain your everyday routines? If you’re moving closer to family or just looking for a change of scenery, make a list of these places you’ll need and make sure they’re close.
Continuum of Care
A Continuing Care Retirement Community (CCRC) offers more than one area of living and care, such as independent living, assisted living, memory care, and nursing. Some people choose stand-alone communities that may offer only one of these living or care areas, but having all of them available provides incredible peace of mind. Plan now to make your life easier should additional care needs arise.
What is the staff like? Are they friendly? How much interaction do they have with residents? Some staffs see the community as an employer, and others see it as a family. Decide which best fits your personality and desired lifestyle.
Whether you’re a person of faith or not, decide if you want your community to be faith-based. While faith-based communities don’t push their beliefs on residents, they offer more religious programming, such as prayer gatherings and chapel services.
How do the website, marketing materials, and staff members refer to the community? Do they call it an available “unit” or available “home”? A dining “hall” or dining “room”? These little nuances speak volumes about the community’s overall atmosphere and approach to life.
Questions to Ask when Choosing a Senior Living Community
There are a few questions that you’ll want to ask yourself when choosing a senior living community, such as:
- Can you join a resident for lunch, or attend an event in the community, before making a decision?
- What is the typical fee increase, and how often does it increase?
- Is there a full-time life-enrichment director on staff? What kinds of activities are available?
- What is the average age of residents in independent living?
- Are visitors welcome any time?
Knowing how to choose the right senior living community is very important. Be sure you visit the community more than once. Talk to the residents each time. They won’t be shy about sharing their opinions, and you can learn a lot about a community by talking to those who live there.
Facts to Consider when Choosing a Senior Living Community
There are some crucial facts to consider when choosing a senior living community, including:
- The type of community (CCRC, independent living, assisted living, memory care, etc.)
- The amenities that are available to you
- What is included in the monthly fee
- The level of care that is available
- How much the fee will increase over time
- The staff-to-resident ratio
- How much interaction the staff has with residents
- What kind of activities are available
- The age range of residents in the community
- Visitor policies
If you use this guide to know how to choose the right senior living community for you and your lifestyle, I guarantee you’ll be changed for the better. You’ll find a renewed sense of purpose, a more positive outlook, and more fun than ever imagined. And, if you’re like most, you’ll wish you’d done it sooner.
Dida Horton serves as the Senior Director of Marketing and Sales for Buckner Retirement Services. She’s been with Buckner since 2002.
To learn more about our senior living community at Buckner Retirement Services, call us at 214.227.7182.