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The Ultimate Guide to Choosing the Right Senior Living Community

by Era Inventions

When it comes to senior living communities, choosing a place that feels like home takes time. Just as when choosing a college, you should take multiple tours and schedule visits to make sure your loved one is happy in their new home.

Assisted living communities are ideal for seniors who want to live independently but also have the safety net of medical professionals nearby. Download our free guide to learn how to broach the topic with your loved ones and tips for deciding on a community.

Take a Tour

The process can feel overwhelming whether you’re looking for senior living for yourself or your loved one. You can get started by searching lists of communities in your area or asking for referrals from friends and family members.

The best way to see life in a community is to take an in-person tour. Visiting a community will allow you to experience it firsthand, evaluating if residents appear happy and engaged if apartments are clean and comfortable, and if the monthly costs are within your budget.

During your visit, you’ll want to ask lots of questions. Consider preparing a list beforehand to help you remember your critical queries. Here are the top five questions to ask during your tour.

Meet the Staff

While print brochures, virtual tours, and online resources are helpful tools to narrow down your search, there’s nothing quite like seeing a senior living community like Westminster Oaks in person. Try to visit at different times, such as during meals or group activities, to see how the staff interacts with residents.

A caring, friendly staff is essential to resident satisfaction. Look for a manageable staff-to-resident ratio so that employees can spend time interacting with each other and the residents in their care.

Look for a warm, inviting environment where neighbors wave to one another and save seats at the dining room table. It’s the connections made between people that truly make life meaningful. A sense of connection can also reduce stress and depression in older adults, which has been linked to improved health.

Ask Questions

In addition to your general preferences, it’s essential to ask questions to determine whether a senior living community will offer you what you need in the future. Will the community accommodate your active lifestyle and medical needs? Will it help you avoid asking your adult children for caregiving support in the future?

Is there space to park a vehicle on-site? Does the community provide transportation to and from medical appointments?

Does the community host regular events to encourage socialization? What programs are offered, such as cooking classes or lectures on history and culture?

It’s always helpful to talk to residents during your tour. They can give you firsthand insights into the quality of life in the community and will often be more than happy to answer your questions.

Do Your Research

Whether you’re searching online or calling communities, make sure you’re doing your research. Checking reviews is a great place to start, but remember that online comments can be exaggerated in either direction (positive or negative).

You may also ask for recommendations from friends or family members with senior living experience. They can share their personal experience, tips, and advice with you. You can also ask for community-specific information, like what services they offer and the cost of those services. Then, you can narrow your search. It’s a good idea to visit a few communities to see which feels most like home. You can even stay for a meal or event to get a feel for the culture of the community.

Make the Decision

It’s important to remember that choosing a senior living community is just like buying any other real estate. It’s a big decision that should be carefully considered and compared to other options.

One significant consideration is location. Finding a place close to family, friends, hospitals, and doctors is essential. This makes visiting easier for loved ones and provides greater convenience when getting around town.

Another thing to consider is whether or not a senior living community offers the level of care you need as your health needs change. You might require assistance with daily activities or need memory care services in the future. A continuing care retirement community, also known as a life plan community, allows you to transition into more care-intensive settings, such as assisted living and memory care, while living independently in the exact location.

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