What to Look For In a Senior Living Community



Winter is just around the corner. And, you know what that entails . . . driveways to shovel, icy sidewalks, and temperatures so cold you don’t want to leave the house until the spring thaw. Perhaps you have been contemplating it, but now you are seriously considering making a move to a senior living community and think the timing might be right.

Choosing the perfect place to live can be an overwhelming process that seems daunting to most. If you are in the beginning stages of considering senior living for yourself or a family member, it undoubtedly seems like there is a mountain of information to consider.

Getting started.

Indeed, before making a decision, it is important to understand the variety of senior living options available. Some initial questions to consider are:

  • What is included in the monthly fees you will be paying?
  • What is the community’s commitment to your health and wellness?

The visit.

A visit is the perfect starting point to finding the right community for you. It is an opportunity to get a feel for the environment, learn about the living options provided, and meet residents and staff, who will help you set realistic expectations on what they believe makes their community the perfect fit. Be certain to research and visit multiple communities to see what is out there and best meets your needs and compare them.

What to ask?

We recommend taking time to sit with a representative from the community who can give you individualized responses. Be sure to talk with multiple staff members and residents to get a feel for the resident-staff relationship. And, above all else, don’t be shy from asking the tough questions and discuss issues such as:

  • What is the staff-to-resident ratio?
  • Can I afford this community?
  • Is additional health care assistance available if you need it or will you need to move to another community for assisted living, skilled nursing or memory care?
  • What are the long-term care services available?
  • Clearly communicate your care needs.
  • Ask to stay for a meal and find out about accommodations for dietary restrictions.
  • Describe a difficult situation you’ve faced and ask how the community would approach the same situation.

Quality of life.

While choosing a community, consider the factors that will allow you to thrive, enjoy your health and live your best life. Find a place that is committed to wellness, where residents can participate in a variety of activities that will help maintain their physical, cognitive and emotional well-being. Find a community that will provide an array of services and amenities within your budget. Line items to consider might include transportation to and from medical appointments, wellness centers with a pool and gym, housekeeping, utilities, and dining services that include chef-prepared meals. Of course, there are more, but at least this will get you thinking.

The perfect choice.

Everyone has their own unique care requirements. Make certain all of your needs will be met at the community you choose. Be sure you know the difference between levels of care, which include independent living, assisted living and memory care. Be ready to communicate your care needs and have specific questions on-hand. Write them down on a notepad so that you don’t forget anything. Lastly, relax and enjoy the process. Just think . . . you are one step closer to carefree, retirement living!

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