How to Choose the Best Senior Living Community for You
You may already know you want to transition to senior living in the future. With many options both near and far, it can feel overwhelming to start the process of choosing one. The good news is, there are ways to narrow down and simplify this decision. Here’s a quick guide to get you started.
Factors to Consider:
Decide on a preferred location
Asking the right questions can help you realize whether you want to stay in the neighborhood or try a new area (or even a new state). Do you want to be close to family, social circles, and doctors? Is this a time to move to a more comfortable or health-accommodating climate? Location pros and cons can also include city area, walkability, distance from major roads, and the noise level of the surrounding area.
Account for care when you need it
This is a time to plan for possible changes to your health or physical condition in the future. Senior living communities that also provide assisted living, memory care, and access to nursing staff offer additional support as your needs change. And if you have a partner’s health needs to consider as well, this could mean extra peace of mind.
Consider your lifestyle
Your lifestyle may be quiet, active, or a mix of both, and the right senior living community will offer something for everyone. Many organize group outings ranging from shopping to evenings out, as well as events on campus for a variety of interests. Some communities also provide health programs like expert-led exercise classes and health guidance, allowing you to easily make your health a priority. And, if you have furry companions or want them in the future, you may also base your decision on whether the community is pet-friendly or not.
Plan out your budget
When considering the cost of a senior living community, it will help to write out the services included in it, like maintenance, linen services, cable, and utilities, that are separate payments for you now. Decide what monthly payment you can comfortably maintain, and which of your current bills will overlap or be absorbed into the new monthly rent. It can also help to ask yourself which of the included services are most important to you. For example, if your mobility has become a concern, removing maintenance and repairs from your list of responsibilities may be a priority.
Narrowing Down Your Options:
Ask for recommendations
The experiences of others can give us great information and insight. When asking for recommendations, it’s helpful to consider the source and compare how their lifestyle, preferences, and needs are similar or different from yours. And the more input you receive from others, the better, so don’t hesitate to seek out recommendations from people you don’t know directly, such as a friend of a friend. You can also connect with staff at the senior living communities you’re considering and ask them to connect you with their residents directly.
Explore, research, and visit at least three communities
It’s always a good idea to begin with a broad search and to get a better understanding of the range of senior living communities before narrowing down your options. Start by browsing each community’s website, which will give you basic information such as services offered, the company’s history and ownership, and sample prices.
After you’ve had a chance to research websites and narrow down your options to at least three communities, a great next step is to schedule a tour. An in-person community tour is the best way to get the lay of the land and get a sense of the community’s culture. But when health precautions may prevent being there in person, the next best thing may be a virtual tour, so ask the communities on your list about your options.
For your top choices, it’s also recommended to visit at least twice. First impressions are often influenced by nerves, outside opinions, and any events of that particular day. By visiting a second time, you’ve now got some familiarity with the community, which gives you the chance to relax and observe some things that are easy to miss the first time. Plus, a second visit can give you a chance to experience the community in a different way, whether that’s sitting down for a meal, walking with a resident, or joining in on a game night.
And, once you schedule an in-person or virtual tour, ask about ways to chat with current community residents. They’re great resources for finding out more about the long-term experience. Even better, when health precautions are lifted, ask about having dinner with the residents. This gives you a relaxed way to get a feel for the vibrancy of the community, chat with residents, and ask some questions. (It’s also a chance to sample the food!)
There’s a senior living community out there that’s perfect for you. Era Living is here to answer your questions and make you feel like you’re home. Contact us to schedule a tour with one of our eight communities today.