Older adults have multiple options for housing as they age, with each option featuring a lifestyle focused on wellness and relationships. For many active seniors searching for fewer household chores and more opportunities for social connection, independent living communities are a desirable option. In fact, according to the National Council for Aging Care, independent living communities are now a top choice for seniors throughout the country.
If you or your loved one are considering independent living, it can feel overwhelming to begin your search for the ideal community. However, if you take time to plan, know what to look for during a tour, and follow up appropriately, you will find the independent living community best suited for your needs.
Planning for your Retirement Living Selection
When beginning your quest to find an independent living community, first narrow down your choices. It is not feasible or reasonable to consider every independent living community in your town to schedule a tour. Instead, take time to research and find your top 2 to 5 choices.
Begin by eliminating independent living communities that are not in your desired neighborhood or location. Perhaps you want to stay in a certain area of the city that you have always loved, or maybe you are moving to a new side of town to be closer to your family members. In any case, it is important to find an independent living community that suits your location needs. If you can’t find any communities in your desired radius, find ones that are near public transportation that can get you to your favorite destinations quickly and safely.
Era Living features independent living communities throughout the Seattle area. We know each neighborhood has its own character and we designed our senior communities to reflect those personalities. You can choose to explore a new neighborhood near family or stay close to the part of the area you have called home for the past 20 years. We want to help you find an Era Living community that feels like home to you.
Once you have identified communities in your desired neighborhood, you can begin researching more about the communities via their websites, reputable review sites, or by simply calling the community and scheduling a tour. Search for photos of the apartments and shared spaces, as well as for lists of amenities that you would enjoy.
Armed with your list of independent living communities that meet your location needs and offer a desirable reputation online, you can begin to make appointments for community tours.
Observations During the Tour
Touring an independent living community can be educational and fun. You can view apartments and speak to a community representative about your questions. While touring the community, jot down your observations and answers to important questions.
Observations to Make
Walking through the community can be your peek into your new life. Are residents chatting in the hallways? Are staff members friendly and helpful to the seniors who live there? Do the residents seem happy, lively, and healthy? These are all excellent observations that can point you to an independent living community that meets your needs and expectations.
Also, look at the cleanliness of the community, including any apartments you view. While unexpected housekeeping emergencies can pop up anywhere, you will be able to tell if there are persistent problems.
Finally, check to see if shared spaces like dining rooms, libraries, or activity rooms are being used and enjoyed. If it feels like the community is empty while you are there, it could indicate a less than engaged environment.
Questions to Ask
During your time at the community, don’t be nervous to ask questions that pertain to your specific challenges, concerns, or needs. The independent living community representative is there to help. Consider asking a few of these questions while at each community:
- Can I bring my pet?
If you have a pet, you likely want to bring him along when you move! At Era Living, we offer pet-friendly accommodations and welcome them to the community.
- What happens if I need more help in the future?
Independent living communities do not offer assistance with activities of daily living (such as dressing, showering, etc.). However, you may have additional needs as you grow older. At Era Living, flexible licensing may offer you the chance to remain in your independent living apartment while receiving assistance with certain tasks.
- Can my family visit?
Entertaining is an important part of your life at an independent living community. Be sure your family members are welcome during visiting hours and see if there are large spaces you can reserve for any events that outgrow your apartment.
- What are your wellness services?
Staying healthy is important as you age, and independent living communities often offer wellness services like on-site physician visits or health lectures. At Era Living, we take wellness seriously, partnering with the University of Washington to bring our residents additional services ranging from medication consultations to support groups.
- May I have a copy of your activity calendar?
Social activities, as well as events that foster new learning and physical health, are crucial to healthy aging. Check out the community’s activity calendar and look for diverse offerings daily, as well as for trips into the greater community. If you don’t see activities that you may enjoy, don’t worry – ask if there is a Resident Council you could join to offer suggestions.
After you take some time with the independent living community representative to gain answers to your questions, you can think about your final decisions.
Follow Up Appropriately
One tour or phone call may not be enough for you to feel confident about your choice. That’s okay! You can follow up with the communities to ask additional questions. At Era Living, we welcome potential residents to join us for a meal or an activity. This way, you can truly taste and experience what you would have access to on a daily basis.
Are you ready to discover more about Era Living and explore our independent living solutions for active seniors just like you? Contact us today to begin your journey to becoming a happy and healthy Era Living resident. We look forward to serving you and showing you all we have to offer.