Group of seniors enjoying breakfast

What to Look for When Shopping for a Senior Living Community

According to the US Census Bureau, 56 million people over the age of 65 currently reside in the country. Many of these seniors are living happy, fulfilled lives while aging gracefully in place. Others need a little help with daily tasks. Most would prefer to become a part of a larger senior living community and the enjoyment this entails. If your loved one falls into one of the latter categories, it’s important to find a senior living facility that will ensure they enjoy their retirement to the fullest. Keep reading as we explore some tips and what to look for when shopping for a senior living community.

Preferred Levels of Care

Before you embark on your search for a senior living solution, you must figure out your loved one’s requirements, both now and in the future. Talk to them about their needs and wishes first, and enlist the assistance of their family doctor too if necessary.

Once you start searching, you’ll discover a huge range of retirement facility options available among the 30,000 residential care options in the USA. Try to narrow your search to the ones that offer exactly what you need.

These are the different communities you can expect to come across:

Independent Living Communities

These retirement facilities have many benefits to ensure your loved one enjoys a sense of independence for as long as possible.

Residents in these communities continue with their daily routines as they did before. Yet, they also enjoy the benefits of community living, like:

  • Dining facilities
  • Transportation
  • Laundry facilities
  • Maintenance
  • Cleaning services

Importantly, independent living communities have a 24-hour hotline should one of their residents require assistance and offer an ongoing program of interesting and enjoyable activities.

Assisted Living Communities

When your loved one resides within an assisted living community, they’ll receive assistance with daily tasks as needed, such as taking their medications, dressing, and bathing.

These communities provide private accommodations for residents as well as communal lounges, dining rooms, and patios. They offer daily activities like yoga, art, music, religious services, crafts, and more.

Memory Care

Memory care centers on providing those with dementia and Alzheimer’s disease with the best possible quality of life. They also offer ongoing treatment to maintain cognitive health for as long as possible.

These may include assessments and activities to help residents on a physical and emotional level.

Continuing Care Communities

Continuing care facilities offer flexible solutions to correspond with the needs of their communities. They provide facilities for independent residents, assisted living, full-time nursing, and memory care.

When you place your loved one in a continuing care community, you don’t need to move them to an unfamiliar setting as their needs increase. These communities offer flexible packages that cater to most retirees.

Affordability of Senior Care Facilities

It’s vital to choose a community you can afford to pay for long-term. Some communities require a large upfront deposit. Others offer the opportunity to purchase an apartment on their property or require monthly lease payments.

Be sure to inquire about any additional charges and what they entail. These may include housekeeping, meals, medication, entertainment, hairdressing services, and more.

It’s important to consider the costs associated with mandatory services like assistance with medications and personal care. Only then can you consider the nice-to-haves like yoga classes.

Some ways to pay for ongoing senior care include financing, pensions, long-term care insurance, and veteran’s benefits.

Senior Living Lifestyle and Culture

Your loved one’s happiness is the most important aspect to keep in mind when choosing a senior living community. Take care to look for amenities that ensure their ongoing spiritual, cultural, and lifestyle needs.

Ask questions like:

  • What activities does the community offer?
  • Are there suitable options for religious services?
  • What are the nearby choices for shopping and entertainment?
  • Does the facility offer assistance when taking part in activities?
  • Are pets allowed?
  • Are family visits encouraged?
  • Do they serve nutritious, appealing meals?

Looking at senior community websites can reveal answers to all of the above. Online reviews will give you a sense of how satisfied residents and their family members are, too.

Engage in Senior Living Community Tours

Personal experience is always the best option when deciding on a senior living community. Set up an appointment and be sure to invite your loved one along for the experience.

While you’re there, pay attention to the following:

  • Is the facility clean, fresh, and well-kept?
  • Is the staff welcoming?
  • Do the residents look happy and relaxed?
  • Are you satisfied with the living arrangements?
  • Are there interesting and engaging activities taking place?

If possible, join in one of the activities or enjoy a meal during your visit. This will give you a first-hand idea of the experiences on offer.

Ask any questions you think of while you’re there, and make notes about any shortfalls or benefits you notice during your visit. Most facilities can offer you a brochure outlining their services for you to browse through later.

Comparing Senior Living Communities

If you’ve involved your loved one in the decision-making process from the start, they might have a clear favorite already. Otherwise, compile a shortlist of the best ones and compare them side by side.

While you consider your research, be sure you’re comparing apples to apples. A more expensive facility might include some extras in the price.

These might be:

  • More intensive care options
  • Enhanced supervision
  • Specialized attention
  • Additional free activities

Always seek as much information as you can.

Final Considerations

If your loved one has friends who are residents in a particular senior living community, they’ll already have a fair idea of what’s on offer.

In this case, you should also chat with the family members of these acquaintances to discover if they’re happy with the senior living services provided.

We offer a comprehensive portfolio of excellent senior care options. Contact us to speak to one of our senior living consultants for help in your search for the perfect senior living community, or to book a tour of our facilities.