Things to consider before selecting a Senior Living facility
Moving to a senior living community comes with many considerations. It’s a life change, potential expense, and can be instigated by health decline or emergency. When you consider the size and impact of this decision, it shouldn’t be taken lightly. After all, it’s where you or a loved one will be living.
The following questions help you navigate this choice, but ultimately the questions you ask should be your personal preference. Before touring communities, think about what an ideal day looks like for you or a loved one. What is important? Are there any health concerns? What details add value or complication to daily life?
The perfect fit for one could be the wrong fit for another so trusting reviews and recommendations is not a complete approach in the decision-making process. Experience communities for yourself, meet the staff and residents, and learn all the details you can. Use these experiences to answer the following questions — they will help make the right decision for you.
1) What is included in the cost?
This may seem like an obvious question to ask, but there is a large range of what may or may not be included based on the type of home you visit. We are an all-inclusive continuing care retirement community (CCRC). There are no hidden costs or surprise fees with our all-inclusive approach.
Our all-inclusive price includes rent, housekeeping, utilities, parking, a fitness center, community activities, and more.
2) What is the community able to treat?
As a CCRC, we offer four levels of living: independent living, assisted living, short-term rehab, and long-term care. So if you’re an independent living resident and have an unfortunate fall, you can receive the short-term rehab help you need that is a few steps from your front door. This also gives your family peace of mind in knowing you will be cared for — no matter what happens.
3) Who are the staff?
The staff makes up a significant part of the community. They are responsible for the treatment, care, and experience of your stay. Ask these questions: what are their qualifications? What is the retention rate of staff members? What is the staff to patient ratio? How much time do residents spend with the same staff daily? Is there anyone on staff focusing on safety and security?
4) What activities are offered?
This can make or break an experience for a resident. Some enjoy organized activities such as game nights or crafting. Others want to be sure there is space to host family and friends. It’s common for residents to desire a connection with the community outside of the home, as well as shuttles to grocery stores or nearby movie theatres, could also be an important consideration. Many communities offer workout classes, therapy-based activities, and outreach programs that involve every resident and staff member.
Quality of life must be considered and can often be brushed over in the search for a community that offers the best medical care, cost, or safety for its residents. But moving to a new home should also offer the opportunity to meet new people and enjoy daily experiences, and the right questions can point the way to a home that suits you.
5) What is the food like?
This is important for several reasons. First, is it included? If you are looking at continuing care retirement communities (CCRCs), different packages in the independent living care may not offer meal service. If it’s included, how many and how often are meals offered? It’s also important to note allergies, taste preference, and dietary needs for any health concerns you may have. If the kitchen on site is responsible for all meals, it’s important to know that you have options that not only suit your taste but also your dietary needs.
This is not an exhaustive list. There may be other considerations that could be deal breakers for you. Some could be:
- Are pets allowed?
- Can my family visit? Can they stay?
- What is the proximity to a hospital?
- Do you have different stages of living (Independent, assisted, or skilled nursing)?
- What is the male to female ratio?
- What is the view outside?
Only you know what is important to you. At the end of the day, your community choice must feel like home and also serve your needs. Use your five senses and your list of questions to get answers out of staff, residents, and family members of residents and then listen to the most important decision maker: your gut. If something doesn’t feel right, it probably isn’t. There is a large range of quality out there, and you have your own set of needs. Depending on your reason for the move, it may or may not be an exciting change. But it can be a positive one if you take the time and investigate what is important to you so you can find your right fit. After all, there’s no place like home.