How to Select A Senior Living Community

by Judy Baxter, Marketing Director • Westchester Village of Lenexa

The action of MOVING evokes a variety of thoughts and emotions. Some people view it as an adventure and look forward to the change, but others prefer routine and consistency and are reluctant to change. Some moves are cross country, across town, down the street; to an apartment, to a house or to a senior living community.

The reasons to consider moving to a senior living community are many. They can range from the desire to downsize, freedom from home maintenance and repairs, costs, health concerns, death of a spouse, proximity to family, safety/security, longing for friendship and community. I welcome the opportunity to meet with individuals as they begin to explore the idea of senior living. During our discussions, I ask, “What are your priorities in selecting a senior living community?” Often times that question is met with a puzzled look and a shrug of shoulders. Another perspective is “At the end of the day as you evaluate the several communities visited, what will be the points of comparison between the communities?”  These points of comparison then become your priorities.

While priorities will vary from person to person, here are some common points of consideration in selecting a senior living community.

  1. Is the community a Continuing Care Retirement Community (CCRC)? A continuing care retirement community offers independent living, assisted living, short-term rehab, and long-term care. When you begin to need more assistance you are able to relocate to the appropriate level of care without the need to find a different community. Moving to a CCRC gives you and your family the security of knowing that your needs will be cared for in the future regardless of what the future holds.
  2. Financial model. Communities have different financial models ranging from monthly rentals to entrance deposits (oftentimes hundreds of thousands of dollars) with monthly fees.
  3. Location of community/proximity to family. Oftentimes individuals desire to live closer to family, medical community, church, etc.
  4. Right-size. Sometimes referred to as downsizing, this is selecting a residence with the space an individual uses on a daily basis (i.e. bedroom, bathroom, living room, dining area, and den), not the 4-bedroom house for the extended family’s annual visit. There is always a guest room within the community or a nearby hotel for occasional guests.
  5. Sense of Community. Living alone can lead to social isolation and seclusion. A community provides an engaging environment with peers and an opportunity for friendship.

These are just a few points to consider when selecting a senior living community. Remember this is a personal decision, and there are many great choices to select from!

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