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Finding the Right Community

Finding the Right Senior Living Community For You

It’s good to have options – especially when it comes to choosing whom to trust with your family member’s care. Still, so many options can be daunting. How can you simplify the process of evaluating them all, and feel confident about your choice?rnrnVisit each community, and assess each option based on select core criteria.

8 Key Factors to Evaluate

1. Care

Care should be the starting point of your evaluation. Ask each community you’re considering to explain what their levels of care mean, what is included in each and what their pricing model is. The most common options are Independent (or Retirement) Living, Assisted Living (or Personal Care), and Memory (or Dementia) Care.

Evaluating care also means looking beyond the present. Even if you don’t currently need extra help with things like dressing, bathing, or dementia support, you might in the future. Finding a community that is licensed to offer additional care with customizable plans could prevent having to move again.

2. Location

The cardinal rule of real estate is location, location, location – and it also holds true for senior living. Being close to family – should be balanced with other day-to-day perks, like proximity to physicians and other health services. Whether or not a community is near daily necessities (like grocery stores) or fun day trips (like parks or movie theaters) is also something to consider.

3. Staff & Residents

It’s often said the people make the place. Residents and staff have a big impact on the suitability of a community. While you aren’t necessarily evaluating residents according to a checklist, getting a feeling for the overall vibe and atmosphere of a community is important. Outgoing and receptive residents can be a sign of a happy community. See if you can talk to a few one-on-one. Interviewing staff can also help you better form an opinion of a community – they should be knowledgeable and eager to help.

4. Cleanliness

Aside from the obvious (no one wants to live in a dirty home), a clean community also indicates the staff is committed and management is invested in providing a quality experience. The only real way to gauge cleanliness is firsthand: take a tour of the community. Don’t be afraid to inspect things closely. And since part of the point of senior living is no longer having the burden of home maintenance, apartment housekeeping services should be thorough and frequent.

5. Programs & Events

The best senior living communities are lively and full of daily programs and events for residents to take part in. Look for a robust and consistent events calendar – some examples include exercise classes, book or gardening clubs, guest speakers and performers. Ask to drop in on an event and see if it is well attended. Getting out and about is also important, so see if the community offers outings to ball games, local attractions, and volunteer opportunities.

6. Amenities

Ideally, a community will offer the comforts of home, along with safety features and convenient services. Housekeeping and linen services, transportation, and maintenance are features you should expect for starters.

Also look for on-site amenities that will make life easier and more enjoyable, like a movie theater, fitness center, café, salon, and resident gardens.

7. Apartments

Find an apartment that meets your expectations for comfort and safety, along with personal preferences like a patio or walk-in closet. Review available floor plans and make sure an emergency alert system is in place for added peace of mind.

8. Dining

Proper nutrition is important of course, but so is variety. Look for comfort food favorites and new flavors on the community’s sample menu – better yet, have a meal there and try it for yourself. If you have a dietary restriction or food allergy, make sure they can accommodate your needs. And since having family or friends over for a meal is always a recipe for a good time, ask if friends and family members are welcome to dine with residents.