When the time has come to select a senior living community for yourself or a loved one, you'll first need to determine what level of care is required in order to further narrow down the choices available. Independent living communities typically have a minimum age requirement for residents and may provide meals, housekeeping services, etc. but generally do not provide medical care or hands-on physical assistance. For seniors in need of more help with their day to day lives, assisted living communities may provide the perfect balance between independence and assistance. Finally, people suffering from Alzheimer's or dementia will have special needs that can be met at a community staffed with memory care specialists to help improve each resident's quality of life while keeping them safe from harm.
What to Look for in a Senior Living Community
Once you have determined what type of community will best meet your needs or the needs of your loved one, it's important to carefully evaluate any community you are considering. Ask yourself the following questions:
- Do the residents have a high quality of life? Talk to the residents to get a feel for their level of satisfaction. Every community is different; some specialize in catering to artists or those who have retired from a particular profession in order to increase the chances of bringing together residents who can form meaningful relationships. Is the community attractive and clean, and does it provide residents the opportunity to enjoy nature and outdoor activities like gardening, walking, and group activities? Is the food high quality and delicious, and does the facility cater to any special dietary needs of residents?
- Does the community provide the appropriate balance of independence and assistance based on your or your loved one's needs? A senior who is still capable of caring for themselves on a daily basis is likely to prefer a community focused on independence and social activities, whereas another in need of help with bathing, medications, etc. will require a community with a 24/7 nursing staff who provides care with love and respect to all residents. Memory care communities often provide additional levels of security surrounding the perimeter to allow residents the opportunity to wander freely without concern that they will become lost. Make sure to ask any questions that are relevant to your situation, and remember to look down the road at the years ahead before making your decision, as the need for assistance tends to increase as we age.
- Do the costs and services of the community meet your needs? Some communities have a single all inclusive monthly cost whereas others may have hidden extras; ask plenty of questions to make sure you can afford all the services you'll need to maintain a high quality of life without exceeding your budget. Selecting a community based on cost alone is likely to create dissatisfaction in the long term; often, with persistence in your search, you or your loved one will be able to find the perfect community that truly meets all needs while still being affordable. Don't forget to ask about the move-out policy, as there is always a chance that, over time, you or your loved one's needs will change and require a move into a different community.
Moving to a Senior Community Can Improve Your Quality of Life
The decision to move into a senior community is significant and certainly life changing, often for the better. Instead of having to complete all the normal work required in day to day life, seniors are likely to appreciate restaurant quality meals and housekeeping services that free up their time for more enjoyable activities. For those with health conditions that make it difficult to fully care for themselves, it can be extremely comforting to know there is always a helping hand around when it is most needed.
Family members will breath a sigh of relief once they know their loved one who is suffering from a memory issue has reached a loving space where they can safely move about in an environment that is not overly restrictive.
If you or your loved one is ready to sell a home in order to facilitate a rapid and smooth transition into a senior living community, we are here to help you.