How to Choose a Senior Living Community
By many estimates, moving is one of—if not the—most stressful things a person will go through in their lifetime. But when it comes to moving into a senior living community, that stress is compounded. It’s an emotional time, fraught with not only feelings of sadness but also worry about finding the best senior living community to move to. Suddenly, the stakes feel much higher than they used to.
At CarePatrol, our purpose is to take the fear out of this complex process. As senior living advisors, we can help you determine the best options in your area and choose one that fits your needs. We’ve vetted thousands of senior living options throughout the country. Here are a few of the things we’ve found make the biggest difference for families to consider early in the process—and we’ll always be available to help!
Determine the Necessary Level of Care
We’ve talked before about the differences between types of senior living communities: independent living, assisted living, and nursing homes are the big 3 categories. But just as every family is unique and each person has their own preferences, needs, and budget, so too is every senior living community unique.
Dive into the care services each community provides to ensure it can fulfill your needs. These might include physical therapy, specialized memory care, accessibility features in the building, and more. If you’re not sure what level of care you or your loved one needs, take a quick assessment from CarePatrol!
Location, Location, Location
Just like when you’re house-hunting, you want to make sure that the community you choose is in an area you desire. You may not be as worried about school systems or ready access to nightlife as you once were (or maybe you are—we’re not here to judge!). But you should consider proximity to family and friends, healthcare providers, and community resources like libraries, shopping, and more.
Don’t underestimate the difference that a seemingly small distance can make. Try to choose a place that is convenient to the things that matter most to you.
The Right Social Environment
The culture and community of a senior living environment should never be overlooked. Even if you find a place with good healthcare and close proximity to home, if it isn’t the right fit in terms of quality of life, it won’t be a comfortable long-term option.
As you research communities, ask for a list of activities and amenities, scanning for programs that are genuinely interesting and engaging for you or your elderly loved one. Physical fitness is key to staying healthy, so see if they have dedicated exercise classes or equipment. Aim to find a place that makes both physical health and mental well-being easy to achieve.
There are senior living communities available with lots of unique amenities and programs to match a wide variety of passions and hobbies. From personal gardening plots to pet-friendly areas to on-site art studios and so much more, there’s something for everyone. Don’t feel like you have to settle for the bare minimum!
Compare What’s Included in the Care Package
Different communities have different pricing structures, so it’s important to pay attention to the fine print. Most senior living options have two pricing agreements: monthly rent and care/service packages. Be sure to compare these holistically when you’re making your deliberations. While one community may have a smaller overall monthly fee, that price may include fewer services, such as meal plans, access to fitness centers, housekeeping services, and more.
It’s crucial to make sure that the care package you choose matches your or your loved one’s current condition. Ask questions about health monitoring services such as proactive wellness tracking, personal emergency alerts, and telemedicine services. You don’t want to be caught out adding on extra fees that you didn’t budget for if these services aren’t included in your plan.
If you choose to work with a senior care advisor, they can help you determine the necessary level of care and negotiate the right plan for your family. They know the communities in their area inside and out, and will act as your advocate in combing through the details!
Budget for Now and for the Future
Cost and budgeting is always a top concern for families, and rightly so. For many, when comparing the costs of home maintenance and upkeep to the service fees at an independent living community or assisted living facility, the numbers are comparable. Take some time to break down your budget and compare communities line by line to ensure you’re working within a reasonable price point—and comfort level—for your family.
But don’t forget to think about the future, too. As our loved ones age, new health challenges are likely to arise. Some communities are better equipped to handle unexpected hospitalizations or progressive diseases than others.
Some options, like Continuing Care Retirement Communities (CCRCs) (also called Life Plan Communities) are like small towns with a variety of housing options. These range from independent living to rehabilitative care, so you or your loved one can transition to a higher level of care if or when it becomes necessary. For individuals with chronic conditions, progressive diseases, or those who simply want to have that safety net there for them, CCRCs may be a good option.
Get Help from a Senior Living Advisor!
Is it possible to navigate all of these options on your own? Of course. But the task can be overwhelming, especially in an emotional time. To get trusted advice from someone with intimate knowledge of all the options and communities in your area, work with a senior living advisor at CarePatrol!
We offer our services at no cost to you so we can act as a true advocate in your search for the perfect senior living option. From helping you make the most of community visits to preparing for move-in day and so much more, we’re always here to lend a helping hand.
CarePatrol: Assisted Living & Nursing Home Moving Services Near You
CarePatrol has over 150 locations across the U.S., making us not only the largest senior solutions franchise in the nation but also the brand that Americans trust. Since 1993, we’ve been helping families find senior housing that helps them make the most of their golden years. Let us ease the stress of finding the right fit at no cost to you!