The search for independent living, assisted living, or memory care communities for a senior family member can range from exciting to stressful to extremely difficult. If your loved one has indicated they are ready for the move, it may make sense for them to look at every community.
In other cases, it may be better for family members to tour the communities first, and narrow the choices to the ones that seem like the best fit. Once these have been chosen, a second tour to those select communities can be arranged with the senior.
How the tours are handled should be based on the individual’s current situation, and there are some issues that should be considered as you plan for tours.
Physical Ability and Cognitive Capability
Mobility issues and lack of stamina as well as cognitive impairment can be reasons for having your loved one sit out the first round of tours and visit only the top choices. This gives them the opportunity to be involved in the final decision-making process, but can be less taxing on the individual.
If the senior is physically able, and is on-board with making the move, they may want to be more involved in evaluating each community. Visits can help seniors learn about the amenities, meet residents and staff, and taste the food. Some independent living communities have programs that allow potential residents to stay a night or two to get a better sense of community living.
Fear and Anxiety Levels
Moving is a big step for everyone and can be extremely stressful. When moving to a senior living community, it’s not just the move to a new place that’s hard. It’s the entire process of downsizing, moving out of a home where they may have lived for decades, letting go of the past, and moving to what they may consider to be their final home. Fear and anxiety are natural reactions to this type of transition. To alleviate the stress, limiting the number of communities visited by the senior may make sense.
A large number of seniors are adamant about staying in their own homes and are only willing to consider senior living communities after they’ve had a rehab stay or their doctors have told them they cannot live alone safely. Others may be scared staying at home alone or recognize they could benefit from social interaction or some assistance from a community.
In either case, taking a senior to visit a community you haven’t visited first, can be risky. If it’s not a good fit, it could undermine your efforts to get your loved one to visit other communities and make the move.
When making the determination of whether or not to take a senior to tour communities, there is no right or wrong answer. The answer is going to depend on your loved one’s abilities and state of mind. In cases where someone is getting out of rehab, it may not be possible for them to take a tour. In other situations, it may be preferable for trusted family members to narrow down the search and take their loved ones to the top choices. And, sometimes, if you’re really lucky, the senior will embrace the process, and allow you to tour with them!