Top Things to Look for in Senior Living Communities
If you plan to move to a senior living community, it’s important to know that, like people, all communities have unique personalities. Ideally, you’ll find one that suits you perfectly.
The best way to do that is to do your research; there are a myriad of options and many things to consider before making a selection.
To help you get started, here are the top four things to look for in a retirement community:
1. The Right Accommodations for Your Lifestyle
The first step is to determine the location that appeals most to you. Looking for a warmer climate? Want to be closer to your children? Now is the time for that relocation!
Next, know your budget. Does your financial position allow for entrance fees, monthly fees and additional care costs? Investigating communities within your financial reach is the best use of your time and effort. Some communities offer services, including care, at an all-inclusive price, while others charge à la carte.
Depending on the community, there may be apartments, cottages, full-sized houses or a combination of these. Whichever home type you desire, look for quality design, elegant appointments and customizable spaces.
Some additional features to look for include:
- Washers/dryers available in unit
- Full-size appliances
- Storage space
- Deck or patio
At Edgehill in Stamford, Connecticut, all apartment homes have private balconies or patios, washer/dryers and full-size, maintenance-free kitchen appliances. Residences are also sound resistant and each has its own heating and cooling controls.
2. Services and Amenities
Determine which amenities and services are most important to you. Do you want a pool? Need a pet-friendly neighborhood? These are some of the amenities that are popular with residents of senior communities:
- Walking paths and open spaces
- On-site salon/barber
- Gardening area
- Linen service
Don’t forget to explore the dining options! If you’re like many seniors today, you want a dining experience with impeccable service and skillfully prepared, delicious food. Examine the menu and see if there is a good variety of items and whether the menu changes regularly. Most importantly, enjoy a meal in the dining room to get a firsthand taste of the cuisine. Most communities will encourage you to do so; if they don’t, that may tell you all you need to know.
3. Care Model
Look into the community’s care contracts available. For example, continuing care retirement communities (CCRCs) offer care across the continuum: Independent Living, Assisted Living and Memory Care—and, often, Skilled Nursing and Rehabilitation.
There are three types of CCRCs (Type A, B and C), all of which offer different levels of services and rates for care. Understanding the differences between contract types is important and will serve you well in the long run.
Be sure to ask what happens if your needs—or your partner’s needs—change in the future. For example, if your spouse needs assistance with activities of daily living and a higher level of care but you don’t, how is that handled? It is beneficial to understand the costs for future care when care needs differ.
4. Community Personality
All senior living communities are different; the residents who live there forge a community’s personality. Ideally, you’ll want to find a community of like-minded people who enjoy the same things you do because that is where you will be most comfortable.
Attending events for prospective residents is a good way to talk to and get to know current residents. That will give you important information about how you will fit in.
Evaluate how you feel while in the community. If you feel comfortable and the community offers the amenities you seek and fits your budget, it is likely a great fit for you.
Don’t be afraid to start your search early! Why wait to start taking advantage of the many opportunities available at senior living communities? The sooner you start, the sooner you can move on to the next active and fulfilling phase of your life!