We all want a living environment that will be the most beneficial for our elderly parents when looking at retirement options. But due to the overwhelming amount of senior community options, it’s never an easy decision. Many people opt to enlist the help of a retirement living consultant to zero-in on the best choice more efficiently and with more confidence, but whether you choose to do so or not, it always pays to be informed.
In this article, we talk about the 10 main things to consider when looking to move your parents into a senior community. This will show you what to look for in a senior community before deciding on one.
Let’s get started!
1. Level of Care
Different seniors require different levels of care. Some can live independently in an active living community while others need the support of an assisted living facility or nursing home. This would be the very first lens that you need to use when looking for a senior community.
Make sure to educate yourself on the different levels of care available and which one your elderly parent would need. From here, you can get a handful of viable options.
2. Mission or Purpose
After you have some viable options, visit their websites and find a mission statement or purpose. Some will align more closely with your attitudes and beliefs about senior care. This is a good step in narrowing down your options.
3. First Impressions
When visiting prospective senior communities, pay attention to your intuition. How do you feel about the environment? Is it a warm, welcoming place or is it cold and sterile? Are the staff friendly or are they uptight? Do the residents seem like they are happy and peaceful where they are? Make sure to note down your observations.
4. The Convenience of the Layout
Senior communities where the senior residents have total or some independence in accomplishing daily tasks would need to have shops and areas of interest within a manageable distance. This can mean a tremendous amount of ease for your elderly parent.
5. Strategic Location
Consider the community’s closeness to points of interest like hospitals, train stations, airports, and of course, to loved ones. The proximity to a train station or airport matters more if your elderly parents are frequent travellers. Meanwhile, hospital proximity is very important in case of health emergencies. Lastly, proximity to loved ones can give added reassurance to your elderly loved ones that they will be visited and checked on every so often.
6. Amenities and Activities
You’d want to align your decision as much as possible to what your elderly parent(s) will enjoy. Many senior communities falling under the “independent living” and “assisted living” categories have amenities like walking paths, gardens, parks, swimming pools, golf courses, and other fun activities.
But amenities aren’t everything. There also needs to be a strong sense of community to enrich the life of your elderly loved one. See if the senior community has compelling social activities, events, classes, and hobby clubs.
7. Friendliness to Pets
Review the policies of the senior community about pets. Try to find any restrictions on where pets are allowed to go and if there are additional fees involved with having a pet. Some senior communities don’t allow pets at al—which may also be what you’re looking for!
8. Good Staffing
The staff in assisted living communities and nursing homes can greatly affect the health and wellbeing of your elderly loved one. Try to gauge if there is a good staff-to-resident ratio. Moreover, try to see if the staff treats the residents with warmth. Do they smile while interacting with them? Do the staff even know their names?
9. Resident Feedback
Some senior communities will give you the chance to speak with the residents. You can ask residents about what they like and dislike about living in that particular senior community. If communities won’t allow this, you should consider it a serious red flag.
10. The Empathy Test
After seeing the place and all it has to offer, would you like to live there? And can you see your elderly parents living there and being happy? It can be easy to get blinded by the most convenient option but this little practice in empathy can definitely help you get a clearer insight into whether or not a senior community is the right fit.
Choosing a senior community can be an overwhelming process. You may even find yourself doubting if it’s the best course of action to begin with. If you have questions during your search or anything related to senior downsizing and relocation services, we’re here for you.
Our retirement living consultants here at Your Next Steps will help you come up with the best plan to ensure that you and your family members are happy with this next phase of their life.