The best way to go about choosing a senior living community is to first have a good idea of what you want, as well as what you need now and might need in the future. This will help you know which questions to ask and what to look for in your search for the perfect retirement address—a senior living community where you can be yourself, and remain as independent as possible for as long as possible.
First, consider what you hope to find choosing a senior living community.
When you imagine life in a senior living community, what comes to mind? Do you picture yourself enjoying chef-prepared meals? Learning yoga? Enjoying happy hour in a lounge down the hall? Relaxing with a good book while someone else does the housework? Just exploring your thoughts will help you envision what appeals most to you. Also, make a list of your “must-haves”, such as peace of mind. Safety. Happiness. Companionship. A plan for the future.
It’s also a good idea to familiarize yourself with the different levels of care, such as independent living, assisted living, and memory care. You might get input from family members, your physician, or financial advisor. If possible, talk to residents of retirement communities to get their take on what life is like for them.
What’s important for you? Here are some possibilities:
- Location, location, location. Just like with buying a home, location can be of upmost importance in choosing a senior living community. Would you like to stay in the same area? Do you want to be near adult children and grandchildren? Also consider physicians, hospitals, financial services or other professional services you regularly frequent. Check online to see if there’s a senior living community that checks the boxes for location and add it to your master list.
- Safety. You want a senior living community that is designed with your safety in mind. This can include night lighting and grab bars in the bathroom. Wider, well-lit hallways. Smoke/fire detectors and sprinkler systems. Professionally trained staff available 24/7 in case of emergencies. At Heritage Communities, our goal is to help you remain as independent as possible for as long as possible. That includes giving you the resources and support to stay healthy and safe.
- Level of care. Understand what each lifestyle option offers. If you will be moving into independent living, you can look forward to carefree, maintenance-free living that gives you more time for fun, friends, and whatever else you choose to fill your day. Come and go as you please and savor all that life offers. In assisted living, you not only enjoy newfound freedom with no home upkeep or daily worries, but also the support of a helping hand when needed 24/7. Pursue hobbies, exercise, keep learning, make new friends and more. Memory care provides around-the-clock care and guidance for those dealing with Alzheimer’s disease or another form of dementia.
- The “vibe”. What kind of feeling are you looking for? Right at home, casual and comfortable, in a familiar neighborhood? Or a bit more upscale, with touches of luxury that make you feel like you’ve found a wonderful resort ready to cater to your tastes? Maybe it’s a nice mix of the two. Whatever your preference, keep it in mind when choosing a senior living community. See how each feels. Talk to residents. Watch staff interact. Could you feel at home there?
- Amenities and activities. Whether you enjoy your solitude and privacy, or you are a social butterfly, you want a place to call home that offers ways to enjoy life. Your list could include a salon. Fitness classes. A private dining room for your family and guests. Outdoor courtyards for entertaining. Plus an activity calendar filled with opportunities for learning, laughing, and looking forward to each day. At Heritage Communities, we believe being around others, swapping stories, reminiscing and sharing meals can and will enhance and enrich your everyday life.
Choosing a senior living community that’s right for you.
Don’t limit your list to only what is mentioned here. Keep going! Consider the dining options. Access to the outdoors. Lifelong learning opportunities. Exercise and wellness programs. Design and size of residences. Once you decide what will be important for you in a senior living community, you’ll find it much easier to make the right choice. At Heritage Communities, we are here to help.
Heritage Communities is focused on helping seniors find the key to Living Better. If you have questions about respite care, or how to make the right senior living choice for a loved one, download our free guide, Family Decision Toolkit: How to choose the right senior living community. Or contact us today.