Let’s go back in time a bit…remember the Yellow Pages? And the catchy TV jingle, “Let your fingers do the walking?” Back then, the idea was you could do a lot of searching right from your chair without going anywhere. You still can—but now thanks to technology, with much better results. Researching senior living online can give you an in-depth peek into what’s out there, and what feels right for you.
Researching senior living online: what to know before you click.
It’s estimated that there are over 1.7 billion websites out there. Of course, you don’t want to see them all, you want to zero in on the sites that contain information pertinent to your search. And remember, in addition to senior living community websites, there are other online sources of info you can tap into for more input.
So how do you make researching senior living online a productive and even enjoyable project?
First, narrow down what you are searching for. Independent living. Assisted living. Memory care. Or a senior living community that offers all levels of care. Give some thought to the lifestyle you are seeking for yourself or for a loved one. Also keep in mind specific needs that will need to be addressed, such as mobility issues, care for Alzheimer’s disease or another form of dementia, rehabilitation, respite care, and so on. And decide where you want to be located…near friends, family or familiar services.
Choose your search terms. One good way to start researching senior living is by location. For example, “senior living Nebraska” or “independent living Omaha” or whatever fits your interests. Then take the time to go through the search results to see if you want to investigate further.
You’re on a community’s website. Now what? Don’t be in a hurry. While you can always bookmark the site and come back later, you want to take the time to look at everything. The photo gallery. Newsletter and activity calendar. Videos. Blog articles. News events. If there is a guide or brochure, download it. Check out the lifestyle options and what amenities and services are included. Review residence information and floor plans if included. See if there’s a sample menu. Pay attention to information about the staff and the overall philosophy of the community.
If you can sign up for a virtual tour, do so, even if you are going to eventually visit in person. Every contact you have with the community tells you something about what it’s like to live there. Researching senior living online is a smart way to not only educate yourself about what’s available, it also can help you discover what you really want.
Get social. What’s life really like at the community? Sometimes the best way to find out is through social media. Facebook, Twitter and Instagram often are where a community showcases its staff, special events, and everyday life. You might see photos of a holiday party. Watch a video of a sing-a-long. Meet the new chef. Read a special thank-you message from a resident’s daughter or son. Particularly on Facebook, it’s a good idea to “like” a community and follow it—you might decide you’ll fit right in!
Turn on the news. As you are researching senior living and beginning to narrow down your list of communities, take the time to do a general online search of each one. Simply type in the name of the community and see if any news articles pop up. Possible articles might be about new staff, inspection results, special events, features on residents, or plans for new amenities.
Read the reviews. There are several online sites offering reviews of senior living communities. As with any product or service, reviews can offer additional insight into everyday life at a community. According to Senior Housing News, good online views make a significant difference for people composing a short list of communities to visit. But the main takeaway seems to be that negative reviews can turn people off. The best strategy is to look at the information as objectively as possible. The more input you can get from residents and family members, the more confident you can feel about your choice.
Researching senior living? We’re glad you’re here! Heritage Communities is focused on helping seniors find the key to Living Better. If you have questions about how to make the right senior living choice for yourself or a loved one, download our free guide, Family Decision Toolkit: How to choose the right senior living community. Or contact us today.