Choosing a place to live at any stage of life is an important decision. It is especially true when considering a new retirement address. You are seeking a lifestyle that offers freedom, enjoyment, and resources for healthy aging; that’s why you want to take some time before visiting a senior living community to decide what matters most to you.
At Heritage Communities, we’ve put together some suggestions on what to observe when visiting a senior living community. The right choice is out there!
What to observe when visiting a senior living community
- Overall appearance. As you approach the community, does it look well maintained? Is the landscaping healthy and trimmed? Once inside, note your impressions…does it seem clean and tidy, or are there signs of neglect? It’s more than the physical appearance, it’s the atmosphere as well. You want to feel welcome right away. You also want to pick up on a positive, happy energy that invites you to learn more.
- Interactions. Pay attention to how staff and residents communicate with one another. Are they smiling and talking, or is there little interaction? Anytime you are visiting a senior living community, notice how people greet one another, whether they live or work there or are visiting. It’s true that happy residents and happy staff go together. If it’s a great place to work, it’s most likely a great place to live, and vice versa.
- Amenities. You might want a community with a well-stocked library, a lively pub or an inviting outdoor patio where you can socialize with guests. Check to see if the community amenities feel inviting and up-to-date, and how popular they seem to be with residents. Don’t forget conveniences such as a salon/barber shop, exercise space or wellness office.
Remember, when visiting a senior living community, you are searching for a place that will feel like home…but without all the maintenance and work!
Download our free guide,
- Dining experience. Food is definitely an important item on your checklist. You will want to have a few meals at a community you are considering. For starters, ask for a sample menu and find out if dietary restrictions are considered. Observe the atmosphere in the main dining venue and whether residents seem to be enjoying themselves.
Flexibility is important as well—can residents eat when they choose? Sit where they choose? Is there a casual, grab ‘n go venue as well as a more formal dining room?
- Choices. Maintaining a home, taking care of a family, working full-time and making sure everything is in order is often a 24/7 responsibility. That’s why now, as you consider having newfound freedom to plan your days as you wish, without all those worries, you want an environment that offers you lots of quality choices. Be sure when visiting a senior living community to ask for a calendar of events. Take a look: what appeals to you? Find out if you can start a group if you don’t see it listed, such as a book club or knitting circle.
Today’s senior living communities offer a wide variety of activities, such as trivia, painting classes, yoga, discussions, concerts, movies, walking groups, excursions to area museums, galleries, lunch spots and more, exercise classes, happy hours, birthday parties, holiday celebrations, volunteering, and lots more. Of course, you can opt to just relax in your comfortable apartment with the latest mystery novel. The key is having choices and lots of them!
- Culture. Talk to the leadership of the community and ask what their goal is for residents. Do they follow a set of core values and are they committed to providing resources for healthy aging? Find out what the turnover rate is and ask about the community’s reputation. Does the staff undergo periodic retraining? Are residents involved in planning and decision-making?
Find the senior living community that feels right for you
You can tell a great deal just by being around residents and staff, which is why in-person visits are so important. Be sure to observe if people seem to be having fun. At Heritage Communities, we believe everyone’s home should be a delight, so we make sure to infuse good times, laughter and rewarding relationships into residents’ lives as often as possible.
We’d love to tell you more!