Whether you are searching for the right senior community for yourself or loved ones, the process is similar.
Finding the right one is often based mostly on your family’s financial needs.
While financial needs are important – and may be your most important consideration – they are not the only consideration. In making your loved ones’ or your own retirement wishes come true, you also should consider other needs important to you and your family.
When Eric was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease, his wife Marie knew she had to find a specialized senior living community. And quickly.
She wanted one where he could receive the care he needed, and she could live independently nearby. Her hope was one not too far from the town where she and Eric lived for decades.
Marie made a list of her needs and wants, prioritized them and started a search.
She turned to her pastor for advice. He suggested a senior community filling all their needs and top wants. It was within her budget, 30 miles from their current home, and had independent cottages, a home, and skilled nursing care.
What else might be important?
Well things such as your recreational and fitness activities, social needs, cultural references and educational needs.
Wondering how to know which senior community is right for you and your family’s retirement wishes and needs?
Here are 5 steps to help you find the best senior community for you…
1. Know Your Wants and Needs
Make a detailed list of all of your wants and needs in regards to a senior community and what it provides.
If things such as cultural aspects, recreational activities, fitness and sports, location, church functions and educational activities are important to you, write them down. Go ahead and list things you think a senior community might not have available; this is your list, and should be as detailed and honest as possible.
You may be surprised by what senior communities in your area offer, including how many different types of activities, meal plans and amenities.
2. Nearby or Far Away?
Consider the location of the senior community.
- Do you have friends or family in a certain city or town who you want to remain close to?
- Is there a neighborhood you favor?
- Do you prefer a city or suburban community to a rural one?
- Do you want to live on the coast or mountains?
- Is there another area you truly want to live in?
All of these are important things to consider. Once you have narrowed your options down based on location, the next step in finding a suitable senior community is…
3. Research the Community Care Options Available
Good advice is to do your research when considering different senior communities.
You can get help in researching the communities from friends, family and anyone you might know who has lived in these communities. Find out details about each one including what type of amenities and extras they offer, if they are highly recommended, and the costs of living in the community.
Ask questions like, “Is there a limit on how much they will raise fees for residents?” This can be an important consideration for a limited budget. Think of your own wishes and needs, preparing your list of questions.
4. Take a Tour
Visit each senior community you are considering and take a tour of the community, meet the staff and doctors, and receive as much detailed information as you can.
Ask to see the available rooms, recreation center or fitness area, the grounds where you can get fresh air and exercise, cafeteria where meals are available.
Can you eat lunch during your visit?
Check out for yourself if their meals suit your dietary needs.
5. Narrow Your Choices
Narrow your search based on everything you have learned so far about each community.
Having trouble deciding which one is the best choice?
Make a pros and cons list for each one. Choose the one that highly favors the pros on your list, rather than the cons.
Prioritize your wants and needs about a community to help narrow your search. Examples include having a church, laundry facilities near your room, one that allows pets, or is in the perfect location.
Choose wisely and take your time, rather than rushing into a decision.
Still need additional help?
Ask advice from trusted friends, family, your doctor, minister, and more. There are also services available online that can help you choose a senior community. Many of these services get a fee for referrals. So do your own research, or get someone to help you find the best service for you.
Once you know what you really want in a senior community, you can find one that is perfect for you.
Rather than choosing the first one you find or the one closest to your previous home, doing your research of different senior communities can improve you and your loved ones’ health, happiness and quality of life for years.
Need help NOW?
Check out this FREE search tool. Just Click on the Blue arrows in the “Select Category” bar and select the category you’re looking for. Add your zip code (or the zip code of your loved one if you are searching for someone else) and press “Continue.”
And start reducing your stress NOW!
To your healthy & happy caregiving,
Ina Gilmore, M.D. (Retired)
“The Knitting Dr.”
Bestselling Author of “What Do I Say In a Sympathy Card?”
Creator of A HEART PLAN