Today it’s easier than ever to research and find the perfect senior community for you or your loved one. The amount of information that is available is significant; so much so, that it can understandably feel like an overwhelming task. Don't worry. Once you break it down, the search for senior living can become not only straight forward, but actually enjoyable. Here are four steps to follow as you start the journey
1. Start Early
It’s really never too early to start discussing and planning for senior living. The sooner you start, the more time you have to find the right community in a relaxed and enjoyable fashion. It also makes financial planning far easier. Remember that starting the discussion doesn’t mean you have to make an immediate decision. It just gives you the time you need to make the right decision for you.
2. Research Your Options
As you might guess, the Internet is a good place to start finding out what senior community living options are available in your area. Not only are there websites for the communities themselves, but you can find a wealth of blogs, checklists, surveys, reviews, and testimonials to help narrow your search. A good way to begin is to search for “senior communities” and your city/state or ZIP code.
The Internet isn’t the only way to research your options. Here are a few more ideas to get you started:
- Talk to friends, neighbors, and other family members about their personal experiences with senior living. It’s always comforting to talk to someone who’s been through the process.
- Local senior centers are likely to have some good information and recommendations.
- Check with your place of worship. They may be groups and counselors there who can help with your questions.
- Your health care professionals can also answer questions and point you in the right direction.
3. Narrow Your Search
Once you’ve had time to review your options, start to narrow your list based on the factors that are most important to you. These can include location, and amenities and services, as well as cost and availability. Try to narrow your list of options to between three and six communities.
4. Schedule Some Visits
Make appointments to visit your top three choices. Try to arrange a visit that’s at least an hour — and more is better. You’ll want to tour the community, talk to residents and staff, and possibly have a meal in the dining area. Be sure to spend enough time to get a real sense of the day-to-day workings and atmosphere of the community. If you haven’t found what you’re looking for within the first three visits, it’s time to schedule the next three on your short list.