4 Easy Tips to Help You Find the Right Senior Community

Posted by The Goodman Group on Sep 17, 2020 1:06:48 PM

4 Easy Tips for Finding the Right Senior Community – The Goodman Group

Today it’s easier than ever to research and find the perfect senior community for yourself or your loved one. In fact, the amount of information available can be a bit overwhelming! But once you break it down, the search for senior living becomes more straightforward. Start by knowing what type of senior community you or your loved one will need, and then follow these simple points.

CHOOSING FROM DIFFERENT KINDS OF COMMUNITIES

For starters, there are many types of senior living communities. Some are for those with various medical conditions, and specialize in assisted living, skilled nursing care, or specialized care for seniors with memory loss such as Alzheimer's disease or dementia.

Perhaps your loved one doesn’t need assistance with daily living and is more interested in joining an active, independent living community. Those also exist in the senior living space, and communities like that are often packed with vibrant social calendars.

Read our Guide to Types of Senior Living Communities to Find Your Perfect Fit

Then, of course, there are communities that offer services between those two extremes or a combination of them. Once you’ve decided on the type of community you’ll need, here are four easy steps to get started on finding your new home:

1. START THE CONVERSATION EARLY

The conversation about making the move to a senior living community can be a positive discussion. But timing is important: the sooner you start, the more time you will have to find the right community.

“It’s a very tough time when you wait too long," says Wendy, daughter of Margo, a resident of Terracina Grand in Naples, FL, a community managed by The Goodman Group. Wendy says that waiting too long to start the conversation is "probably the worst decision you can make. Have the conversation early when your parents can still tell you what they want.”

Remember that beginning the discussion doesn’t mean you have to make an immediate decision. It just gives you the time to be proactive and better prepared for the future.

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 (a good way to begin is to search for “senior communities” and your city/state or ZIP code). There are websites for the communities themselves, but if you dig deeper, you'll find out a lot more about them: you can find a wealth of blogs, checklists, surveys, reviews, and testimonials to help narrow your search.

But the internet isn’t the only way to research your options. Here are a few more ideas to kickstart your offline research:

  • 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. Reach out and describe what you're looking for.
  • Check with your place of worship. They may be groups and counselors there who can help with your questions.
  • Your health care professional can also answer many questions about senior living and point you in the direction of a community that might be right for you or your loved one.

3. NARROW YOUR SEARCH

Ginny, a resident at Terracina Grand, knew she was in the right place from the moment she walked in the door. “It’s just a feeling of knowing that you belong,” says Ginny. “I felt like I was going to be able to meet people who I would be comfortable with and who I could relate to here.”

 

Read our blog for more of Ginny's story about choosing the right senior living community.

Once you’ve had time to review your options, narrow your list based on the factors that are most important to you. Here are some considerations to keep in mind when narrowing down your list:

  • Are there hospitals and medical facilities nearby?
  • Do they provide in-home health services important to people living independently?
  • Is it in a safe neighborhood with reliable security?
  • Are there safety and accessibility accommodations for residents (like handrails and uncluttered interior spaces)?
  • Is the community conveniently located for family visits?

The cost of a senior living community is often a primary concern for seniors and family. That's why it's important to make sure you understand your total out-of-pocket expenses when narrowing your search. For example, some communities charge exorbitant entrance fees to secure a spot; others, like communities managed by The Goodman Group, allow you to reserve a spot without paying an entrance fee. But every community does include monthly charges to cover meal plans, health care costs, and other variables. 

“I think that it’s important to understand what’s included in the monthly rental,” says Wendy. “Can you get assistance right where you live, or do you have to move to another building or even a different area in the same building? What amenities are included?”

New Call-to-action4. PLAN SOME VISITS

Naturally, the last step of your decision-making process will be to see the senior living communities for yourself. Plan for at least an hour-long visit — longer is better. While visiting, you should:

  • Pay attention to the overall design and appeal of the community. Check the landscaping and interior décor to see if they are fresh and inviting.
  • Ask to see a model apartment, as well as an unoccupied apartment that is move-in ready. 
  • Check to see if carpets, paint, and wallpaper are maintained, and that appliances are clean and updated.
  • See if the staff is friendly, smiling, well-groomed, and diligent. Do they interact warmly with the residents, or do they seem stressed or rushed?
  • Check the appearance and upkeep of the public restrooms — this is a good test of overall standards!
  • Enjoy a meal at the community for both you and your loved one. Not only is it a great way to sample the cuisine, but it is also a great way to meet some of the residents.
  • Ask about staffing patterns. How many staff members are actually involved in the residents’ care? How many people are working at any one time? Are there Registered Nurses on site?
  • Look at the monthly schedule of events. Do the activities interest your loved one? Are they varied and interesting?
  • Are there adequate fitness areas within the community? The goal is to increase overall health and wellbeing, reduce the potential for falls, and encourage your loved one to remain active.

In Wendy's experience, it's best to make an unannounced visit for a true picture of what daily life is like in that community. “My advice to families is to not make an appointment," Wendy says. "Go unannounced. See what’s happening when they’re not expecting you. Do people look engaged? Do they seem to have a high quality of life?”

Lastly, don’t hesitate to talk with the residents and ask how long they have lived in the community. Ask about their impressions – what they like, what they love, and what they would like to see changed.

Planning on finding a senior living community in the near future? Download our Senior Living Checklist and bring it with you on your visit to make sure your community checks all the necessary boxes.

Topics: Senior Living, Caregivers

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