Senior living communities have evolved drastically over the past few decades. While new features such as spas, swimming pools, and cutting-edge technology make senior living more appealing, it can also muddy the waters when trying to find a solution for yourself or your aging loved one. If you find yourself feeling frustrated or overwhelmed when searching for a senior living community that meets the needs of you or your loved one, you are not alone.
Without previous experience searching for a senior living community, you can easily get overwhelmed by all of the available information. Fortunately, you have many options to choose from—you just have to know where to start.
Start in Your Desired Location
It all starts with location, location, location. If you are investigating senior care communities, begin your journey in the neighborhood or area you prefer. When choosing a location, take time to consider nearness to friends and family, as well as proximity to preferred medical providers. Once you have a location in mind, you can begin to find ideal options in that area.
Use local resources like your city’s senior services department or physician’s office. In most cases, these places have marketing materials for senior living communities in the neighborhood and they can be wonderful starting points.
You should also begin talking to friends and family who have been through a senior living search before. Their opinions and experiences can help guide you during the process, and word-of-mouth referrals are something to be taken seriously as you develop your list of places to tour and learn more about.
Start to Compare
Now that you have a list of senior living communities in your area, you can begin to compare what those communities offer to what needs you or your senior loved one have. Beginning with level of care is the best way to shorten your list. The term “level of care” is used to describe services provided at a senior living community, and they can range from minimal to significant.
Independent living, for example, offers a level of care that is suitable for seniors who require minimal assistance or oversight. An independent living resident can get dressed without assistance, but may desire the peace of mind that comes with knowing there is help nearby if an emergency happens. Independent living communities often have a nurse on staff during business hours and offer amenities ranging from on-site medical clinics to planned trips.
An assisted living resident requires more care than an independent living community provides. This resident might need some help getting dressed due to fine motor challenges, or they may not be able to prepare meals on their own. Assisted living care can give this resident three nutritious and delicious meals in a social dining room, as well as caregivers to assist with tasks 24 hours per day.
Finally, memory care offers a specialized environment and experience that is tailor-made to support success and dignity to seniors living with Alzheimer’s disease or other forms of dementia. A memory care resident may be unsafe at home due to things like their desire to leave home alone or the possibility of forgetting to turn off the stove. In a memory care community, this resident will have the opportunity to participate in engaging activities, and will have assistance in all tasks from caregivers who have been specially trained in dementia care topics and best practices.
Once you have determined the level of care that is best for you or your senior loved one, you can begin to tour communities that offer that assistance. Are you still unsure of what level of care may be best? Talk to a doctor who is familiar with the situation to get their advice on current and future needs.
Now that you are ready to tour senior communities, you still have a big job ahead. Learn more about assisted living and how to choose the best community for you by downloading our Complete Guide to Assisted Living today.