If you’re considering senior living and feel overwhelmed, you’re not alone! Between the different types of senior living and all the options within specific communities, it’s hard to decipher it all, much less decide if senior living is right for you or your loved one. But there is a way to make the senior living decision process easier. Focus on you or your loved one first and then consider senior living communities with those needs and wants in mind. These questions can help.
What Do You Need from Senior Living?
To do this take some time to honestly assess where things stand now at home. This can help determine areas in which you or your loved one may need additional support. From there you can narrow down the type of senior living community – independent living, assisted living, memory care - that best fits those needs. Ask yourself these questions:
Do you or your loved one have health issues or concerns?
Are chronic conditions becoming harder to manage at home?
Do you or your loved one have cognitive challenges or concerns?
Do you have concerns about falling at home or other safety issues there?
Do you or your loved one have mobility challenges?
Can you or your loved one still perform daily activities and tasks independently?
Can you or your loved one still maintain the house and/or yard independently?
Is it becoming more difficult for you or your loved one to prepare healthy, fresh meals?
Do you worry about yourself or your loved one managing medication without errors?
Has driving become more of a challenge for you or your loved one?
What Do You Want from Senior Living?
Now that you’ve determined what you need in senior living, consider what you or your loved one want out of the experience. Every community is different, not just in the type of care offered, but also in the features, services, and amenities available. Knowing what you want ahead of time can help you sort through all the options more quickly. Ask yourself these questions:
Would you or your loved one like to have more opportunities to socialize?
Do you or your loved one have as many active friendships as you’d like?
Would you or your loved one like to spend more time pursuing hobbies?
Are you or your loved one seeking more purpose in life?
Would you or your loved one like to have more opportunities to learn or try new things?
Would you or your loved one like to have the responsibilities of home ownership like maintenance, housekeeping, and yard work off your shoulders?
Setting Priorities for Your Senior Living Decision
With a good understanding of what you or your loved need and want in a community it’s time to set priorities for your senior living decision. While similar to buying a home, you likely won’t find the perfect community with every option you want (and nothing you don’t) that is also within budget, you can get close. That’s where the art of prioritizing comes in. Doing so beforehand keeps your expectations (and emotions) in check and helps you or your loved one hone in on what matters most. We recommend prioritizing based on these categories:
Must-haves – Here you might determine a private residence, weekly housekeeping, and/or a pet-friendly senior living community are musts.
Preferences – Your selections in this category could include a particular location, having a 24-hour fitness center, scheduled transportation, and an onsite beauty salon.
Nice-to-haves – In this category, you might include things like concierge services, weekly outings, multiple dining venues, and/or an onsite pool.