Key Questions for Making an Informed Choice in Your Senior Living Search

Friendship Living, patio, flowers, outdoor umbrellas

You’ve made the decision to move, now your senior living search is focused on finding the right community for yourself or your loved one. Senior living has so much to offer today, which makes it easier to say yes to a move, but it can also make choosing the community itself a bit overwhelming. We can help with key questions to ask so you can make an informed choice.

What Type of Care Do You Need in a Senior Living Community?

Many people are surprised to learn that senior living communities offer more than one type of care. Each type is designed to accommodate different needs and wants for a more personalized experience in senior living. That’s why the first thing to do in this part of your senior living search is to determine which type of care is the best fit for you or your loved one. Types of care include:

●      Independent Living – These communities are focused on lifestyle and are ideal for seniors who seek freedom from the responsibilities of home maintenance as well as more social and enrichment opportunities than they may have at home. Independent Living communities often provide or have available everyday services like cooking, cleaning, and laundry.  Amenities may include concierge services, a pool, a fitness center, and transportation. Typically, residents in independent living do not require daily assistance.

●      Assisted Living – These communities are similar to independent living in terms of the amenities as well as the social and enrichment opportunities available. But here residents enjoy personalized care plans that include assistance with daily tasks like bathing and dressing as needed, in addition to 24-hour staffing and onsite health specialists, all in an inviting, home-like setting.

●      Adult Day Care – Options exist for individuals to have daytime care, when they shouldn’t or don’t want to be at home alone.  Adult Day Care is a great source of respite for caregivers to be able to go to work or take care of responsibilities with peace of mind knowing their loved one is safe and secure.

●      Home Care – Friendship is unique in that it offers Home Care services, to help individuals remain independent and in their desired residence for as long as possible.  Service include helping around the home, housekeeping, transportation to appointments, plus personal care attention and assistance care.

●      Memory Care – Designed just for seniors with Alzheimer’s disease and dementia, these communities feature staff specially-trained in memory care, 24-hour support, and a secure yet comfortable setting. You’ll also find enrichment activities as well as fitness and social opportunities that help residents to make the most of life.

●      Skilled Nursing & Long-Term Care – Designed just for seniors with Alzheimer’s disease and dementia, these communities feature staff specially-trained in memory care, 24-hour support, and a secure yet comfortable setting. You’ll also find enrichment activities as well as fitness and social opportunities that help residents to make the most of life.

What Are Your Priorities in Your Senior Living Search?

Now that you can narrow your community options based on the type of care you need, your senior living search can shift to prioritizing what you want out of the experience. Specifically, we’re talking about the services and amenities offered. This is where things can get particularly overwhelming if you don’t prioritize first because senior living communities not only offer so many options, but each has a personality all its own. We find it helpful to prioritize based on these categories:

•       Can’t Live Without – This might be a particular location, a pet-friendly community, one that has 2-bedroom floor plans, or weekly housekeeping, for example.

•       Your Preferences – You might prefer a community with a 24-hour fitness center, an onsite beauty salon, and a pool. Or, a residence with outdoor space and a full-size kitchen versus a kitchenette.

•       Nice-to-Have Features – Things like concierge services, a spa, private transportation, and multiple dining may put one senior living community ahead of another for you.

Comparing Senior Living Communities

At this point in your senior living search, you’ll ideally have narrowed things down to two or three communities in which you’d like to tour. In our experience, it’s easier to determine the right community when you’re comparing across the same criteria. As such, on your tour, we recommend asking the community (and yourself) questions like these:

Accommodations and Campus

•       What accommodations are available? What are the differences in cost for each?

•       Can residents personalize their space?

•       Is the property well maintained?

•       How would you rate the appearance, comfort, and cleanliness of the accommodations, dining, common areas and outdoor spaces?

Lifestyle and Wellness

•       Does the menu have a variety of nutritious and appealing offerings?

•       Do they accommodate special dietary restrictions or requests?

•       What programs (exercise, wellness, enrichment, social and other activities) are offered?

•       How often do residents leave the community for outside activities?

•       How often are housekeeping and laundry service provided?

•       Is the community pet-friendly?

Staff and Care

•       What level of daily assistance can residents expect?

•       What qualifications are required for team members?

•       Are team members offered additional and/or continuous training opportunities?

•       What is the staff-to-resident ratio during the day and at night?

•       How do staff members interact with residents and you? Do they seem friendly and compassionate?

Safety and Security

•       How do they handle medical emergencies?

•       How is the community secured (gated entry, keypad access, etc.)?

•       What safety features are available (emergency response systems, fall detection, etc.)?

•       Is transportation offered?

Cost

•       What are the monthly costs for housing and care?

•       What services are included in those costs?

•       What payment options are available?

•       Are there move-in specials?

For more information about senior living and to schedule a visit, contact Friendship today.

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Family Guide to Funding Senior Care & Housing

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Friendship North Campus

367 Hershberger Road, Roanoke, VA 24012

540.385.8720

Friendship South Campus

5647 Starkey Road, Roanoke, VA 24018

540.777.8300

Friendship Salem Terrace

1851 Harrogate Dr, Salem, VA 24153

540.444.0343