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How to Choose a Senior Living Community

ASC Choosing the Right Senior Living CommunityMaking a Smart Choice for the Future

Choosing a retirement community is a decision that should not be taken lightly. Taking the time to search for the ideal place to spend your retirement years should be an enjoyable one as you start the second half of your life. This is why it’s so important to plan ahead, giving yourself plenty of time to consider all the various options available to seniors today.

Keep in mind that there are many different things to evaluate when you shop for a retirement community. The selection process is going to differ based to your personal tastes, finances and health care needs.

Senior Living Residences: Assessing Your Individual Needs

The first step in choosing a retirement community is determining what services you need. For example, if you do not require assistance with daily activities, then an independent living apartment is probably the perfect choice. However, if your health and/or mobility are beginning to decline and you’ve been relying on others for help, an assisted living community may be more appropriate. If you or a family member require full-time health care, then a skilled nursing home would be a route to investigate further.

This is also where thinking ahead is extremely helpful. Another option to consider is a continuing care retirement community, which provides the full-spectrum of care from independent living to skilled nursing. Healthy, active seniors can start their lives in the independent living community, and if or when their health needs change, they can move into the appropriate care level, all without leaving the comfort and security of familiar settings.

Senior Living Questions to Consider

Since you are choosing where you are going to live, you should also consider a number of things that you would like your senior living residence and community to offer.

For example, take some time to reflect on the following questions:

  1. Would your lifestyle benefit from a community that provided a variety of educational, cultural, social and recreational programs?
  2. Do you desire spacious accommodations?
  3. Does it make a difference if the organization that owns the retirement community is for-profit or not-for-profit?
  4. Are you looking for a faith-based retirement community?
  5. An organization that is affiliated with others?
  6. Do you want to live in a retirement community that is part of an organization considered among the industry leaders in utilizing the latest technology to encourage residents to live their lives to the fullest?
  7. Does it matter whether or not the associates/caregivers at the community are educated, talented, compassionate, respectful and happy to come to work and serve you on a daily basis?
  8. What kind of amenities are you seeking?
  9. Do you want to live in a major city, in the suburbs with access to the city, or in a more peaceful, rural setting?
  10. What are the rules regarding guests/visitors?
  11. Are pets allowed?
  12. How important is peace of mind and security to you?
  13. Does the community you are seeking need to be Medicare or Medicaid certified?
  14. What are the entrance fees, monthly fees and services included in those fees?

Researching Senior Living Communities

While reading about senior living communities online or in printed collateral helps provide an idea about what life is like, seeing the community in person and spending time there allows you to truly understand the lifestyle being offered. Schedule some time to visit communities that meet your personal, financial and health care needs. Bring a pad of paper along with a printout of the following questions to take notes while experiencing the community with all your senses. Click here for a printer-friendly copy of these questions.

  • What does the community look like?
    • Are the common areas clean and open?
    • Is the décor fresh and inviting?
    • Are the outside areas well maintained?
    • Are the homes or apartments spacious, updated and have ample storage space?
  • Talk to current employees.
    • Are they helpful?
    • Do they interact well with residents?
    • Are they smiling and friendly?
    • Have they been employed by the community for more than a few months?
  • Does the community appear active with lots of different programs/activities taking place simultaneously?
    • Are there activities you would enjoy?
    • Is off-campus transportation to events and attractions available?
  • Try to arrange to have a meal at the community.
    • How is the dining room?
    • The dining staff service?
    • Did you enjoy the meal?
    • Did you have a variety of menu items to choose from?
  • Talk to current residents.
    • How long have they lived there?
    • What do they like most about the retirement community?
    • What do they dislike?
    • What would they change if they could change one thing?
    • Do they like their caregivers?
    • Do they consider care staff friendly and helpful?
    • Are they enjoying a high quality of life?
    • Do they feel they are maintaining the level of independence they desire?

After you’ve visited multiple communities and taken some time to review your notes, it’s time to evaluate your remaining options. Which communities did you like best? What did you like most about them? What did you dislike about them? Compare your responses and explore as many options as you can before making your decision.

Joyful Living at Franciscan Ministries’ Senior Living Communities

Enjoy a vibrant lifestyle with the right level of care in our senior living communities. We offer a full spectrum of care for seniors at all stages in their lives. Contact us today to learn more about the living options and health services offered from Franciscan Ministries.


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