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How to Find the Best Senior Living Community

Man helping elderly parents research senior living facilities

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This guest post was provided by mylivingchoice.com, which serves as an online directory to help seniors find quality senior living in their local areas. Learn more about their offering at mylivingchoice.com.

August 10, 2021 Senior Care

Searching for the “best senior living near me” on Google can bring up a lot of results. When it comes time to choose a senior living community for you or your loved one, it’s not a decision that should be made quickly or with little thought or consideration. This transition is undoubtedly a major life event that can seem overwhelming and leave you emotional or stressed out, even if you’ve planned ahead.

However, you can overcome some of this anxiety by doing a little research in advance and asking yourself a few basic questions. After all, not all senior living communities are the same, nor do they specialize in the same types of care and offer the same types of amenities and features.

Before making a final selection, be sure to review these factors to consider when looking for the right future home for you or your loved one.

Types of Senior Living Communities

When it comes to choosing a senior living community, one of the first things you need to discern is what level of care you or your loved one needs. Although there are several types of senior living facilities, these are among the most common.

Independent Senior Living: The goal of independent senior living communities is to remove the burden of owning your own home so you can focus on your interests and hobbies as well as your emotional and physical health. In this type of community, you also have the opportunity to make new friends and become a part of a larger community.

Assisted Living: With assisted living facilities, residents live in apartments and are mobile, but they need some assistance with certain tasks, such as personal care, meals, and, oftentimes, medication. Although assisted living does not provide skilled medical care like a continuing care retirement community (CCRC), the community, along with the resident’s family, can help coordinate for a medical provider to come.

Memory Care: For individuals with issues like Alzheimer’s or dementia, choosing a facility that specializes in memory care will make a world of difference. In these communities, round-the-clock staff are highly trained to manage the complexities that come along with memory loss and cognitive decline. If your loved one has this type of ailment, make sure you choose a community that specializes in memory care.

Respite Care: If you are the primary caregiver for your loved one, it can be difficult to find the right person to help take your place when you need to travel or take time off. With respite care, you can interview and hire trained individuals for both short-term and long-term care. This process will give you peace of mind and allow your loved one to stay at home in their normal, everyday environment while you are away.

Questions to Find the Right Fit

What you or your loved one wants from a senior living community might not be what the next person wants or needs, and that’s okay! Everyone is different, and the key is finding a residence that checks off as many of your boxes as possible. Here are some questions you should ask before choosing a senior living facility:

What size apartment is best? Does the floor plan work well for me?
The size and floor plan of the residence are especially important to keep in mind if you have mobility issues or if you use a cane or walker. Also, if you are bringing your own furniture, you’ll want to make sure your new home can house your favorite possessions.

Where is the facility located? Is it close to my family, my doctor, and/or my church? Am I familiar with the area?
Since this is a big life change, you’ll want some things to remain the same. That’s why keeping the location in mind is imperative. Staying accessible to your family, your doctor, and other people and places you value will help keep some normalcy and structure in your life, even as you transition to a new residence.

What amenities does the community offer? Do they have an indoor pool or gym? Do they offer community classes or planned activities?
If being involved in the community and staying active is a high priority for you, make sure you ask these questions when looking for your next home. Socializing and exercising are both crucial for staying mentally and physically healthy, so it’s important for you to know what options are available at the facility you choose.

Tour the Facility

Similar to buying a house or sending your kids off to college, you’ll want to tour a senior living community before you commit. Walk around, see firsthand what you do and do not like, and take the opportunity to ask questions. Even if you’ve read dozens of reviews about the top senior living communities in your area, nothing is quite like visiting it in person and experiencing it for yourself.

While you’re there, don’t just talk to the staff. It’s their job to sell their community and always put their best foot forward. Strike up a conversation with some of the residents, ask about their thoughts and opinions, and get a real feel for what the community is like. Make sure you feel totally confident and comfortable with the place you are choosing for you or your loved one.

My Living Choice

With all these factors in mind, you can kick off your search by checking out the user-friendly directory at mylivingchoice.com and begin browsing the top senior living communities in your area.

Begin by choosing what type of care you need, and then select your city. This will pull up a map that shows facilities near you, and each facility is denoted by a red marker. Hover over the red marker to see a quick view of a specific facility or click on the marker to read more in depth.

When you take a closer look, you can access important contact information for that facility, such as the address, phone number, and primary contact person, as well as an organized list of the amenities offered at the facility, such as whether it is pet friendly and if it offers planned activities. Reading through these descriptions and amenities will give you a great overview of the facility as a whole and will help you determine whether it might be a good fit for you and your needs.

Photo galleries are also available for each facility, allowing you to take a quick glance at the rooms and features. While these galleries are no replacement for a physical tour, browsing through the images will serve as a first impression. Plus, knowing what a place looks like in advance will certainly help you narrow down your list of choices.

From there, you can reach out to the facilities you’re interested in to set up a tour and be on your way to choosing the right senior living community for you or your loved one.

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