You’ve had “The Talk” with your loved one about making plans for their long term care and they’ve agreed to consider it. Congratulations, that’s a huge step in the right direction! The question is, now what? It’s time to research senior living options that work best for them. We can help make this process much easier by walking you through just how to go about it. Check out these tips.
Start by Assessing Your Loved One’s Needs
Often, families jump right into online searches to identify senior living communities in the area and go from there. We’d actually recommend holding off on that until you first identify what your loved one needs out of senior living. The reason? Senior living communities today have so many bells and whistles it’s easy to get your heart set on one before realizing they offer an entirely different level of care than is needed. It can lead to frustration for everyone and if your loved one isn’t entirely sold on senior living anyway, could sour them on the idea altogether. Instead, consider where things stand now with your loved one by assessing what’s prompting you to consider senior living in the first place:
- Are there any health issues, concerns or recent health scares?
- Do you have concerns about your loved one’s social and emotional wellbeing?
- Are there any cognitive challenges or concerns?
- Are there any mobility challenges or concerns?
- Do they have trouble performing daily activities and tasks independently?
- Can they still maintain the house and/or yard?
- Are you worried about proper nutrition and/or how they manage their medications?
- Does your loved one still drive? Should they be?
- Are there safety issues in your loved one’s home (fall risks, etc.)?
- Are family members dealing with caregiver stress?
Senior Living Options
Based on your loved one’s needs you can now identify the level of care that would fit them best. Many families don’t realize that senior living actually offers a continuum of care so the experience is more individualized with options that include:
Independent Living — This experience is designed for seniors who don’t require daily assistance, but are seeking an active, social community that frees them from the hassle of chores and home upkeep with features that include:
- A range of accommodations and floor plans from which to choose
- Maintenance-free living with restaurant-style dining, housekeeping, laundry services and scheduled transportation
- A monthly calendar filled with social opportunities, activities and outings
- Amenities can include concierge services, a pool, fitness center, library and onsite salon
Assisted Living — An experience similar to independent living but with the addition of onsite care and assistance with daily activities that offer just enough support to empower each resident’s independence. Residents enjoy:
- Personalized care with bathing, dressing, eating and medication as well as onsite medical care if needed
- A welcoming environment with the warm comforts of home minus the hassles of home upkeep, cooking, cleaning and yard maintenance
- Features typically include spacious accommodations and 24-hour supervision as well as transportation, plus amenities such as a pool, fitness center and onsite beauty salon
- Daily opportunities to socialize and engage through of scheduled programs, activities and outings
Memory Care — A supportive and nurturing experience exclusively designed for those with Alzheimer’s disease or other types of dementia that features:
- Staff specifically trained in memory care including communication strategies and techniques for navigating challenging behaviors
- 24-hour supervision and a comfortable yet secure environment with floor plans that are easy to navigate
- Therapy, structured activities and programs with social opportunities
- Accommodations that include private or semi-private rooms as well as housekeeping and laundry service and emergency call systems
Your Loved One’s Wants for Senior Living
This is where those bells and whistles we mentioned above come in. Once you’ve narrowed down the level of care your loved one needs, you’re ready to think about what they really want out of the experience – what will help them thrive! And this is often an area in which communities really differentiate themselves. The checklist below includes some of the most popular offerings in senior living, but certainly add your own as well. Keep in mind that meals, housekeeping, scheduled transportation, maintenance and activities should already be included in the monthly fee.
|Washer/dryer in apartment|
|Balcony or patio|
|Plenty of storage|
|Choice of dining venues|
|Outdoor spaces/walking paths|
|Clubs, classes, activities that fit variety of interests|
|24-hour onsite care|
|Customized service plans|
|Can accommodate special dietary needs|
|Emergency Call Technology|
|Emergency Preparedness Plan|
Check out our recent Facebook Live Q&A event, “It is time to have THE TALK? Tough Conversations with Aging Loved Ones,” or contact us today to speak to an advisor or schedule a tour →