senior living tour

How to Start the Search for a Senior Living Community

Whether you are starting the search for a senior living community for  yourself or a loved one out of curiosity, a need has arisen, or you just want a plan in place, you’ve come to the right place. Reading this article is a great first step as you  begin your search.  

Below are some simple tips  to help you prepare for what’s to come:

Know What You Need. Not everyone who lives in senior living has the same wants and needs. Make an objective list of services and support you think you need – both current and anticipated. Maintaining independence, getting help with bathing and dressing, managing medication, maximizing safety – knowing upfront what’s needed can help define budget and choice. 

Establish a Budget. How much can be spent on senior living each month? Many of your current homeowner expenses will be included in monthly fees – meals, utilities, and taxes, for example. And as you’re planning, be mindful of other financial resources that can help, such as long-term care insurance, or Medicaid. Don’t overlook any resources that can help you and your family. 

Determine a Location. The real estate mantra – location, location, location – applies. Is it meaningful to stay close to the current neighborhood? Is being close to a major medical center important? Or is a move in order to reposition seniors for the sake of adult children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren? Which location is “it”? 

List Desires. What are the “must-have” services and amenities? Your list should include whatever is non-negotiable in making this move – a community that accepts pets or offers a comprehensive wellness program, for example. You should also create a “wish list” of everything hoped for, such as a fitness center, library, salon, or chapel. 

Visit Websites. Search online for senior living communities in the desired location. The community’s website should describe services and amenities, the continuum of care available, and life enrichment programs. Some communities also provide general information about successful aging, caregiver support and senior living. Make a list of the communities you’d like to know more about – or visit. 

Check Out Their Facebook Page. Look up the Facebook page for each community that interests you. Read the comments. Look at the photos. See what you can learn about lifestyle, residents, activities, programs – even the quality of dining. 

Ask Around. Anyone who’s been through the process – whether it was for themselves or on behalf of a loved one – can usually offer helpful insights. Similarly, you can often find good information and advice from a trusted family physician. Ask friends, family, colleagues – and you may discover ideas you haven’t thought about and information you need to know. 

Make Preliminary Contact. Shorten a long list of potential communities by phoning or emailing. Prepare a list of questions, based on the identified needs, desires and budget. Preliminary contact can trim your list, while also making it clear which communities will be important to visit in person. Get any brochures or informational packets they offer. 

Visit. An in-person visit pays huge dividends when it comes to making an informed decision. Here’s what to watch for: How do residents and staff interact? What’s the mood of the community? Are residents actively engaged, sitting quietly or out of sight? Do you see safety features such as handrails, grab bars and emergency call systems? Is it clean? Does it feel like a place you could call home? Are you greeted promptly and with friendliness? Ask questions and take notes – and consider bringing along a friend or relative so you can join forces to observe everything. 

Review and Revisit. After completing the initial round of community visits, review your notes and observations. Narrow your list a little more by identifying which communities are good options and which you’d like to eliminate. Schedule a new round of visits to your shortened list of communities, making sure you return to each community at a different time than your last visit – even consider visiting evenings and weekends. It’s helpful to see the community during the times when senior management isn’t on site. 

Consult an Expert. Seek professional advice from your accountant, attorney, or even physicians. Don’t go it alone. The paperwork can often seem daunting and overwhelming. Make sure you understand the details before you sign anything. 

When it’s time to move into your preferred senior living community, you’ll feel prepared and comfortable. In fact, after doing your research, you may even feel empowered by the decision-making process! 

If you are interested in learning more about Noble Horizons and everything we offer, please call, email, or even set up your own private tour today! 

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