START YOUR RESEARCH EARLY: Compare the senior communities in your area, so you will feel confident you’ve made the right choice. Begin actively planning where you want to be today, before health problems develop. Don’t feel rushed, but don’t procrastinate, either. Do your research, narrow down your choices, and decide. Determine the kind of lifestyle and health care options you want for yourself. Don’t be one of those people who end up saying, “I wish I hadn’t waited so long.”
DECIDE WHAT SERVICES AND AMENITIES ARE IMPORTANT TO YOU: Make a list of services, amenities, and features that are important to you. Remember: You are not just thinking about today but planning for your future.
VISIT AND TAKE NOTES: Once you have narrowed down your choices, take tours. Can you visualize yourself living in this community? How do the grounds look? Is the staff friendly? Is the environment clean, well-maintained, and nicely appointed?
ASK QUESTIONS: Come prepared with a list of questions. If you don’t ask questions, you won’t be able to make an informed decision. You should feel certain that the staff is answering all of your questions and addressing any concerns you may have.
EVALUATE THE FINANCIAL ARRANGEMENTS: There are a variety of financial arrangements available in senior communities. These might include rentals, equity, and entrance fees. Learn the pros and cons of each. Understand what is included and what is “extra.”
UNDERSTAND THE HEALTH CARE COMPONENT: What levels of care are available? Does the staff seem caring and professional? Are there activities for the residents who are receiving care? What is the community licensed to provide, and what are the costs should care be needed? This is a very important part of your research.
MEET THE RESIDENTS: Are residents like you, with similar interests, hobbies, and personal backgrounds? Can you envision the residents as your neighbors?
DINE AT THE COMMUNITY: The more you can experience the lifestyle, the better. How is the atmosphere in the dining room? Is there a dress code for dinner? Does the menu offer good variety? Is the service attentive? Does the chef accommodate specific dietary requirements? Will you enjoy dining here?
REVIEW PROGRAMS AND ACTIVITIES: Ask for an event calendar to see if there are programs and activities of interest to you. Are there a variety of educational, social, cultural, and fitness programs available? Can residents volunteer within the community? Are special travel opportunities available to residents?
GET YOUR FAMILY AND FRIENDS INVOLVED: If your family or friends can aid you in deciding, ask them to evaluate the top choices you are considering. They may raise questions you haven’t considered.
SEEK THE ADVICE OF A PROFESSIONAL: Utilizing a senior housing advisor can help you narrow down your choices and provide valuable insight about the places you are considering.
(Source: Senior Housing Solutions, Seniors BlueBook)