What We Learned Visiting Hundreds of Senior Living Communities
The Seniorly Team has visited hundreds of senior housing properties in their quest to consolidate senior care information for families searching online. With their combined experiences, they have truly seen it all.
We are confident that families can get more out of their touring experience by following the tips provided below. In the spirit of transparency, we created this article to share our inside knowledge with the Sixty and Me community.
Media Specialist, Bobak Radbin, has visited most of the communities on the Seniorly platform. He enjoys taking photos and videos of the communities, and speaking with staff members and residents he meets along the way.
His experiences have provided us with a unique glimpse into daily life in senior living communities, allowing us to offer tips and traits to look for when searching for the ideal senior housing community.
Take a Peek at Private Living Spaces in Senior Living Communities
Every community has different guidelines for what to bring into your new living space. Most will provide all the furniture you will need during your stay. Seniorly encourages families to bring mementos such as photographs and books that can help the new space feel like home.
Bobak was happy to share his experience touring communities, stating that “It was nice photographing resident’s rooms and seeing how they would decorate them differently based on their interests.”
If possible, ask to stop by a resident’s room on your tour to get a sense of the type of living space that could become your future home. Picture how you would decorate the space if you were to move in there.
Sample the Food
Probably the biggest differences we’ve noticed from one community to another are the activities offered and the dining options. Many communities offer restaurant-style dining. Others have set menus that change weekly. Some communities include multiple dining options and even cafes within the community. Some offer one central dining room where residents can eat together. On your tour, be sure to stop by and sample some food to learn more about the dining experience at a particular community.
View the Communities’ Activities Schedule
Depending on resident preferences, scheduled activities may include planned day trips, fitness programs, music classes, guest lectures, social hours and movie nights.
While touring, Bobak said “The part that I enjoyed the most was talking to residents and learning about their daily lives. Some had many great stories to tell. I remember speaking with one lady who was really sweet; she was telling me how satisfied she was with her living situation at a community in Los Angeles. She loved being able to spend time with people her age, and get involved in activities offered by the community.”
Checking out housing profiles online can give families a good idea of the culture and lifestyle at certain communities prior to touring. Viewing the community’s activities schedule while visiting is a great way to understand if the culture would be a good fit.
Ask Staff Members How Often Care Plans Are Updated
Many people assume that moving into assisted living means giving up the independence that is so sought-after during retirement. However, that’s not necessarily the case. Communities these days strive to create welcoming, supportive environments where residents can design their own retirement based on care needs and lifestyle preferences.
Deciding to move into a senior housing community is a big step. Providers do their best to nurture relationships with residents. They do this by including doctors, family members, and community staff in the ongoing conversation about care needs. On your tour, ask the community director how often care plans are updated, and what the process entails.
Ask Plenty of Questions About the Senior Living Communities That You Visit
If you’re in the process of searching for senior living options for yourself or a loved one, it’s wise to visit several different communities before making a final decision. On each tour, you will have a chance to speak with staff members and residents.
You can view the activities schedule, taste the food, and learn about special features and amenities offered. This will give you a much better understanding of the everyday life in the community, and help you decide if it would be a good fit. The Seniorly Team recommends that you ask plenty of questions and take notes in order to collect information that will ultimately help you make an informed decision for your family.
What is your biggest misgiving when it comes to considering senior living, either for yourself or a loved one? Is it cost? Stigma? Guilt? Feel free to share your thoughts in the comments below.