5 Easy Ways to Start Your Senior Living Search

1. Talk to your doctor.

It’s important that both your lifestyle and your healthcare needs are met by a senior living community. Talking to your doctor could help you discern what level of care you might need. With your doctor, it may help to make a list of your chronic conditions and to then bring your list with you to prospective communities. That way, you can better find out how that community’s care programs can address your particular needs. Your doctor may also be able to recommend communities that they trust.

For tips on how to start this conversation with your doctor, see our YouTube series here.

2. Make a wish list.

With so many options, choosing a senior living community can feel like a daunting decision. Instead of beginning your search by finding out what’s out there, it may be helpful to begin by finding out what you want. For example, your wish list might include items such as pets being allowed, a desirable apartment size, a location close to family or your doctor, a certain level of care recommended by your doctor, and activities that fit your interests. By making a wish list, you may be able to narrow your options down to choices that can better accommodate you.

3. Check social media.

Social media can be a great tool for getting an unfiltered glimpse at social life in a senior living community. Many senior living communities post pictures and videos of resident programming, activities and social events on their pages. Social media can also provide insight into resident quality of life. To see what residents are posting from a senior living community, we recommend finding a community’s Instagram or Facebook page and navigating to their tagged images.

4. Schedule a visit during an activity of interest.

Here’s where that wish list you made may come in handy. Now that you’ve decided which activities and programs you want in a senior living community, it might be time to see the community for yourself firsthand. If you have found that you must have art classes, yoga classes or lecture series, for example, schedule a tour while these are going on. By scheduling your tour so that you can attend one of your activities of interest, you can get a better feel for the quality of instruction, resident participation and whether you will really enjoy it. To plan a visit, you can call a community of interest and inquire about activity scheduling.

5. Designate a note taker and observe the staff.

While you are touring your prospective new home, you likely don’t want to be bogged down by annotating your visit. However, this doesn’t make note-taking any less important. Instead of fumbling with a pencil and paper yourself, ask a family member or friend who is more comfortable multitasking  to come along and help you out. This can be a great way to include concerned loved ones in your decision and to also free yourself up to truly take in the community and observe the staff. It may be helpful to pay attention to staff attitudes, staff-to-staff interactions, and how well acquainted they seem with residents to determine if this is the kind of team you want caring for you.

For more tips on starting your senior living search, see our YouTube series.

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