The cost of rent, staff expertise, amenities and activities, living conditions, and more — there are a lot of factors to consider when searching for the right senior living community for yourself or a loved one.
Whether you’re currently looking or are about to start the process, it’s important to compare your options. Here are some key questions to ask your prospective communities and what you should look for to make sure you choose the right one.
How To Find the Best Senior Living Community for You
Step 1: Narrow Your Search
The first step in finding your new community is to narrow your search by deciding what city and state you want to live in. This will make it much easier to find the right fit. Some older adults wish to continue living in their current city, while many others may venture out to a new place for a fresh start. Due to its favorable tax breaks for retirees, vibrant arts and culture scene and beautiful weather and scenery, a lot of seniors choose Florida as their next destination.
Step 2: Conduct Research
You want to make sure the community you choose is within your budget, provides great care and lines up with your lifestyle. Search senior living communities in your desired city and make a list. Compare the cost of living in one community to living in your own home or in a different community.
Look at each community’s online reviews and testimonials and ask if they have any references you’d be able to speak to. Talking to current residents or their families will give you more insight into what living there will actually be like.
Step 3: Schedule a Tour
Once you’ve found the top-rated senior living communities in your desired area, schedule a tour to get a first-hand look at life there. Ask if there are any apartments available to look at that are similar to what you’ll be living in.
While you’re touring each community, you’ll want to take note of everything you see. Ensure the building’s interior and exterior, landscaping and grounds are well-maintained and clean. Take in the environment and make sure it’s accessible and easy to navigate. Make note of how the community’s staff members treat their residents and one another. Look around to see if the residents seem happy, comfortable and well-cared-for.
After you’ve toured a community, write down how it made you feel. The right community should make you feel calm, confident, welcome and excited for your next adventure.
Step 4: Ask the Right Questions and Track Their Answers
As you’re evaluating each community, you’ll want to ask specific questions about the community’s culture, resident care and rental requirements to get a better idea of their offerings. We recommend coming prepared to every tour with a list of important questions and tracking each community’s answers. That way, when it’s time to compare your options it will be that much easier.
Isolation and loneliness are sadly a common issue that many older adults face — and one that’s linked to serious health risks. Opportunities to socialize and build relationships within your community are critical to your mental health and overall quality of life. In addition to encouraging a tight-knit senior community, you want to make sure the one you choose offers amenities that you will enjoy.
- What activities are available to residents?
- What kind of amenities do you provide to your residents?
- What services do you offer to residents?
- What kind of dining options and food do you have available? How is the food quality?
- What is the visitor policy? Are there certain hours that family and friends are allowed to visit?
- Are you a not-for-profit or for-profit senior living community?
- How do you help residents adjust to their new community?
- What does a typical day look like in this community?
- How do you handle resident feedback, complaints or concerns?
Resident Care, Health and Safety
The health, safety and care of every resident should be the community’s top priority. You’ll want to make sure they have procedures and precautions in place to guarantee the well-being of their residents.
- What safety precautions do you have in place to keep residents safe?
- Do you have specific cleaning guidelines and protocols in place? How have you adjusted these in response to COVID-19?
- Are there on-site medical facilities and staff?
- What healthcare services do you have available on campus?
- Are there care options available 24/7 in case of emergency?
- Do the rooms have safety measures such as alert buttons or pull cords?
- Do you have emergency response plans in place?
- What certifications and qualifications do your healthcare staff have?
- Are your buildings built to withstand certain weather conditions (for example, hurricanes)?
- Does the community have a generator if it were to lose power?
- What security measures do you have in place?
- What kind of background checks do you run on your staff?
- What training and qualifications do your security staff have?
- Do you have a system in place to make sure each resident is accounted for? What does that process look like?
- How does your security staff guarantee the safety of the community?
- How often does the security team run security checks?
- What does the incident response process look like?
- How do you keep the buildings in your community secure?
- What levels of care do you provide for your residents? Do you offer a continuum of care?
- Is there a written plan of care tailored to each resident, when appropriate? If there is, how often are these plans reviewed?
- What do you do to promote your resident’s mental and physical health (exercise, nutritious foods, fitness classes, learning activities, etc.)?
It’s important to know each community’s rental details and policies as these can be the deciding factors in your decision.
- Do you charge an entrance fee?
- What kind of floor plans do you offer?
- Do you offer seasonal rental options?
- What is included in the rent (utilities, housekeeping, lawn care, amenities, etc.)?
- How often and in what way will rent be paid? Is there a grace period?
- What is your pet policy?
- Is there an age requirement to live here?
- Are residents able to have roommates?
- Are couples able to live in this community?
The community’s staff should be able to answer all of your questions clearly and effectively. Don’t be afraid to ask questions and dig deeper if their answers aren’t sufficient — after all, you want to be absolutely certain that you’re choosing the right community.
How to Choose a Senior Living Community
After you’ve conducted your research and toured each senior community, it’s time to make a decision. One of the most important ways to ensure the long-term comfort of yourself or a loved one is to choose a community that offers a full continuum of care. This allows residents to age in place with ease, and saves them the stress and trouble of moving should their care needs change.
In addition, the community you select should have thorough precautions that protect its residents as seniors are highly vulnerable to health and safety threats. They should also offer a well-rounded, diverse selection of services, amenities and activities. Choose a not-for-profit community to guarantee that their decisions will always be in the best interest of the community.
Make Aviva Senior Living Your Community of Choice
At Aviva Senior Living, we believe that everyone has something special to add to our community, and it’s our mission to help our residents flourish. We are an accredited, not-for-profit senior living community that doesn’t require buy-in.
What’s more, residents of Aviva get to experience a wide range of services and amenities such as complimentary transportation, a premium fitness center, housekeeping, room service and more. We also offer various community activities such as classes, programs and events to give seniors the opportunity to learn something new or enjoy a favorite pastime. With highly trained healthcare and security staff and thorough health and safety precautions, we are always there to keep our residents safe.