By: Darleen Mahoney
Are you searching for senior housing for yourself or a loved one? Are you pre-planning for your future and would like a few tips in the right direction to make sure that you are set when the time comes to make that jump to retirement living? Are you realizing its very tough to navigate with all the options, budgets, locations and what levels of care senior communities offer their residents?
Here are some tips to get you started to make sure that you are headed in the right direction and you cover all your bases in clearing out the senior housing “clutter”:
- Know what type of housing you need-this is by far the first and most important step. Knowing what you want now and will need down the road based on current medical conditions is key. There are many types of senior housing and facilities available including the following:
- Retirement Communities
- Continuing Care Communities
- Assisted Living Communities with Skilled Nursing
- Memory Care Facilities
- Home Care
- Budget– Knowing how much you will have available to spend on living expenses each month will be the next biggest factor. The price ranges vary significantly based on a variety of factors. You may be able to include meals, utilities, and taxes with your monthly senior living expense. You also need to do some in depth research into the financial resources that are available to you and can help. There may be financial assistance such as long-term care insurance or benefits for veterans and their surviving spouses.
- Location– Are you planning on staying close to home to be near your family or considering a move to popular retirement mecca’s? There are areas of the country that are hot spots for active adults who retire to their vacation destinations or seek to retire in locations where the landscape is optimal, beaches are nearby, and the weather is more to their liking for their retirement options.
- Must Haves– What do you want in senior housing? Regardless of whether you are looking into active adult to memory care, there are many options that you should not only prioritize, but find out what they may be. There should be a list of non-negotiable items that you must have and a “wish list”. They may include social activities, housing design, meal plans, to levels of skilled nursing care available.
- Websites– Beginning your search online for senior living communities in the location that you have determined with the senior living community or facility that you would like to live in can give you a bird’s eye view of what is available to you in one place. If you would like a simple search solution online, a website like seniorlivingguide.com has most senior living communities and facilities in a one stop website offering you the option to look at each individual community within one website. You are able to learn about their amenities, services, the levels of care available, visit their social media and save each individuals community information to your favorites. You are also able to go directly to their website to contact them to find out more information and schedule a visit. It will save you time and confusion from visiting multiple websites with multiple search queries.
- Facebook– It’s important to visit an individual communities Facebook page. You can look at of their photos and engagement with their posts. It gives you a good idea of the activities and general interaction with the staff that is going on in the community.
- Visit– Go visit the community in person, it might be advantageous to take a friend or family member. Take mental notes and even write them down of how the residents and the staff interact with each other. What is the general feeling that you get while you are in the community? Are residents active? Are they engaged? Or are they sitting quietly and out of sight? What types of safety measures are taking place, do you feel like the community/facility is clean? Can you envision yourself living there?
- Review and Review– Once you have narrowed down your best options, continue to review them with pros and cons. Double check the online reviews as well before making your final decision.
- Consult an Attorney– Always seek the advice of legal counsel, this type of commitment can be complicated, and mistakes can be very expensive. Legal counsel can help you navigate the retirement community contracts so that you understand your contract before you sign anything.
While this is not a simple process, it is an important to make sure that you follow each step to ensure that you make the right decision. Whether you are moving into an active adult community in sunny Florida where you dream of drinking pina coladas ocean side or Texas or California or staying in your hometown where you raised your family, or a memory care facility for your loved one, senior housing should be well thought out and well planned.