Did you know there are approximately 24,500 senior housing and care properties in the United States? And within these housing options, there are even more types of care and living options available. With all these choices, it can be daunting and confusing to choose the right community and care for yourself or a family member, especially if you’re unfamiliar with the senior living industry.
HarborChase Senior Living offers independent living, assisted living, and memory care services at resort-style communities across the United States. We know how overwhelming it can be to start the senior living search, so we’ve created this guide to help you and your family navigate this process. Here are some questions you should ask yourself when beginning the senior living search.
1. “What Type of Care is Needed?”
One of the first steps in selecting a senior living community is determining which lifestyle option is appropriate. HarborChase offers a spectrum of care options that vary in level of support, assistance, and services.
Independent Living: This type of lifestyle is ideal for older adults looking for a community of peers and neighbors. Independent living at HarborChase is similar to living in a resort with added features such as amenities, activities, and dining venues.
Assisted Living: Assisted living is for individuals who need an additional layer of support during the day. Residents enjoy the same benefits as those living in independent living but with personalized assistance with activities of daily living.
Memory Care: This type of care is designed for those with dementia or other forms of memory loss. Individuals receive personalized care combined with engaging mental and physical activities.
Knowing what type of care you or your family member needs can help you narrow down your search for the right community. Other questions to ask yourself during this stage include:
- “How do we know it’s time to consider care?” Find out.
- “What are the benefits of in-home care vs. community care?” Find out.
- “What do we do if Mom and Dad have different care needs?” Find out.
2. “What is Our Budget?”
Determining a budget can significantly narrow down your search and give you a more realistic understanding of your options. Consider all monthly expenses, including rent or mortgage, food, maintenance, and any other subscriptions or fees, to establish a budget.
It’s important to remember that a senior living community will have features and amenities that will replace these monthly charges, so take that into consideration when looking at prices. Also, don’t forget supplemental resources that could help with costs, including VA benefits and supplemental security income.
3. “What Do We Need and Want in a Community?”
Once you’ve decided your budget and level of care, it’s time to make a list of your “must-haves” in a community. Does it need to be close to a hospital or airport? Does it need to be pet-friendly? Do you want to be closer to family?
Write down a list of your most essential features and reference it as you research online and in-person. Make notes about things that may be negotiable or different than you expected.
4. “What Are Other People Saying?”
As with any big purchase or decision, it can be beneficial to ask around and see if anyone you know has gone through a similar situation and has thoughts or opinions about their own experience.
If you don’t know anyone, you can always read online reviews and directories to get a feel for your options. Most communities will also post photos on their social media about what life is like at the community.
5. “What is the Community Like in Person?”
Once you have narrowed down your search to four or five options, you can start scheduling in-person tours of the communities (where applicable). As much research as you can do online, nothing will give you a better feel of the community than seeing it in person. You’ll be able to see first-hand the spaces and apartments, the activity rooms, the way the residents and staff interact, and the presence of any safety features.
Touring a community can help you more realistically picture yourself or your family member living there.
6. “Where Will Be Your New Home?”
If you have 2-3 communities that you are interested in, contact them about the next steps. Some communities will be move-in ready, while others may have a waitlist, which can impact your decision. If immediate care is needed, i.e., for a loved one with Alzheimer’s, you may not be able to wait to move in.
After all the research, evaluation, and tours, it’s time to finally make a decision. At this point, you will have plenty of information to base your decision on, and sometimes, you just know.
Moving to a senior living community is a significant life change, so taking the time and energy to find the right community is vital. HarborChase Senior Living has communities in 14 (and counting!) states throughout the country, offering different levels of support to cater to the needs of every unique individual.
If you have any questions about starting the senior living search or navigating the transition, we invite you to contact us!