Whether looking for senior living services for a parent or themselves, I often hear the question, “Where do I begin?” Today, there are so many options to explore that it can get overwhelming. Here is where to start when looking for senior care.
1. Determine your needs and wants.
It can be helpful, especially in the case of couples looking to move, to make a list of what services are required and desired by each individual. For example, if one half of the couple requires dementia care or other specialized care, those needs may trump other desires.
Needs are non-negotiable.
- Most people prefer to stay close to the neighborhood they live in now or move to a location that may be more convenient for family to visit.
- Having access to transportation may be another critical need for some seniors.
- For others, a dining service is important, as they cook for themselves much less than in the past.
Wants are “nice to haves.”
- A beauty shop on site
- The ability to garden
- Underground parking
2. Look short-term and long-term.
Everyone must consider their current circumstances, but also ask what their needs may be several years down the road. There are many communities that cater to independent seniors, but also have access to care and many medical services should that need arise. Many senior communities offer a spectrum of care so that the needs of both spouses can be met.
3. Determine what you can afford.
Moving to a senior living community represents a shift in living that can be difficult for some seniors to work through. For many, it means selling a house and using those proceeds to pay for the years ahead. Whether you rent or own a home, this step requires taking an inventory of finances – your assets and income.
Planning is key. A financial planner or a lawyer familiar with your situation can be of help in this step. By doing this, when you begin touring communities and gathering price information, you’ll be able to quickly determine what is affordable for you and what isn’t.
4. Make a list of questions you need answers to.
Make a list of questions before going for a tour. Doing this will help organize your thoughts, and ensure you’ll walk away with your questions answered which will make the decision making process a lot easier.
5. Talk to a senior housing professional.
There really is no better way to work through this process, than to visit a senior community and ask questions. Senior living services consultants are skilled professionals who can help you determine exactly what is best for your situation.
Such a consultant can guide you to the best outcome. We know it is confusing and if a sudden change of health has prompted action, it can be very stressful. This is why we offer a free consultation service called Laureate Cares. Whether you end up in one of our communities or not, we can help guide you.