How to Decide on a Senior Living Community When Considering the Transition to Decide on a Senior Living Community When Considering the Transition

Over 810,000 seniors across the United States are currently living in senior communities. While the concept is still somewhat new, it is indeed popular. Having a community specifically designed for seniors to help with the adaptation of different age-related challenges can give seniors and their families peace of mind. Oftentimes, letting go of a family home can be difficult, or moving into a new area in general.

Ultimately though, it can make things easier, is often low-maintenance, and ensures safety and security which is one of the top benefits that drives seniors toward this option. While seniors living in Florida may be considering making this transition, they may be wondering what a senior living community actually is, how to determine if it’s the right choice for them, and how to make the transition simpler if they do decide to make the move. 

Keep reading as we talk about everything you need to know about senior living communities.

How to Determine if a Senior Living Community Is the Right Choice for You

Determining if a senior living community is right for you can be simpler than you’d think. There are a few specific things that you will want to consider as you’re assessing your options. The best place to start is figuring out what you want to get the most out of a move. This means considering safety, pet-friendliness, proximity to family and friends, and even if they provide transportation services.  

Every senior’s decision process will be different and should focus on not just your needs but your wants as well. The important thing to remember is that a senior living community isn’t too different from a regular neighborhood. The main difference is that it was specifically designed for seniors which means that situations and conditions that seniors often experience were taken into consideration in the design of these communities. They are essentially made to make the lives of seniors easier, and safer, and to provide seniors with an even better quality of life and enjoyment.

The Top 8 Things to Look For in a Senior Community

1. Affordability

Determining your budget along with your needs and wants is the best place to start on your decision journey. This will give you a range that you can start within and also keep you from going too far out of. Overall, once your budget is determined, you can start to narrow down your search based on the amenities that you need and prefer.

2. Proximity to Family and Friends

At least 55% of adults in the U.S. live around an hour from family but this isn’t always the case. You should consider how close you would like to be to your family and friends as family ties are important especially if you are used to being within a close proximity to your loved ones. Being closer to family and friends can also help with reducing anxiety about this type of move if you do have any reservations.

3. Access to Healthcare

Access to healthcare is important especially if you have certain conditions that you work to maintain daily. Oftentimes, senior communities will have multiple services available to residents. Some may offer on-site nursing or medical staff and others may contract medical transport services to be on-call for the facility. 

Under the same umbrella though, not all facilities will have these options so you should determine the proximity of the community to hospitals, doctor’s offices, pharmacies, and any other healthcare organizations that you use regularly or may need to be close to.

4. Transportation Options

Some seniors may not be avid drivers and this is one reason that transportation services shouldn’t go overlooked. Services provided by the facility will often be much safer than using public transportation services or rideshares so don’t forget to inquire about this when you tour different facilities.

5. Social and Recreational Opportunities

A little less than 30% of seniors between 65 and 74 aren’t active at all or as much as they used to be. This is another reason to ensure there are recreational opportunities and a fitness center in the community that you decide on. Fitness helps to strengthen our bones and muscles and also helps to reduce the risk of diseases. Having options like this and also having it right within your neighborhood could lead to a healthier and more active lifestyle. 

Social opportunities are just as important and many senior living communities in Florida may feature clubs and events that cater to a variety of interests making it the perfect opportunity to meet new people, find a creative outlet, or learn a new skill.

6. Housing Options

While many of the housing options or unit layouts will be similar, there will often still be different designs. This means that you will have different unit choices to better meet what you want in a home whether that’s the overall layout, a certain area within the neighborhood, or even finishes within the unit itself. 

7. Safety and Security

Safety should always be a top priority. While many senior living communities are either gated or have on-site security or contracted companies that patrol a few times a day, it’s never a bad idea to specifically ask the community representative or manager what safety precautions they take. Also, don’t forget to ask if the individual units have their own alarm systems or some type of security measures.

8. Good Reputation

Reputation is everything so, before you waste a trip to a senior living community, look at their reviews first. If you know someone that currently lives in a place that you’re interested in or someone that used to live there, ask them questions about the community. 

If the reviews are good and there is nothing that was told to you via word-of-mouth that raised concerns, visit the community. While there, don’t shy away from asking residents what they truly think about the property. Don’t just ask about the living areas and social areas. Ask about their experience, and their interactions with staff and neighbors, and ask if anyone has experienced any security concerns. 

Tips for Simplifying the Transition 

When debating the transition to a senior living community, consider a few tips to make the process simpler:

  • Start by doing your research and looking at different communities in the area. This will give you a better idea of what’s available and what each community has to offer.
  • Take your time in making a decision. Don’t feel like you have to rush into anything.
  • Include your family in the decision-making process. They will be the ones supporting you through the transition and it’s important to have their input.
  • Choose a community that you feel comfortable with and that meets your needs and your wants and if you have pets, ensure that the community is pet-friendly and offers amenities for your pet as well.
  • Once you’ve chosen a community, take some time to visit and get to know the staff and other residents.
  • Make sure to pack any items that will help you feel at home in your new community, such as photographs, favorite books, or mementos. Remember, this type of community isn’t too much different than any other, so make your new home feel like exactly that….a home.
  • Have an open mind and be willing to try new things. A senior living community can offer many new opportunities and experiences.

Making the Leap Can Be a Good Thing

While there may be challenges or reservations regarding a move into a senior living community, taking your time and going over what makes you feel comfortable, safe, excited, and at ease will make the process simpler. If you are a senior living in Florida, you will have plenty of options for picturesque communities, those with tons of amenities, activities, and interior features, and even those that may set the bar higher than you initially set it. The best place to start is to include your family, and maybe even your friends as you figure out what your next big step will be.

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