Everything You
Wanted To
Know About
Senior Living*

*But were afraid to ask.

We received the following questions from our Facebook followers and wanted to share them with you all. So many seniors considering a move to a senior living community have the same concerns. Hopefully, you will find comfort in the fact that you are not alone!

Sarah P. asked, “How can I convince my mother that it’s time to consider senior living?”  Though you can assist your mother in making that decision, she will need to believe that this is the best option for her at this stage of her life. It may be helpful to gather some brochures and information from a few different senior communities so that you have some visual material to share with your mother. Think about why you feel your mother needs a senior community and share your concerns. If you have a particular community in mind, share some of the outstanding amenities they offer. For example; if I were presenting The Park Danforth to a potential new resident I would tell her about the engaging social and exercise programs, the theater and delicious food as well as 24 hour emergency care and resident support services. I have also worked with families who plan a stay at The Park Danforth for the winter as kind of a “test drive”. This is a good option for someone who is not 100% sure of making a permanent move. 

From Donna H. “My husband and I would love to move to a senior community but after 42 years in the same house the thought downsizing is overwhelming. Do you have any suggestions for downsizing?  Currently there are several TV programs centered around downsizing and reorganizing. There are suggestions to sort all your belongings into 3 piles; “For Donation”, “Sell” and “Keep”. Another downsizing guru suggests you hold each of the things you own and to decide if that object still “Brings you joy”. No matter how you decide to reorganize, it is a time-consuming proposition.  In regards to downsizing prior to a move to a senior living community, I suggest you decide what your essentials are and what items you can not live without. Perhaps you have children or human service agencies that would be interested in the remaining items. Moving to a new, supportive home is a big life change and try not to let “stuff” weigh you down. There are also professionals who are masters at helping you reorganize. Many such individuals can be found easily online. 

“I’d like to move into a senior living community but I am not a millionaire. How can an average person afford a senior living community?” was a question submitted by Henry D.  Affording a senior living community has got to be one of the biggest concerns and, definitely, the most frequently asked question asked by individuals considering senior living. If you are interested in an independent living community there are many that are subsidized by the federal government available in Maine and most states. These subsidized apartments are based on income and worth looking into. Be prepared for lengthy waitlists however, up to a five to seven year waiting period. If you qualify for a federally subsidized apartment and can afford a market rate apartment for at least two years, you can substantially reduce your wait time. Residents already living at The Park Danforth may only wait two years before moving to a subsidized apartment. Contact us for more information.

Karen H. asks “Is it possible to move into a senior community now while Covid19 is still an issue? What would I need to do?” This is very possible. Every senior community will have different requirements but most are accepting new resident move-ins. What these move-in looks like and what is required may differ from community to community. The availability  of in-person tours will also vary from community to community. The Park Danforth is currently offering “Touchless Tours” but may senior complexes are only offering virtual tours. Best advice I can give is to reach out to those communities that you are considering and ask about their touring and move-in policies. 

Dorothy B. is also concerned about affordability and asks “My mother needs more supervision but I’m not sure if Assisted Living or Independent Living would be more appropriate. I also don’t know if assisted living is even an option. It is so expensive! How do people afford Assisted Living?” In Maine, if you qualify, you can receive Maine Care to assist you with the cost of living at an assisted living community. You can apply for long term Maine Care through DHHS (Department of Health & Human Services). Applications are available online at https://www.maine.gov/dhhs/sites/maine.gov.dhhs/files/inline-files/LTCApplication.pdf . In addition to a Maine Care application, a health assessment 
must also be completed with Maximus. You can schedule an assessment by calling them at 1 (833) 525-5784. Be prepared, as it can be a lengthy process. Also, there are limited Maine Care funded assisted living opportunities  available.

Our last question of the day came from Stanley B. who was concerned about making friends and continuing his involvement as a volunteer once he moved into a senior living community, “I’ve been looking at moving to an independent living community but I’m afraid I won’t make friends and will have to give up some of the things I enjoy doing outside my home. Can I still work or volunteer if I move into a senior community?” Absolutely! Think of your independent living apartment as a home base with a few supports. You can continue to work or volunteer or take classes or attend meetings…..virtually any activities that you are currently involved in can continue once you move to a senior community. Many of the residents at The Park Danforth are involved in volunteer programs in the greater Portland community or continue to work. Moving to a senior community does not mean ending the things you enjoy but will provide you with more time to be involved in the things you love to do!

Thanks to all of you that submitted questions. Hopefully, you will find this information helpful. If you are interested in more general information, please visit our Decision Making Guide on this website. For more information regarding The Park Danforth specifically, feel free to contact us or enjoy perusing this website!