The first step is shopping for your senior living community is realizing that it you have the need and/or interest. Not everyone of a certain age is necessarily interested in moving to a senior living community. Some potential reasons for considering senior living are:
- Need for support- As we age some of our daily activities can become more difficult. Moving to a senior community can provide support with housekeeping, laundry, meal preparation, etc. At The Park Danforth, our Personal Support Home Care offers everything from help with housekeeping to fixing a light meal. If you need assistance with medication administration, consider an assisted living program such as Clark’s Terrace at The Park Danforth.
- Move closer to family- Moving to a senior community can help locate you closer to family without moving “in” with family and maintaining your independence.
- Financial – Living in a senior community can be less expensive than maintaining a private home.
- Change in marital status- Quite often people over 65 consider a move to a senior living community when they lose a spouse.
- Socialization – The number one cause of depression amongst senior citizens is a lack of socialization. Moving to a senior community can provide the socialization and stimulation needed to keep you engaged.
- Convenience– Accomplishing everything that you need to everyday can be a challenge. Living in a senior community, where services and amenities are at your fingertips, is another reason senior living is appealing to some.
Whatever your reason, there is a process for finding the senior living community that is right for you. Here are some things to consider:
- Give yourself some time – Any big life decisions should not be made in haste. Which community you decide to live in certainly falls into this category. If you start looking now, even before you are ready to make the move, you will have all the time you need to make an informed decision. Most of the people I begin speaking with, about The Park Danforth, do not see themselves making the move for at least six months to a year. Giving yourself the time to gather information and do the necessary shopping is a wonderful luxury! Take advantage of it! Too many seniors put it off until such time that they either need to make a quick decision or can’t fully enjoy the amenities that come with living in a community such as The Park Danforth. In either case, it is likely that you will end up settling for a community you wouldn’t otherwise have chosen.
- Ask the right questions– Think about the things that are important to you and make a list of questions you want to ask a representative at the community which you are shopping. Once your list is complete (you will find you add questions as time passes….and that’s OK!), note which of your items may be a deal breaker. Do you have a cuddly fur child that must live with you? Do you require a washer and dryer in your apartment? Do you prefer a first-floor apartment? All of these could potentially be a deal breaker. I know that many of the people I speak with who are considering Senior Living need to know that they will be able to stay in one community despite changes in their financial resources or their care needs. Though there is no such thing as a guarantee, The Park Danforth can create a plan for incoming residents based on their financial resources and offering a “path” for qualifying individuals which could include a government subsidized apartment in the future. Assisted Living is also an option for those residents requiring more support.
- The Right Personality – Just like we all have our own personality, each senior living community will feel different. It can be more difficult to get an accurate impression of a community’s personality during this time. Social isolation and limited opportunities to see a senior community in person makes this more difficult. The more time you spend interacting with a community’s representative, the more likely you are to get a good sense of what a senior community is like. Opportunities to visit and tour communities are beginning to open up. Take advantage of these opportunities and pay attention to what you are seeing, hearing and most importantly feeling.
- Do residents living there seem happy? If residents seem unhappy, there is probably good reason.
- Do staff also seem to like working there? Ask if the staff turns over regularly. Staff coming and going could be a red flag.
- Does it appear that Covid-19 precautions are in place? Covid-19 precautions can be a good indicator of the level of care a community takes with their residents.
- To the common spaces appear clean and well kept? Cleanliness is important especially now.
- What does the community smell like? If the community you are touring smells like pumpkin spice or some other chemically enhanced smell, it could be covering up a less desirable odor.
- Does the person conducting the tour seem to have your best interest in mind or are you feeling pressured to make a commitment? This is a big step for anyone. Don’t let your tour guide pressure you into making a decision before you are ready. If a community is offering incentives to have you move in this could be a red flag.
The current challenges we all face due to the pandemic have also affected our ability to “shop” for a senior care community. You may not be able to visit all the communities that you are considering but if you take your time, ask the right questions and pay attention to how a community “feels”, you are on you way to finding a senior community that is the right fit for you.