With the baby boomer generation set to make up nearly a fifth of the total population in the United States by 2030 due to the rise of average life expectancy, more senior living options are needed.
As people age, many find themselves looking into senior living communities. This means that there are, and will be, many options seniors can choose from when it comes to housing and care.
This can often become confusing due to all the options that are available. However, there are several factors to keep in mind when looking for senior living options, such as:
- Personal preferences
- Care levels needed
Read on to learn about housing types as well as tips for finding the right living situation to enjoy the golden years of life.
Know your Options
When it comes to finding the right senior living community there are several options. These options are aligned to specific care levels needed, and the first step is to assess what your care level and needs are.
Having a good understanding of what you would want, and need, can help narrow down the selection. Senior communities range from regular communities that are age restricted, to full care facilities.
Below are common types of senior living situations.
Age restricted communities are, as their name suggests, communities that are restricted by age. These communities are also called retirement communities, but being retired is not necessary to live in one.
Those who live in this type of community are generally independent and are usually at least 55 years of age. With retirement communities, you have many housing options to choose from such as:
- Single homes
Most retirement communities also offer public social events and public amenities for residents. This means there is usually always something to do and someone to talk with.
Assisted Living Communities
For seniors who require a medium level of care, assisted living communities might be the way to go. These communities are geared to allow for independence with some assistance when needed.
This assistance ranges from housekeeping, bathing, transportation, and medications. These services may be provided daily, as well as meal services and social events.
Skilled Nursing Facility
Skilled nursing facilities are 24/7 in-home care and supervision. The supervision of the resident is carried out by a medically-trained team that offers many of the same services as retirement communities.
However, the events hosted by these facilities are on site due to safety risks and health hazards. Many of these facilities also have recreation events as well to maintain good physical health.
Tips for Choosing the Right Community
Create a long-term budget
When looking into moving to a retirement community it is important to meet with a financial advisor who specifically deals with senior living budgets. Meeting with a financial advisor can also help you understand the current financial situation and potential future situations.
With this help, it is often much easier to find housing that suits your needs best as well as your budget. Keep in mind that many senior facilities require you to pay an entrance fee.
Many seniors quickly learn that budgeting for a senior living community is very different from regular renting or buying. Since most residents are retired, or plan to be shortly, they need to plan for a fixed budget.
Not to mention the cost of living usually increases as more care and assistance is needed. All this combined can be very confusing and taxing to save for.
Visit in Person
It is important to make sure to visit any of the communities in person before buying or renting. This is also true for buying or renting regular places as well. This is even more important with senior facilities, as quality of the grounds and the quality of life offered are critical.
Unfortunately, it may be taxing for a senior to take tours of multiple places, especially if the places are out of state. So, you may consider having a relative or close friend go and take the tours to see if the place fits their needs.
However, not everyone has loved ones to fall back on to take tours. The next best thing would be a virtual tour of the grounds and homes using an online virtual program.
However, this can lead to hidden issues that may not be displayed on the tour as cameras can be manipulated in ways that avoid glaring issues, like water damage.
Explore the Community
The extended community is often just as important to a senior as their local community is. It is very important when choosing a facility or community to consider things such as:
- Proximity to a medical center/ hospital
- Nearby social events and activities
- Modes of transportation and access to it
While priorities do change from individual to individual, many seniors find it very important to be close to their loved ones. This still allows for family interaction that can mean so much.
When exploring any senior living community, make sure to ask many questions. Here are some good first questions to ask:
- What are the staff qualifications and levels of training?
- What is the visitor policy?
- Is there a meal service? If so, what is its menu like?
- Are social and recreational events offered?
- Is resident feedback evaluated and collected?
- What if I am not happy here? What is the withdrawal policy?
- Is the facility tiered in care and levels, or just one level of care?
Brainstorm questions ahead of time to make sure you have them ready and do not get distracted by the tour itself, as some of the facilities are very eye-catching.
Make sure the questions are geared toward your personal interests about the facility. Remember, you only get answers if you ask!
Make sure to get the contact information from the person giving you the tour so that you can ask questions should they occur after you leave.