Finding The Right Senior Living Housing For You
Senior living housing provides freedom from the ongoing chores associated with owning a home. Imagine what it would be like to never have to worry about mowing the lawn, changing the air conditioner filter or smoke detector batteries, housekeeping, laundry or maintenance projects like painting and roof repair. Senior living communities also offer opportunities to connect and socialize with others and generally provide a broad spectrum of services and amenities. Still, it is important to realize that these communities vary greatly, from those that cater to active, maintenance-free lifestyles to those that provide round-the-clock skilled nursing care. Here is a look at the different types of senior housing available and tips for determining the right senior living option for you.
Types of Senior Living Housing Options
A wide variety of senior living housing options are available throughout the US, and some may be more appropriate than others depending on your preferences and desired level of care. Keeping in mind that the terminology can vary a bit from one state to the next, here is a summary of the most common types of senior living housing options:
- Independent living apartments (also referred to as 55+ living). Fully-equipped, maintenance-free apartments are perfect for seniors who are able to fully care for themselves, but no longer want to deal with the upkeep of a home and yard.
- Personal care apartments (also referred to as assisted living). Personal care communities are appropriate for seniors who require some assistance with the activities of daily living.
- Supportive care communities (sometimes referred to as skilled nursing communities). Supportive care is helpful for seniors who need assistance managing pain or other symptoms associated with a chronic disease or illness, help with medication management and assistance with the activities of daily living.
- Memory care communities. Similar to assisted living or supportive care communities, these residences specialize in caring for seniors who have Alzheimer's or another form of dementia.
- Life Plan communities (otherwise known as continuing care retirement communities, or CCRCs). These residences are unique in that they offer graduated care, so seniors can move from one type of care to another, as their individual needs evolve. For example, a senior may enjoy an active retirement in an independent living apartment and then years later shift to supportive care while remaining in the same community.
- Meals. Are meals and snacks varied and available throughout the day? Do menu choices change frequently and utilize local, fresh ingredients? Are there provisions for dining with visiting family and friends?
- Wellness. What types of exercise classes and workouts are available? What wellness-oriented facilities are available (e.g. gym, yoga studio, sauna, etc.) and what are the hours? Does the care evolve with the needs of the resident? What providers and services are available on-site (e.g. primary care physicians and nurses, physical therapists, specialists, rehabilitation, imaging, hospice, pharmacy)? Is transportation available for visits to off-site specialists? How will my mobility issues (if you have any) be accommodated? What measures are in place to reduce incidents of slips and falls? What type of training do staff receive and what is the average tenure?
- Transportation. Is scheduled local transportation provided? Is personal car service available?
- Activities. What types of activities and events are offered? Does the community coordinate social and cultural outings off-site? What does a typical week look like? Are opportunities available for residents to explore individual pursuits and hobbies (e.g. painting, gardening, etc.)?
- Apartment. What types of apartment layouts are available and what is the square footage? Do apartments include a kitchen? Do apartments include a washer and dryer? What is the security system like? Are apartments equipped with emergency call systems? Is the bathroom equipped with grab bars and a shower seat? Are there any decorating limitations (e.g. paint, window treatments, furnishings, etc.)?
- Maintenance and upkeep. What is the frequency of housekeeping and bed linen changes? Is there a concierge service?
- Community spaces. Does the design of the building include accessible outdoor spaces like a courtyard, terrace or walking trails? What types of specialized community spaces are available (e.g. theatre, music room, art room, living room, pub, business center, beauty and barber shop, etc.)?
Matching Senior Housing Needs and Wants
Selecting the right senior living housing largely revolves around healthcare considerations - both now and those you may experience in the future. Making an honest assessment of your current healthcare needs and gaining a thorough understanding of what healthcare services prospective communities offer will help you narrow down your choices.
Another important factor in your decision making will be the types of amenities and features you find most important. Senior living communities can vary tremendously in terms of lifestyle, from “no frills” to resort-style amenities. Before you begin touring communities, make a list of all of the features and services you are looking for and then rank them in order of importance. Here are some questions to ask to help you determine how well a particular community aligns with your criteria
Choosing a senior living community for the next stage of your life is a big decision, and there are many factors to weigh and consider. At Plush Mills, we customize the services we offer - providing the amenities and care that is needed, when it is needed. We offer a variety of senior living housing options from independent living through supportive care. Contact us today to learn more about our community and to schedule an in-person or virtual tour.