When you think about senior living, what comes to mind? If you haven’t visited a senior living community in the past ten years, you are probably picturing a very outdated view.
Fortunately, senior living communities today are nothing like the clinical communities from decades ago. Gone are the days of hospital-like hallways and fluorescent lights. Instead, residents of these bustling communities enjoy amazing amenities, wellness resources, and helpful caregivers who are ready to give a hand or offer a listening ear.
If you’re ready to begin searching for senior living communities for your loved one, you’ll be pleasantly surprised at the lifestyle available in senior living communities near you. However, it can be overwhelming due to the sheer number of communities to choose from. Make a confident decision by searching for a community that your loved one will enjoy for years to come.
Help your loved one make the most of retirement by choosing a senior living community that suits their needs, lifestyle, and preferences. The sooner you begin your research for a senior community, the more time you can spend looking at the aspects that could serve you and your loved one well. Here are a few services, amenities, and perks your senior living community should have.
1. Senior-Friendly Apartments
Senior living communities offer more than just an apartment, but finding a community with lovely apartments is definitely the first step of your search. Your loved one’s apartment should feel spacious and be beautiful, but it should also be designed to meet the challenges that can come with aging.
With a senior falling every second of every day in the U.S., exceptional senior living communities will design apartments that reduce the risk of residents taking a tumble. You can determine which communities offer beautiful and safe apartments by looking for a few factors:
- Look for floors that are smooth, as well as step-in showers and grab bars in the bathroom.
- Pay attention to how much natural light the apartment gets. Of course, outdoor space is also nice to have, but windows that let in natural light are especially important. Beyond making the apartment seem light and airy, the extra light helps with vision challenges.
- Ensure the apartment is accessible for any mobility device, like a cane or walker, even if your loved one doesn’t use one now.
- Finally, look for a kitchenette that has drawers and cabinets that are easy to reach.
These small observations can narrow down your community choices based on apartment features.
2. Nutritious and Delicious Food
Perhaps one of the best aspects of senior living communities is saying goodbye to the chore of planning and preparing three meals daily. Poor nutrition in older adults can lead to a litany of serious health complications, ranging from a weaker immune system to a higher risk of hospitalization.
Exceptional senior living communities should offer a robust dining program, with the social dining room serving as a socialization hub. Look for a community that features a menu that offers options at each meal, as well as selections that are nutritious, comforting, and diverse. You can also observe a meal to watch how residents interact with one another over a shared meal.
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3. Engaging Events and Programs
In addition to an increased risk for dementia, heart disease, and stroke, isolated seniors are also more likely to have a weakened immune system. Peer support and encouragement are a vital part of a healthy aging plan, but it can be impossible to receive that type of support while living at home alone.
Fortunately, older adults can find new connections and friendships more easily in a senior living community. With neighbors right down the hall or across the dining room table, there is always someone to have a conversation with or share an experience with.
Exceptional senior living communities offer residents multiple opportunities throughout the day to connect with others, learn something new, be creative, or explore a new place. Look for a community that has an active event calendar full of social opportunities, trips, live concerts, creative workshops, and more. See if any of the events appeal to your loved one’s interests, but also keep in mind that exceptional communities actively seek resident input for new ideas.
4. Personalized Care
Depending on your loved one’s current and future needs, you might want to look for a senior living community that offers care assistance. Assisted living communities, for example, offer around-the-clock caregivers who are there to offer a hand with personal hygiene tasks, medication reminders, or even housekeeping.
If this sounds like an ideal option for your loved one, look for a community that varies their care based on each individual resident and their personal needs. Senior living community caregivers should preserve independence by offering the right amount of assistance and support, instead of just completing tasks for the resident.
Seek a community that communicates with the resident, family members, and preferred physicians to develop a comprehensive plan of care that is reviewed and adapted regularly. Communities that involve family members in the care plan process often provide more customized care and interventions for the residents they serve.
5. Amenities to Make Life Easier
Senior living communities offer a variety of extra amenities and services that are designed to make life a bit easier. You can find a community that features amenities designed to keep your loved one as healthy as possible while also contributing to the retirement lifestyle they desire.
Look for on-site amenities such as the following:
- Transportation services: The community offers accessible transportation to various spots of interest around town, including medical facilities, banks, and grocery stores.
- Pharmacy services: This convenience can eliminate the need to drive to pick up a prescription or ask a question about your loved one’s new medication.
- Physical therapy, occupational therapy, or speech therapy services: Often, your loved one can get easy access to these services right on-site that are designed to keep them healthy and strong.
In addition, look for a beautiful community that features plenty of lovely spaces for your loved one to entertain visitors or grab a cup of coffee with a new friend. A picturesque community can be an important perk for residents who live there.
6. Happy Residents
Finally, the best way to tell if a senior living community is great is to observe the residents who live there. Look for residents who are healthy, happy, and developing friendships with the people around them, including neighbors and staff. This can help you picture your loved one settling in among their vibrant and healthy community.
Make the Most of Your Tour
Finding a senior living community that is right for your loved one now, and will continue to meet their needs in the future, requires a bit of research. You don’t have to feel overwhelmed and go at it alone.
Download our free guide, 5 Steps for Evaluating and Choosing the Right Senior Living Community, to make the process a bit easier. You will learn expert tips for maximizing your time during tours of potential senior living communities as you begin to make your best decision.