What to Expect When Your Parent Chooses a Senior Living Community

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Choosing a Senior Living Community for Your Parents
water aerobics class participant at senior living community

Life doesn’t always go as planned, but when we know what to expect out of retirement, senior care options become a lot clearer. Choosing a senior living community that takes a holistic approach to aging and health means that no matter what resources your parent or loved one needs to thrive, their community can support them.

Today's senior living communities are active and vibrant, empowering residents to work toward their wellness goals and lead the lives they desire. Senior living communities are all about the amenities, services, wellness resources, and friendships that keep residents feeling healthy, happy, and comfortable.


What to Expect from Retirement at a Senior Living Community

When your loved one moves to a senior living community, they can expect the following:

1. Convenient Amenities: Spaces for Work, Play, and Health

The senior living lifestyle begins with amenities that are intended not only to make life easier but also to make community living as enjoyable as possible. Think of these amenities as a way to create daily convenience so your loved one can spend more time pursuing hobbies, volunteering in the community, or simply relaxing with a friend on the patio.

Amenities at senior living communities range from beautiful apartments and free parking to on-site conveniences such as beauty salons and fitness centers. Each individual community features its own unique amenities, but you can expect exceptional communities to offer access to the following areas:

  • Community spaces: Library, computer room, living rooms, game rooms, and bistros
  • Entertaining spaces: Private dining rooms and social areas to entertain visitors
  • Outdoor spaces: Fully landscaped and maintained patios, courtyards, gazebos, and trail systems
  • On-site therapy gyms: Places to receive prescribed physical, occupational, or speech therapy services

The monthly fee for most senior living communities often covers the use of these amenities, as well as utilities including Wi-Fi. 


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2. Helpful Services: Specialized Care for Specialized Needs

Now that your loved one can say goodbye to the tasks associated with homeownership, they can enjoy services designed to make life even easier and more fun. Look for a retirement community that offers perks such as weekly housekeeping visits, linen or laundry services, transportation around town in a community vehicle, and even concierge services. Find a place with team members who are always around to provide friendly and personalized service for residents and their families.

For those who live in assisted living, memory care, or skilled nursing, services include having helpful and friendly caregivers available to provide assistance around the clock. Caregivers can perform services such as:

  • Assistance with activities of daily living (ADLs) which include dressing, bathing, toileting, and transferring
  • Escorts to and from the dining room or events at the community
  • Personalized care plans tailored to each resident’s individual needs and preferences
  • Medication management 
  • Communication with physicians and pharmacy, as needed

When residents take advantage of the services included in the senior living lifestyle, they can spend more time doing what they love. For those who need additional assistance, having caregivers readily available means they can go about their daily activities with confidence because a team member is always on hand for emergency situations.

3. Delicious Dining Experiences: A Diverse and Delectable Selection

Senior living communities aim to reduce nutrition challenges while making dining a social affair with delicious food options. In most communities, residents enjoy delicious and nutritious meals in a vibrant dining room with their neighbors. They have various meal options to choose from at each seating, and the culinary teams at exceptional communities work hard to develop menus that include a mix of comforting recipes and new, seasonal takes on favorite meals. For example, our Crafted by Cedarhurst℠ culinary program is designed to meet the nutritional needs and serve the choices of everyone, and it’s available at most Cedarhurst communities.

Depending on the senior living community and the meal plans available, residents also have the opportunity to catch up with neighbors over coffee at breakfast, over a bowl of soup for lunch, or over an entrée at dinner. Some communities even feature more than one dining room and include a bistro or cafe for snacks and lighter fare, a pub for social gatherings throughout the day, or a kitchen for cooking demonstrations. 

Consider searching for a senior living community that offers themed meals a few times per year, as well as family events tailored around the dining experience. These extra opportunities elevate the senior living lifestyle and make residents feel more at home.

4. Community Socialization: Ample Opportunities for Connection

Finally, the senior living lifestyle is really all about the connections that residents make with one another. After all, living alone can be lonely, and avoiding isolation through socialization promotes better well-being and minimizes the risk of loneliness-related health issues.

Life at a senior living community means residents can maintain their independence without feeling alone. When your loved one chooses senior living, they are making a decision that helps them more easily create meaningful relationships than if they remain in their current residence. Senior living communities provide the opportunity to connect with a neighbor in the hallway, in the fitness center, in the therapy gym, or in the living room—making it easy to create a new relationship. Residents also enjoy a variety of on-site events and activities, ranging from live concerts to painting classes and health lectures. 

Look for a retirement community with an interesting event calendar that also includes excursions into the local community. Exceptional communities also make an effort to host family events where family members can enjoy an event and meal with their loved ones.

Help Your Parent Find the Right Senior Living Community

The best senior living communities are designed to provide everything your loved one needs to lead a healthy and fruitful life. Although everyone’s needs and preferences are different, great retirement communities offer plenty of opportunities for connection, wellness resources, and desirable amenities to all of their residents.

If a senior living community is the best option for your loved one, bringing up the topic of how they want to spend retirement may be a challenge. Figure out the best way to talk about senior living with your parent before initiating the conversation, so that together you can make the best choice for everyone.

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This post was originally published in July 2021 and updated in May 2024.

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