Seven smart things to consider.
There are many factors that can help you decide what type of senior housing is best for you.
Community vs. facility
Attitude matters. At a LifeMinded community you will never hear the word “Facility.” Facility is an institution which is not what most people looking for a full vital life are interested in. If someone describes their senior housing as a facility we suggest you go someplace else, they are not thinking or living LifeMinded.
Healthcare vs. Hospitality
There are two different approaches to senior living. A healthcare approach treats the symptoms, a hospitality approach works to add value to your lifestyle. Residences with a healthcare approach are much more likely to move you into a healthcare solution while a hospitality-based residence is going to work hard to keep you social and vital, so you can postpone the need for extraordinary medical help, maybe indefinitely. Both approaches are valid but be sure to find the one that is right for you.
The basics, what's for dinner?
When you visit a residence be sure to stay for a meal or two, it’s a good indicator of how the approach they take to everything they do. Is the food great. Is it served in a dining atmosphere or is it more of a cafeteria? If you live there the odds are good you’ll be dining there often, you want the food AND the experience to be wonderful.
As we age our needs can change, is the community you are considering set up to help you manage as your care needs change? This doesn’t mean they need a nurse on staff, but they should be able to tell you specifics of how they will address your needs if they change.
Of course, this is an important one. Any LifeMinded residence will be very upfront about costs. If the community you are considering isn't, move on to your next option. You may also find many residences want you to put down a deposit when you first visit. Again, move on. Asking for a deposit is a way to start to put subtle sales pressure on a perspective tenant and you don’t need any additional pressure. Most people make the decision over 6-9 months, not in a single visit. Take your time to find a place that feels right and meets your needs.
Have a pool?
What you need and what you don’t. Senior residences offer varying degrees of amenities. Pools are nice but not every place has one. It’s also an activity you can engage in easily at a health club or YMCA. Decide what amenities are critical for you and focus on those as you decide where to live. Also ask about transportation to areas of interest that aren't part of the community, whether it's swimming or tango lessons, odds are no one place will have everything you need but they can help you get there.
Longevity of staff, management and ownership. Stability is important in any relationship and a good tell to go by when looking at different residences. If staff is constantly changing and no one has been around for more than a few years you can’t be sure things won’t continue to change. You want to move to a place where you know what it’s like today and in the future. The ideal senior residence will be staffed by a mix of people who have been there for a decade or more and by a few that are new. This mix keeps it fresh and up to date yet stable. (Hint: ask about the ownership, long term ownership and management is a great bellwether of stability.)