The holiday season is a time for family, friends, and looking forward to the next chapters of our lives. If you or a loved one had conversations about senior living during the holiday season, it’s important to follow up and continue the discussion in the coming weeks and months. Making the decision to move to a retirement community is a big one, and it’s natural to have questions and concerns. Here are a few strategies to help you keep the conversation going:
Set aside dedicated time to discuss the senior living options that best suit your needs.
It can be easy to start these conversations when the whole family is together, but it can prove more challenging to keep the conversation going. Don’t try to fit the conversation into a busy schedule or when you’re already feeling overwhelmed. Instead, schedule a specific time to reengage with your family and advisors about the different options available. Having a dedicated time will help everyone involved in the conversation feel more prepared and comfortable.
Involve other family members or trusted advisors in your conversations about senior living.
Don’t leave anyone important out of the conversation. Be sure to always include your spouse, relevant family members, and trusted advisors when discussing your options. They can provide valuable input and support as you explore the various options. It’s important to have a team of people you trust to help you make this decision.
Keep an open mind.
It’s natural to have preconceived notions about what a retirement community looks like and what it offers, but try to keep an open mind as you explore the options available. You may be surprised by the range of amenities and activities offered at different communities. Don’t discount a community just because it doesn’t meet your initial assumptions.
Do your research.
Take the time to research the various communities in your area and the services they offer. Visit their websites and read reviews or testimonials from current or former residents. Make a list of the communities that interest you and jot down any important information or questions you have.
Tour senior living communities in person.
Schedule a tour of the communities that most interest you. Every retirement community is unique, and a tour will give you the opportunity to see the community in person and get a feel for the atmosphere and culture. It’s also a good idea to bring a list of questions to ask during your tour. Some questions to consider asking might include:
- What levels of living and support are available (such as: independent living, assisted living, memory support, nursing)?
- Is the community pet-friendly?
- What types of social and recreational activities are available?
- Is transportation provided for appointments and activities?
- Are meals included in the monthly fee?
- What are the admission qualifications?
- Is the community a nonprofit organization? If so, does its Foundation support residents who exhaust their financial resources?
Talk to current residents.
In many cases, you’ll have the opportunity during your tour to speak with some of the current residents of the communities you are considering. They can provide valuable insights about their experiences living in the community and can answer many of the questions you may have. Ask about their daily routines, their impressions of team members, what they like best about the community. This can give you a more well-rounded understanding of what it’s really like to live in the community.
Consider your finances.
Be sure to have an in-depth conversation about the fee structures of the communities you are considering. You’ll want to understand what is included in the monthly fee and what services may come with an additional cost. It’s important to find a community that fits your budget, but also keep in mind that the cost of living in a retirement community often compares quite favorably to the cost of maintaining your own home.
Join the waitlists of the communities you like and keep the conversations about senior living going.
Don’t feel that you must make a decision right away, but there are benefits to joining wait lists as soon as possible. The fee for joining wait lists is typically quite low, and it helps to ensure your place in line when you decide you are ready to move. Take your time and continue the conversation over the coming weeks and months. As a member of the wait list, you’ll likely be invited to special events or showings. As you learn more about the options available, you’ll be better equipped to make an informed decision about the best retirement community for you or your loved one.
Making the decision to move to a retirement community is a significant one, and it’s important to take the time to explore all your options. By setting aside dedicated time to have open conversations about senior living options, involving other family members or trusted advisors, and doing your research, you can make an informed decision about the best retirement community for you or your loved one. Don’t be afraid to ask questions and seek out information. The more you know, the more confident you’ll feel about your decision.