Searching for the right Senior Living Community for your loved one can be incredibly stressful. People just beginning their search are often overwhelmed with the options and don’t know where to start. With numerous fantastic communities to choose, how do you know which is right for your loved one? In order to help narrow down your options, we’ve created a list of 7 mistakes you should avoid when beginning your search.
- Not Doing your Research
Like we said, it can be incredibly stressful searching for the right community, but don’t let that be the reason why you don’t spend time doing any research at all. There may be a community just down the road from you that would be the easiest option, but they may not offer what your loved one needs, or maybe the price will end up being too high, or the level of care won’t meet your standards. It’s important to spend time doing as much research as you can in order to determine what’s out there and what will be most in line with what you and your loved one are looking for.
- Not Visiting in Person or Virtually
Although doing research is incredibly important, it is equally as important to visit the community in person if you are able. Visiting the community in person will give you a better feel of the location, amenities, rooms, food that is offered, and other residents whom your loved one will be interacting with every day. There’s no better way to feel out if it will be the right home for your loved one than by going on a tour in person.
- Not Involving your Senior Loved One in the Decision
Often times our senior loved ones are left out of the decision on where they will be living during the next phase of their life. Although you don’t need to include them in every aspect of the search process, they should be kept up to date with the important information. Talk to them about what they would like, what activities are important to them, what kind of community they envision themselves living in, if they prefer being close to a city, etc. Be sure to take them with you on the campus tour so they are able to talk with the staff, interact with other residents, ask any questions they may have, and feel confident knowing they are being included in this big life decision.
- Making a Choice Based on Current Needs Rather than Future Needs
Your loved one may be in good health right now, but when planning for their future, it’s best to expect the unexpected. As their health may begin to decline, it’s important to have a plan in place for how they can be taken care of. Life Plan Communities are great options for those who may be healthy now but want to be prepared for whatever the future might hold. These types of communities have assistance ready for your loved one if and when they should need it so you won’t have to scramble trying to figure out your next move in the event of a medical emergency.
- Rushing the Decision
We understand there are certain instances where your loved one may need immediate assistance and you don’t have the luxury of time to make a decision. However, its critical to plan ahead as much as possible for the next step in your loved one’s life. Don’t wait until they need help to start looking, be as proactive as possible.
- Not Interacting with Staff Members and Other Residents
Another big mistake you can make while touring a senior living community is to not interact with as many staff members and residents as possible. You will likely be assigned one or two people who will show you around and answer any questions you have, but feel free to talk to other people during your tour. If you know your loved one loves to exercise, see if there’s an instructor you can talk to, or ask to speak with someone from each level of care. The more people you are able to interact with, the better you will be able to understand the environment of the community and if it will be the right fit for your loved one.
- Waiting Too Long
This mistake goes hand in hand with rushing your decision. Waiting to decide for too long can have just as big of an impact. You may have done your research and gone on a tour, but that doesn’t mean you should take your foot off the gas. Most of the top senior living communities are in high demand and you will need to be put on a waitlist, and often times you will have to wait a few months to a year or more before there is a spot for your loved one in the community. Continue to move the process along however you can, you’ll look back and be glad that you did.