When starting the search for a senior community for either yourself or your parent or loved one, first impressions are key to finding the best fit. Here are some tips to keep in mind when making your initial visits.
1. Do you like the community’s location and outward appearance?
Is the community convenient to restaurants, shops, symphony, theater, physicians, hospitals and pharmacies? Does it connect you to opportunities beyond the campus that allow for enjoyment of a larger community? Are the grounds and building well maintained, with plenty of gardens and walking trails?
2. Are you welcomed with a warm greeting from the staff? And does the staff address residents by their names, interacting with them during the tour?
Is it easy to connect with both the residents and the staff? You want to make sure that the staff not only provides excellent services, but also gets involved with the residents and their families – getting to know the residents’ histories and accomplishments. It should be a welcoming, positive place where people want to be.
3. How accessible is the medical community and health services?
Does the community have a continuum of services should you ever need them? These services include assisted living, rehabilitation for short term stays, and skilled nursing care. What is the reputation of the health care services? Is the rehabilitation staff contracted, or are they employed by the community – and do they offer outpatient services to all residents? Is the community embracing culture change in their skilled care – and does the staff receive frequent education and training?
4. Do you notice the residents socializing with each other and do they appear content?
Does the size of the community allow for the residents to get to know each other, encouraging that sense of family to develop? Is there a wellness program offering classes and private training in a fitness studio? Are their learning opportunities through book groups, guest lecturers, brain fitness? Are the arts alive and well, with concerts, performances and trips to area cultural events? Are the residents involved in directing the programs and events?
5. Is the community convenient for frequent visits by family and friends?
Is the community located in a central location, not only near the local amenities but also near in-town offices as well as suburban communities? This convenience allows for the opportunity for your family to enjoy the community – pool, entertainment, dining – and for you to easily visit them and stay involved in their lives.