Where to Start Your Search for a
Senior Living Community

Where to Start Your Search for a
Senior Living Community

Moving somewhere new can be a challenge, and moving to the right senior living community is no exception. With so many available options and opportunities, the decision can be daunting. However, the good news is that it doesn’t need to be overwhelming.

Here are 9 questions to help you narrow down your options on the search for the right senior living community:

1. What matters most to you?

Cost? Meals? Freedom? Activities? Many things may matter to you, but what matters most? This question may help guide you as you look at your choices. Make a list of your priorities, and if possible, number them by importance. As you visit senior living communities, take your list and decide which ones offer what you want most.

2. What services do they offer that could help you in the future?

Especially if you are looking to find a more permanent community in which to live, that might allow you to stay put long-term, be sure you check out what the community has to offer for progressive illnesses and increased care. You may not need these services for a long time, but it is always a good idea to think ahead and be prepared.

3. What is the community’s reputation?

The best place to find this answer may be in talking to current community members. Make a list of any questions you have, and don’t be afraid to ask them! Do your research. Also, contact the local agency on aging or speak to your doctor to find out if they know anything about the community you are considering. Good recommendations go a long way in building confidence about your decision.

4. How long is the community’s waiting list?

Unless the community is brand new, most good senior living communities have a waiting list. If your first choice has a waiting list, don’t be deterred by this. That could be a very good sign. If your first choice has no waiting list, don’t be deterred by this, but do look into why it has such good availability. There could be very good reasons (higher cost, better amenities, etc.), but it could also be a red flag.

5. What was your visit like?

Visit in person if possible. Ask to attend a meal. Observe some on-site activities. Get a feel for how people enjoy living in the community. Sometimes just visiting a place can help us create a first impression, and while first impressions aren’t the same thing as facts, they can be beneficial. Also, if possible, take a friend or family member with you for a second opinion. You may experience nerves or pressure when you visit (which would be totally understandable!) and having a second set of eyes and ears may be useful to you later. Keep in mind, though, that you are the one who most needs to feel comfortable with where you live.

6. What do the fees include?

Contracts and fine print can be frustrating, so it is always a good idea to share it with a knowledgeable family member who can look it over carefully and translate any hard-to-understand points. Bottom line: Be sure you know what the monthly fees include and what you will be expected to pay above the general fees. Sometimes senior living communities are good at telling you what it will cost monthly without really telling you what it will cost monthly when various amenities are added in. Again, do not be shy about asking questions. You are making a big decision, and a community that values transparency will welcome your questions.

7. What are the security measures?

Especially in a day and age where safety is of utmost concern, it is important to know what specific security measures the senior living community has in place. Is it a gated community? Is there security in the lobby? What are the plans for weather emergencies? How are concerns communicated to staff and vice versa? Put your mind at ease by asking about security measures at the beginning of your search.

8. What is the proximity to places and people that matter to you?

Do you need to live closer to family? Are you within a reasonable drive to places you plan to visit frequently? What is the commute to your doctor’s office or place of worship? These questions may not make or break your decision – especially if you are flexible and can easily adapt to a new environment – but you should at least consider what it will take to get where you need to go.

9. Could it feel like home?

This is perhaps the most important question you can ask yourself. Can you see yourself being happy? Could you enjoy the meals and new friends? Could you see yourself getting involved in the activities? Do you like the view?

Senior living communities have a funny way of surprising us. Many retirees end up loving their life in a senior living community and wishing they had made the decision sooner. We happen to think if you find the right place, you will learn this to be true for yourself.

That said, we would like to invite you to check out life at Gull Creek. We are celebrating 30 years of senior living and have used these three decades to learn what matters most in a vibrant community. We think you will enjoy the family atmosphere and small-town ambience, as well as the friendly residents and fun amenities. With a variety of lifestyle offerings – from independent living and assisted living – to a more secure memory care neighborhood, we are able and ready to meet your needs and create the retirement you’ve always dreamed of. Stop by or give us a call today: 410-641-3171.