When to Start Looking for Senior Living

Should active, independent seniors be looking for senior housing?

From a very early age, we strive to be self-reliant. Independence is important and is a matter of pride for many, but times of transition happen to all of us. For some, that time comes when they find that they are not able to do all the things they used to do. This is usually when people begin to consider moving to a senior living community. But planning a move before it becomes necessary should be the goal.

Senior living changes from generations to generation. When Wesley began, apartments and independent living communities for older adults were not a common option. “Senior living” used to mean a nursing home for people who could no longer care for themselves properly. Senior living today is for active, independent people who are planning for their retirement and looking for a community that gives them choices.

Senior living today is for active, independent people who are planning for their retirement and looking for a community that gives them choices.

Experts suggest looking at retirement communities while you’re still independent and in good health. By looking for a community before the need arises, you take control of your future and your health without the pressure of urgency due to the need to move.

Research retirement communities in areas you want to live. Decide what aspects of retirement living interest you most: extended learning, price, large accommodations, opportunities to socialize, etc. Most communities will mail information to you if you ask; others prefer to review information in person. One of the more important things to look for are senior communities that offer a full range of care that includes independent living, assisted living, memory care, skilled nursing and rehabilitation care. Having a network of services in one community allows residents access to these services without leaving the campus.

Set aside time to visit at least three different communities that meet your minimum criteria. All communities are different, so get a list of all available services while you are on site for your visit.

Once you have determined which communities to visit, bring a comprehensive list of questions to ask while you are there. Your choice of community can impact your life for years to come, so ask as many questions as possible to ensure you are entering a community that will meet your needs. Sample questions include:

  • What is the gender ratio?
  • How and when are meals served?
  • Is the community able to accommodate couples?
  • Do the residents and staff members seem happy?
  • What is the general age and health of other residents?
  • Are there amenities and activities that would interest me?
  • What activities take place on a typical day and at what time?

At each community, be sure to speak with residents to gain an accurate picture of on-campus life. Many people enter into senior living with the goal of meeting others and making close friends.

Relax and enjoy your time exploring senior communities. Tour apartments, check out the amenities, stay for a meal and chat with everyone you meet. Your efforts will result in you selecting the community that is just right for you.


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