I Want Answers! 8 Essential Questions to Ask When Choosing a Senior Living Community

Know what questions to ask when choosing a senior living community!

Making the move to a senior living community can be an exciting life event when choosing the right one. To make sure you get all the answers needed to make the best choice for you, it’s essential to ask the right questions. 

Here are eight essential questions to ask of each prospective senior community to help compare and get it right from the get-go.

1) What safety and security measures are in place?

One of the biggest reasons for moving to a senior living community is the need for a safe and secure place to live, especially for those in Assisted Living and Memory Care. From the big picture items, like emergency plans and medical alert systems, to grab bars in the bathrooms… a senior living community should be able to define exactly how residents are protected. 

It’s a good idea to ask to see the community’s emergency preparedness plan, and even their COVID-19 protocols and procedures, as these are indicative of how well a community can manage in an emergency and still keep residents safe.

2) What health care options are available? 

Senior living communities today offer a number of options to fit your loved one’s needs and wants including:

Independent Living: For those who are looking to right-size their life and enjoy daily social engagement with minimal household maintenance. 

Assisted Living: For those older adults who want to maintain their independence but need more assistance, such as help with medication management, grooming, and transportation. 

Memory Care: For those older adults with changing cognitive abilities such as Alzheimer’s disease, dementia, or other forms of memory loss who need specialized care. 

These options are available at Thrive Senior Living communities. If interested, the local Thrive teams can help you navigate what might be the best fit. 

3) What types of housing are available?

While many older adults will prefer to live in a private apartment, others may want to share with a roommate and enjoy the company of a new friend. Other differences, especially in communal settings, are whether the apartment has a kitchen or not, proximity to shared communal spaces and whether or not seniors can bring their own furniture. 

4) What amenities are provided by the community?

Unlike in the past, today’s senior communities are more like resorts with a wide range of amenities available to residents and their families. Among the most common are: multiple dining venues, onsite hair salons and barber shops, housekeeping services, laundry services, libraries, computer rooms, fitness centers, outdoor spaces to relax, transportation, and game & activity rooms. Since older adults have so many interests and preferences, senior living communities often go the extra mile to provide enough options to please everyone!

5) Does the community offer planned activities?

Many senior communities have an activities director who is in charge of planning and executing daily fun for residents. At Thrive, these individuals are called Social Network Directors and they are the ones who create the calendars that are often jam-packed with different things to do including: games, movies, cooking classes, yoga, local entertainers, trips to local venues for dinner or festivals, golf outings, happy hours, and much more! Residents in senior communities can expect few, if any, dull moments and plenty of options to keep them engaged.

6) What dining/meal plan options are available?

Maintaining a healthy diet is essential at any age, especially as we get older. It’s important to consider all of the nutrients needed such as fiber, vitamins, healthy fats, and more – that is exactly why senior living communities have dining teams that are dedicated to ensuring residents check all of the boxes on their food pyramid. 

Even though residents can enjoy the meals prepared daily with their friends and neighbors, many senior living communities do have full kitchens or kitchenettes in the apartments for those that enjoy preparing their own meals.

No matter what the preferences, senior communities often offer different meal plans in a communal dining room, as well as à la carte options like grab-and-go cafes and coffee shops. Also notable is that senior communities have raised the bar considerably by hiring trained chefs who provide exceptional meals on the scale of fine dining restaurants. At Thrive, the communities love having families join for breakfast, lunch, or dinner with their loved ones – they even have private dining rooms for special occasions. 

7) Is housing available or is there a waiting list?

Although COVID-19 slowed moves to senior living communities, as the pace picks up again, it’s good to know what’s available and when. Since moving can be complicated by the need to sell a home and to fit a new leaner lifestyle (Thrive calls this “right-sizing”), planning is key to the perfect move.

8) How much does it cost and what types of contracts are involved?

Because they are not one-size-fits-all, each senior living community provider has its own costs and contracts which vary depending upon location, level of care, and type of housing. But older adults should keep in mind that costs often include everything from the home to maintenance, to utilities, entertainment, and amenities. 

To get an idea of costs in the area, try the Cost of Care Calculator from payingforseniorcare.com. Contracts also vary and can be confusing. For an overview of contracts, the whereyoulivematters.org blog, “Senior Living Contracts Explained” looks at the most common and how they work. 

Whether you’re looking for Independent Living, Assisted Living, or Memory Care, you’ll want to find a senior living community that prioritizes the health and wellbeing for your favorite older adults. Thrive Senior Living makes sure that every resident is healthy, happy, and safe every single day! Contact us today to find out more about all we have to offer.