Dida Horton serves as the Senior Director of Marketing and Sales for Buckner Retirement Services. She’s been with Buckner since 2002. Here is her advice on how to choose a senior living community.
At Buckner Villas, we believe families need to have the most comprehensive information possible. So we pride ourselves on presenting easy-to-understand resources from our compassionate and experienced staff. You’ll discover our senior living options will fit your needs well.
How to Choose a Senior Living Community
After nearly 30 years in the senior living industry, I’ve seen hundreds of people looking to find the right community. Adult children hoping to move their parents closer. Widows seeking friendship amid grief. Couples building a new life after retirement. Whatever brings you to look at a senior living community, there are a few things you need to think about during the process. You need to know what you’re looking for and, just as importantly, what you’re not looking for.
Factors to consider:
- Location: Before looking at a community, look at the surrounding areas. This will be your new home, so you want your existing life to fit. Is there easy access to your local bank, church, and grocery store? Can you maintain your normal routines? If you’re moving closer to family or just looking for a change of scenery, make a list of these kinds of places you’ll need and make sure they’re within proximity.
- Continuum of care: A Continuing Care Retirement Community (CCRC) offers more than one area of living and care, such as independent living, assisted living, memory care, and nursing. Some people choose stand-alone communities that offer only one of these living or care areas, but having all of them available provides incredible peace of mind. Plan now to make your life easier should additional care needs arise.
- Staff dynamics: What is the staff like? Are they friendly? How much interaction do they have with residents? Some staffs see the community as an employer; others see it as a family. Decide which best fits your personality and desired lifestyle.
- Faith-based: Whether you’re a Christian or not, decide if you want your community to be faith-based. While Christian communities don’t push their beliefs on residents, they offer religious programs, such as prayer gatherings and chapel services.
- Verbiage: How do the website, marketing materials, and staff members refer to the community? Do they call it an available “unit” or available “home”? A dining “hall” or dining “room”? These little nuances speak volumes about the community’s overall atmosphere and approach to life.
Some Further Questions to Ask
Aside from the above categories, put together a list of questions you and your family would like addressed so you can make the most informed decision possible. Some questions to consider:
- Can you join a resident for lunch or attend an event in the community before deciding? You’ll want to get as much of a “day in the life” feel as possible.
- What is the typical fee increase, and how often does it increase?
- Is there a full-time life-enrichment director on staff? What kinds of activities are available?
- What is the average age of residents in independent living?
- Are visitors welcome any time? Be sure you visit the community more than once. Talk to the residents each time. They won’t be shy about sharing their opinions, and you can learn a lot about a community by talking to those who live there.
If you use this guide to find the right community for you and your lifestyle, I guarantee you’ll be changed for the better. You’ll find a renewed sense of purpose, a more positive outlook, and more fun than you ever imagined. And, if you’re like most, you’ll wish you’d done it sooner.
Reach out to Buckner Villas Today
Learning how to choose a senior living community doesn’t need to be daunting. With the right list of questions and information, you’ll be able to find the right location for you and your family. Call Buckner Villas today at 512.580.9882 to learn more.