Steps for Starting Your Senior Living Search

Congratulations! You’ve started your senior living search. “Shopping” for your ideal retirement community is a process that involves the same steps you’d take if you were making a major purchase. You start with research, investigate features and benefits, and ask questions when you need more information. If you’re able to, you “test drive,” or in this case, tour the community to see what you think of the lifestyle.

Think about now, and the future.

While you’re sizing up prospective communities, you’ll be making decisions based on location, amenities, cost and other factors. Don’t omit another equally important factor during your senior living search: health care. At Sedgebrook, we offer a complete continuum that includes assisted living, memory care, skilled nursing, home health and rehabilitation. Once you move, it doesn’t make sense to move again. You should choose a community that can meet all your needs in the present day, as well as provide the right solutions if your needs change and you require additional or more specialized care as you get older.

What are your must-haves?

Be clear about what you absolutely must have, right from the start of your senior living search. Create a checklist and arrange your deal-breakers in priority order. If a community doesn’t offer one or more items, this will help you evaluate if it will make your shortlist.

Here are some common “must-haves” to consider:

·  Near your current location

·  Live close to family members

·  Have privacy when you want it

·  Offers a choice of residences and floor plans

·  Has housekeeping and maintenance provided

·  Honors your personal choices and routines

·  Has a variety of dining venues

·  Is a safe and secure environment 

·  Allows you to keep your pet

·  Offers interesting things to do

·  Provides opportunities to socialize and make friends 

·  Provides scheduled transportation options

·  Enables you to stay independent longer

·  Simplified budgeting with predictable fees

·  Protects your estate for your heirs

What’s your budget?

Look at your overall spending to get an idea of your current cost of living. Make sure you include large line items such as:

Homeownership Costs

·  Mortgage/rent

·  Utilities, internet, TV

·  Property insurance and taxes

·  Appliance replacement

·  Home maintenance and repairs

·  Lawn and garden maintenance

·  Trash removal

·  Security monitoring system

Personal Expenses

·  Groceries and dining out

·  Recreational activities

·  Gym, pool and fitness memberships

·  Car payments, gas and service

Total the costs and compare it to what you’d spend at the communities in question. Depending on your budget, you might find a retirement community can be surprisingly good value after everything you’re paying for separate services. A Life Plan Community like Sedgebrook offers the advantage of an all-inclusive independent lifestyle, and along with the security of continuing care. The cost of future health care is locked in at affordable rates far below market rates.

How do you narrow your list?

Once you’ve identified several communities that are likely prospects, home in on the details to see how they compare to each other. As part of your senior living search, scour the community’s website, or call each community to find out: 

·  Initial fees and what’s included

·  Monthly service fee and what’s included

·  Continuum of care and how it works

·  Amenities, common spaces and dining options

What should you look for when you tour?

Touring the communities should be an essential step in your senior living search. You’ll see what isn’t pictured in brochures or online, and have the chance to taste the food, meet residents, and observe or take part in activities. Look for signs that:

·  Infrastructure such as driveways and buildings are well maintained. 

·  Amenities such as an art studio or swimming pool are clean and well kept. 

·  Interiors are bright, clean, and free of clutter.

·  Visitors are greeted promptly, screened, and escorted to where they need to go.

·  Family members and your pet (if you own one) will be welcomed.

·  Residents and team members have genuine rapport.

·  Activities, clubs and programs appeal to you.

·  Residences are comfortable, pleasant, and meet your needs.

·  Dining rooms look and smell inviting.

·  People look happy and positive.

Ask lots of questions during your tour. It’s the best way to know if a community is for you.

·  What’s the staff turnover like?

·  What happens if a resident has a medical emergency?

·  What is the security situation like?

·  What is the community’s care philosophy?

·  What training or certifications do caregivers have?

·  How is communication handled with family members?

·  Are there services or amenities that incur additional charges?

·  Will there be price increases in the future?

You can find more questions and idea starters here.

Your future self will thank you.

You’re paving the way to a meaningful new phase of your life. This isn’t a decision that should be made under stress or in a rush. Here are four reasons why starting your senior living search now rather than later will pay off:

1. With social distancing and the care we’re taking to avoid COVID-19, it’s easy to become isolated in our homes. In a community setting, you’ll be in a controlled setting that’s safe, where it’s easy to stay socially connected. 

2. In today’s economy, inflation is pushing up everyday costs. It’s harder to replace a broken appliance or schedule a service call. In a senior living community, home maintenance, transportation, and services such as fitness classes and dining are included in the monthly service fee.

3. The reality is that 70% of seniors age 65+ will need some type of long-term care, for approximately 3 or more years. With health services across the nation understaffed and overwhelmed, living in a Life Plan Community guarantees access to the right senior care when needed, at predictable rates, right on campus.

4. Most senior living communities require you to pass a health assessment to be accepted as an independent living resident. The earlier you move in, the less of a problem this will be.

Don’t Settle for Less

As you learn more about your senior living options, you owe it to yourself to talk to us about what Sedgebrook can offer you. We’d love to host you on a personal tour and we’re confident you’ll fall in love with our community. Contact us today at 847-496-3351.

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