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Author: Claiborne Senior Living

Finding Your Perfect Fit in Senior Living: A Guide to Evaluating Grounds and Facilities

Embarking on the journey to find the ideal senior living community is more than just about securing a temporary shelter; it’s about discovering a home where you’ll cherish every moment of your life.

The significance of this decision cannot be understated, as this place will become your everyday reality.

Imagine strolling through the community grounds each morning, feeling the tranquility of well-maintained landscapes, and returning to a residence that feels genuinely like your own every night.

That’s the level of comfort and convenience you should expect.

However, as you explore your options, keep an eye on your future needs. Your new home should adapt with you, ensuring safety and comfort as time progresses. From understanding the policies that affect your living experience to the details of the physical space, every aspect matters.

When you first set foot in a community, let your intuition guide you.

How does it feel? Look beyond the aesthetics; consider if the grounds and buildings are well-kept and inviting. Parking availability for both you and your guests, as well as services like exterior maintenance and landscaping, contribute significantly to daily convenience.

Dwell on the diversity of the housing options. Are there apartments, condos, or houses? Can you choose from different floor plans? And when it comes to personalizing your space, ask about decor options. Can you paint, change flooring, or make other improvements to make the space truly yours?

Also, don’t forget the practicalities.

Inquire about housekeeping, laundry services, and maintenance responsibilities. Pet policies, temperature control in your residence, and additional storage are small but critical details that impact everyday life.

Finally, understand the community’s rules and policies thoroughly. What are the move-in procedures? Are there specific community covenants you should be aware of? And under what circumstances might a resident need to leave?

Choosing your senior living community is a crucial decision. It’s about finding a place that not only meets your needs today but also evolves with you, ensuring a comfortable, safe, and enjoyable life in the years to come.

We’ve laid out all the questions you need to ask to find the right senior living community for you. Click the button below to access our full guide!

Rethinking Senior Living: It’s All About the Right Location

Location! Location! Location!

When envisioning senior living, it’s time to let go of outdated images of isolated nursing homes. Today’s senior living communities are vibrant, residential, and often resemble college campuses or suburban neighborhoods. They’re not just places to live; they’re places to thrive in the world.

Understanding the Importance of Location

Choosing a senior living community isn’t just about the services it offers; it’s also about where it’s situated. The location plays a pivotal role in determining your lifestyle and the level of convenience you’ll enjoy. Here’s why location matters:

  1. Proximity to Loved Ones: How close is the community to family and friends? Being near those you love and who love to visit you can make a big difference in your overall happiness.
  2. Safety and Security: It’s important that the community is safe. But is the neighborhood safe and secure? Your peace of mind is paramount, and living in a crime-free area is a key consideration.
  3. Access to Amenities: How close are shopping centers, parks, entertainment options, and dining establishments? The convenience of nearby amenities can significantly enhance your living experience.
  4. Healthcare Facilities: Are there nearby hospitals and primary care physicians? Though many senior living communities have care providers on-site, easy access to medical facilities is crucial, especially for those with health concerns.
  5. Public Transportation: If you don’t drive, does the community provide transportation? Is there a reliable public transit system in the area? This can be important for maintaining independence and mobility.
  6. Travel Considerations: For those who love to travel, how far is the nearest airport? This can be an important factor for those who wish to explore or have family living afar.
  7. Cleanliness and Upkeep: Is the area well-maintained? The cleanliness and upkeep of the surrounding area reflect on the community itself.
  8. Noise Levels: What’s the noise level like? Your comfort could depend on whether the area is too noisy or pleasantly quiet.
  9. Neighborhood Dynamics: Who are the neighbors? It’s important to consider if there are any businesses or facilities nearby that could impact your living experience through noise, odors, or traffic.

Finding the perfect senior living community is more than just about the services it provides. It’s about finding a place that fits into your vision of a comfortable, convenient, and fulfilling lifestyle.

Remember, you’re not just choosing a place to live; you’re choosing a place to call home.

For a list of questions to ask when touring a senior living community, check out our guide!

Claiborne Achieve WELL Certification for 2024

Claiborne Senior Living, a leader in senior living services, is proud to announce that it has once again been awarded the coveted WELL Certification at the Health-Safety level from the International WELL Building Institute (IWBI). This esteemed certification is a testament to Claiborne’s commitment to creating environments that enhance the health and well-being of its residents and staff.

Achieved through IWBI’s WELL v2, the most recent iteration of the WELL Building Standard, this certification recognizes Claiborne’s dedication to high-quality living spaces. The WELL Building Standard is a globally acknowledged benchmark for buildings that positively impact human health and wellness. Developed over seven years with input from leading physicians, scientists, and industry experts, the standard is a rigorous performance-based system focusing on ten key areas: Air, Water, Nourishment, Light, Movement, Thermal Comfort, Sound, Materials, Mind, and Community.

Claiborne Senior Living, with its portfolio of 11 boutique communities across Mississippi, Louisiana, Georgia, South Carolina, and Tennessee, stands at the forefront of offering premium independent living, assisted living, and memory care services. This certification underlines their unwavering dedication to not only providing exceptional care but also fostering a nurturing environment for both residents and employees.

“At Claiborne Senior Living, we are deeply committed to the well-being and happiness of our residents and staff. Achieving the WELL Certification at the Health-Safety level is a reflection of our dedication to creating a safe, healthy, and comfortable living environment,” states Tim Dunne, President and CEO of Claiborne Senior Living. “We continually strive to be pioneers in the senior living industry, ensuring that every aspect of our communities contributes positively to the lives of those we serve. This recognition from IWBI motivates us to keep pushing boundaries and setting new standards in the industry.”

Project features that helped Claiborne communities achieve its WELL Certified Health-Safety level rating include:

  • Smoke free environment
  • Ventilation effectiveness
  • Moisture management
  • Humidity control
  • Promoting movement, physical activity, and active living
  • Waste management
  • Mental health support and education
  • Restorative spaces, support, and programs
  • Emergency preparedness
  • Community access and engagement

WELL is grounded in evidence-based research that explores the connection between the buildings where we spend approximately 90 percent of our time, and the health and well-being impacts on the people inside these buildings. To be awarded WELL Certification by IWBI, all Claiborne communities underwent rigorous testing and a final evaluation carried out by third parties to ensure it met all WELL Certified Health-Safety performance requirements.

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International WELL Building Institute pbc is a wholly owned subsidiary of Delos Living LLC. International WELL Building Institute, IWBI, the WELL Building Standard, WELL v2, WELL Certified, WELL AP, WELL Score, The WELL Conference, We Are WELL, the WELL Community Standard, WELL Health-Safety Rating, WELL Health-Safety Rated, WELL Equity Rated, WELL Performance Rated, WELL Performance Rating, WELL and others, and their related logos are trademarks or certification marks of International WELL Building Institute pbc in the United States and other countries.

Exploring the Journey to Senior Living: Finding Your Perfect Match

Embarking on the journey to find the perfect senior living community can feel akin to purchasing your first home.

It’s a significant decision, one that requires careful consideration and, most importantly, the right questions.

Remember the excitement mixed with caution when you first bought your home? You didn’t leap without looking. You toured, inspected, and pondered over every detail. From the size of the kitchen to the layout of the living room, each aspect was scrutinized. You opened closets, checked views, and felt the vibe of the neighborhood. It wasn’t just about seeing; it was about understanding and envisioning your life in that space.

But your diligence didn’t stop at what met the eye. Questions were your tool for uncovering the unseen. “When was the house built? Has it ever faced flooding? What’s the condition of the roof?” These inquiries helped you gauge not just the present, but the potential future of your home.

Fast forward to today, you stand at the threshold of a different yet equally important decision — choosing a senior living community. This decision, much like buying your first home, demands the same level of scrutiny and inquiry. However, the questions differ as your needs and expectations have evolved.

You’re ready for a new kind of home to live a new kind of life.

Finding the right senior living community isn’t just about the physical space. It’s about the quality of life, the level of care, and the community spirit. As you tour potential communities, it’s crucial to ask targeted questions. Inquire about the history of the place, the range of activities, and the quality of care. Understand the community’s approach to wellness and social engagement.

Whether you’re a senior ready to start this new chapter or a family member assisting a loved one, the right questions will illuminate your path. Your tour guide will showcase the community, but your queries will clarify your decision.

In this journey, it’s not just about finding a place to live; it’s about discovering a space where life can be lived to its fullest. Let’s embark on this journey together, armed with curiosity and the quest for a place that feels like home. This guide is your compass in navigating this new terrain.

Setting the Stage to Talk About Senior Living

You’ve done your homework. All that’s left to do now is the talking. It won’t be easy. But if you embrace the following roadmap, it can be a productive start to a successful child-parent dialogue.

Make Your Loved One Comfortable

When, where and how you have the talk can be just as important as what you say. The first thing you should do, therefore, is arrange to have the conversation at a time that’s convenient for your parents and in a place that’s comfortable for them.

If your parents hate talking on the phone, for example, it might be best to have the talk in person—even if that means waiting a few months until your next visit if you live out of state. Likewise, blindsiding them over dinner in a public restaurant might not be the best approach. Instead, tell them ahead of time that you’d like to have a serious conversation, and let them decide where they’d like to have it. That gives them time to prepare themselves, and makes them feel like they have agency in the discussion they’re about to have with you.

Break the Ice

Starting the discussion often is the most difficult part of it. To get things off on the right foot, consider different ways to break the ice with anecdotes. For instance, you could:

  • APPEAL TO THEIR DESIRES:

    Have your parents been dreaming about traveling? Does Mom regularly muse about how nice it would be to have more neighbors her age, or how she misses her Bunco group? Seize on those desires and use them as a jumping-off point.

    For example, “I know you guys have been wanting to travel more. Wouldn’t it be nice if you could put some of the money you’re spending on the house into traveling? Or if you didn’t have to worry about the house while you were away? If you lived in a senior living community, you might have more freedom to do the things you’ve been wanting to do.”

  • ACKNOWLEDGE THEIR FEARS:

    Has Dad had health scares? Has Mom been having memory problems? Did they have a hard time putting up their holiday decorations this year, or stocking up for a big winter storm? Offering solutions to things they’re already worried about can be an effective approach.

    For example, “Remember last summer when you tripped in your garden? Thank goodness you were OK, but what if something like that happens again? If you lived in a senior living community, you wouldn’t have to worry about that.”

  • EMPHASIZE SUCCESS STORIES:

    The grass is always greener on the other side. Sharing positive anecdotes from friends and family members who have already made the transition to senior living can help you make the grass look even greener.

    For example, “Didn’t your cousin Mary recently move into a senior living community? I hear that she’s really loving it. Have you thought about doing something similar?”

  • SET AN EXAMPLE:

    If your parents are procrastinators, it might help if you lead the way. And leading by example can be especially effective.

    For example, “I finally sat down with an attorney last month to do my estate planning. I feel so much better having that done. Have you guys done yours yet?”

  • PLEAD TO THEIR INNER PARENT:

    Your parents have always wanted the best for you, and the last thing they want to be is a burden. Appealing to their inner nurturers can therefore be a good way to grab their attention.

    For example, “I’ve been feeling really anxious lately about how I’m going to possibly manage everything in the future—maintaining my job, caring for the kids and watching over you guys. Knowing you were safe in a senior living community would sure make me feel better.”

Embrace Empathy

Next to practical information about what senior living communities are and what benefits they confer, probably the most important thing you can bring to your conversation with Mom and Dad is empathy. Because even if you approach the discussion from the right place and make all the right points, your parents might still have a negative reaction initially. And that’s understandable.

Change is hard to process, and aging is emotional. Before you become defensive or combative, try to put yourself in your parents’ shoes. Remain calm, honest and rational, even if they cannot. If you can be continually cognizant of their concerns and unflinchingly respectful of their feelings, cooler heads eventually will prevail.

Practice Active Listening

Next to practical information about what senior living communities are and what benefits they confer, probably the most important thing you can bring to your conversation with Mom and Dad is empathy. Because even if you approach the discussion from the right place and make all the right points, your parents might still have a negative reaction initially. And that’s understandable.

Change is hard to process, and aging is emotional. Before you become defensive or combative, try to put yourself in your parents’ shoes. Remain calm, honest and rational, even if they cannot. If you can be continually cognizant of their concerns and unflinchingly respectful of their feelings, cooler heads eventually will prevail.

Be Persistent, Not Pushy

Your parents are still your parents. Just because they’ve reached a certain age doesn’t mean they’ve lost their powers of reason or relinquished their sovereignty. Even when they disagree with you, they’re still autonomous adults who are allowed to make their own decisions.

With that in mind, it’s helpful to remember that your role is not that of a decider someone who makes unilateral decisions on behalf of your entire family—but rather that of an advisor: someone who suggests, informs, encourages and inspires. If you don’t get the accord you were seeking right away, that’s OK. If you continue to make and repeat your points, your parents eventually will hear you out.

Coffee and pastry treats at white and bright table.

You’ve Talked…Now What?

To move the needle, keep the conversation alive.

Rome wasn’t built in a day, and neither will your parents’ future be. Progress takes persistence. No matter how things go, it’s important to keep communicating. After all, The Talk is rarely a single conversation.

More often than not, it’s the opening salvo in a series of conversations that gradually, eventually produces the best outcome for parents and children alike. That outcome might be a senior living community. But also, it might not be.

Either way, coming to a decision requires a slow and steady approach that’s based on compromise and collaboration. Like sailing, you’ve got to constantly assess the wind and adjust your sails in order to reach your destination—whether you’re captain of the boat or just another crew member.

Find more helpful information in the full guide. Click below to access it now!

Why Choose Senior Living?

Know your why.

As important as it is to know what senior living communities are, it’s even more important to know why they’re attractive to residents and their families, many of whom might embrace the idea of aging in place were it not for some very legitimate concerns.

The following are some of common reasons that parents and their adult children turn to senior living communities; before you sit down with your parents, ask yourself which ones resonate with you, and which ones might resonate with Mom and Dad.

Safety

Although your parents may wish to age in place, doing so can come with significant risks—including falls, which are the leading cause of injury among adults 65 and older thanks to their limited mobility, decreased eyesight and increased fragility. For older adults, even minor falls sustained doing routine household chores can have major implications, including broken bones and fractures, head injuries, permanent disability and even death.

Why Senior Living? Senior living communities often have accessible residences that are designed for seniors’ safety, as well as amenities like meal service and housekeeping that preclude seniors from attempting dangerous household chores.

Health & Wellness

Even if your parents manage to avoid falling, they’ll still be prone to medical emergencies. What happens if they have a heart attack, for instance, or a stroke? What if they mix up their medications, or have an allergic reaction? And what about diet and fitness? Malnourishment and muscle loss can be common in seniors, many of who stop shopping, eating and exercising when it becomes more difficult for them to drive and walk.

Why Senior Living? Certain types of senior housing, like assisted living communities, may have medical personnel onsite who can assist in the event of a medical emergency. Many have meal services that ensure proper nutrition, and most offer amenities and activities to help residents stay active and fit.

Financial Security

Money is a common concern for seniors, many of whom live on a fixed income. If a financial emergency were to befall them, would they be okay? A medical event, for example, could be just as hurtful to their wealth as it is to their health. A home disaster, such as a broken furnace or flooded basement, could be equally disruptive.

And then there are financial fraudsters, for whom seniors are often easy prey. Even something as routine as paying bills can become problematic for older adults, whose failing eyesight and discomfort with the latest technologies could lead to missed or mis-paid bills, which in turn can lead to cancellation or interruption of critical services.

Why Senior Living? Senior living communities make for stable and predictable expenses, which makes financial planning and management simple for seniors and their families. Plus, many communities offer tiered services that can flex to fit any budget.

Socialization

As they age, seniors often see less of friends and peers. Some of them retire in faraway places. Some of them become ill or disabled. Some become isolated due to lack of mobility. Still others pass away. Meanwhile, grown children who used to consume so much of their time become busy with careers and families of their own. The cumulative effect for many older adults is a smaller social circle that can lead to feelings of isolation and loneliness.

Why Senior Living? Senior living communities are designed with socialization in mind, offering ample opportunity to participate in organized activities as well as impromptu social engagements.

Support

When friends and family are absent, it’s not just seniors’ social lives that suffer. It’s also their support system. Suddenly, they have no one to check in on them to make sure they’re okay. That can have consequences not only for their mental health, but also for their physical well-being.

For example, imagine a natural disaster; in the event of a major tornado, blizzard, earthquake or hurricane, who would make sure your parents had food, water and heat, or help them evacuate if it was no longer safe to shelter in place?

Why Senior Living? Senior living communities have built-in support in the form of neighbors and friends, as well as professional staff.

Mental Acuity

Aging doesn’t just impact the body. It also impacts the mind. In particular, memory loss from Alzheimer’s disease and dementia can create its own kinds of safety concerns. Seniors with cognitive illness, for example, may be prone to wandering and might endanger themselves with simple acts of absentmindedness, like leaving a hot stove unattended.

Why Senior Living? Many senior living communities offer memory care services that are designed especially for seniors with Alzheimer’s and dementia.

A senior living community can bridge the gap between the help your parents need and the help you’re able to offer.

While you’re contemplating how a senior living community can benefit your parents, consider how it can benefit you, as well. If Mom and Dad choose to age in place, at some point they’ll likely need increased support and supervision from you. Think about your own responsibilities at work and at home. Do you have the time to be a full- or even part-time caregiver? To help on a routine basis with groceries and household chores? What about the social and emotional bandwidth that caregiving requires? A senior living community can bridge the gap between the help your parents need and the help you’re able to offer.

For more assistance in preparing to talk with your loved one about senior living, click the link below to view our full guide.

Fact vs Fiction: The Truth About Senior Living

The best weapon against uncertainty is information.

Before you attempt to have a talk with your parents, you must have a talk with yourself—about what senior living communities are, what they offer and why your parents should consider moving to one. The more homework you do ahead of time, the better prepared you’ll be to make a compelling case to your parents when you speak with them.

To lay good groundwork, you must have the facts.

Separate fact from fiction.

Thanks to television shows and movies that are based on old stereotypes and outdated models of care, you and your parents probably have preconceived notions about what a senior living community is. Before you broach the subject, therefore, it’s important to understand what senior housing is all about.

First and foremost, you should know that a senior living community is not a nursing home, and that senior housing is not a one-size-fits-all solution. In fact, senior housing today is all about flexibility and choice—giving seniors and their families a wide variety of options to suit their unique needs, circumstances and objectives.

Common Misconceptions

“I’m going to lose my independence.”

Communities are designed to provide just the right amount of support and assistance to help you live life to the fullest.

“There is no place like home.”

Residents enjoy convenience and comfort of lush green landscaping, beautifully decorated interiors, spacious accommodations and amenities such as pools, fitness centers, restaurant-style dining, and housekeeping and laundry services. No more home maintenance or yard work!

“I’m too old to make new friends and try new things.”

Most communities have a dedicated program director and monthly calendars filled with clubs, classes, events, outings where you can meet and engage with other residents.

Most Common Fears for Seniors

If you’re considering senior living for your love one, it’s important that you don’t approach the move from a purely practical standpoint. This is an emotional time with common fears that include:

  • Loss of independence
  • Failing health, particularly memory
  • Running out of money
  • Having to leave their home
  • Losing loved ones
  • Having to depend on others
  • Not being able to drive
  • Being isolated and lonely
  • Falling or becoming incapacitated

Take these fears to heart as your family discusses the future together. Showing empathy and patience will provide comfort that you’re on their side, can strengthen your relationship and even help them warm up to the idea of moving.

Playing up the Positive

Yes, there are the fears, but what about the gains? It’s just as important to make sure your loved one knows exactly what they have to look forward to. In many ways, it can truly be a new beginning. Here are the facts:

  • The environment fosters independence.
  • The lifestyle is worry-free.
  • Loneliness is a no-go.
  • You can still be you.
There are many considerations when it comes to discussing senior living. For more insight and direction on how to engage your loved one in the conversation, click the button below to check out our full guide.

Sailing Into the Senior Living Conversation with Your Loved One

It’s time to “captain” the senior living conversation.

In consultations with clients young and old, financial advisors often liken retirement to sailing. It’s easy to see why. There’s a destination—financial security—not to mention countless storms along the way, including everything from market volatility to wallet-rattling events like death, divorce and illness. Getting through them safely and securely takes a little bit of luck and a lot of skill, just like sailing.

In most advisors’ sailing metaphors, navigators are the star. Because when it comes to money, navigation is paramount. When it comes to the emotional aspects of aging, however, the most important person on the boat is usually the captain. After all, navigators help with coordinates, but only the captain can steer the ship.

Every senior would like to be their own skipper. And yet, there often are occasions where adult children must don the captain’s hat on their parents’ behalf. One of those occasions is when it’s time to talk about transitioning to a senior living community.

Challenging though it may be, talking about senior housing can be made infinitely easier with a little preparation and forethought.

Ideally, older adults will recognize for themselves when they’ve aged out of their current home and lifestyle. But self-awareness is a tricky thing. It can be difficult to see the reality of one’s circumstances when you’re in the middle of it. When that’s the case, the trusted voice of a close family member can shine the light that’s needed to see things not as they used to be, but as they currently are.

To be sure, it’s a difficult discussion. And yet, it’s also a necessary discussion. Because underneath the stress and discomfort of candid conversation are real and urgent issues that threaten seniors’ physical and fiscal wellness—not to mention that of their grown children, on whose shoulders eventually can fall the responsibility for their parents’ health and happiness. Sooner or later, you have to have The Talk. Not only for Mom and Dad’s sake, but also for your own.

Challenging though it may be, talking about senior housing can be made infinitely easier with a little preparation and forethought. Use this guide to form a plan that makes the conversation comfortable and productive, ensuring smooth sailing through rough waters for you, your parents and your entire family.

The trusted voice of a close family member can shine the light that’s needed to see things not as they used to be, but as they currently are.

There will never be a perfect time to talk to your parents about transitioning to a senior living community, but there is a perfect way. Here’s how to broach the subject with compassion and common sense.

Welcome Home! What to Expect When Moving Into Senior Living

You’ve balanced the budget, you’ve compared the competition, you’ve reached out, researched and reviewed all aspects of the process. You’ve made the decision to move into a senior living community. Congratulations! It’s time for the fun to begin!

Preparing for Your New Home: What to Bring

The community may provide you a list, but just in case plan for these items:

  • COMFORT ITEMS: Bring your favorite blanket, throw or pillows along with sheets, a bedspread and a clock.
  • PERSONAL CARE: Make sure you have a toothbrush, toothpaste, hairbrush and comb as well as a shaving kit for men or cosmetics for women. Include any other personal grooming items in addition to several bath towels, hand towels and wash cloths.
  • CLOTHING: Bring clothes that are comfortable to wear and easy to get on and off. Also bring rubber-soled shoes to help prevent falls. Don’t forget undergarments, pajamas, socks, robe and slippers as well as a light sweater or jacket.
  • FURNISHINGS: Most independent living, assisted living and memory care communities allow you to provide your own furniture such as a bed and couch which will make your new home truly feel like home.
  • FAVORITES: Don’t forget favorite snacks, books and/or music to make it feel even more like home.

Moving Day

To help the day go smoothly make sure to:

HAVE EVERYTHING READY

All new resident paperwork should be complete and you’ve oriented yourself to the community and its policies.

SET UP YOUR SPACE

It’s one of the first things you should do; you’ll feel more at home and will be ready to welcome all those new neighbors and friends.

CONNECT

Senior living communities typically have new resident ambassadors (or some type of buddy system) to help you feel welcome. They’ll pair you with a person or persons who share similar interests or backgrounds to show you the ropes.

PICK THEIR BRAIN

Keep in mind, the residents have been where you are and may have some tips from when they first moved. And it’s a great conversation starter!

ENJOY YOUR FIRST MEAL

Even if you’ve visited prior, that first meal as a resident can be stressful. Have a family member join you, sit with your resident ambassador or both to take the edge off as you meet and talk with new friends and neighbors.

DON’T BE SHY

Check out the activity calendar, find things that interest you, and jump right in!

When asked what they would do differently, many senior living residents respond, “I wish I’d done this sooner.” We hope that is your experience as well!

I wish I’d done this sooner!

Did you miss all the steps leading up to the move-in? Click below to view the full guide on choosing a senior living community.

Before the Big Move: How to Transition Smoothly Into Senior Living

Making the Transition

Once you’ve chosen the community it’s time to plan the move. Even though your family has agreed that senior living is best, there’s still likely to be a great deal of trepidation about what to expect. It’s important to include the community at this point of the process. They will be more than happy to help ease the transition for all of you!

Here’s how:

  • Ask what resources they recommend such as realtors, moving companies and professional downsizing specialists.
  • Arrange an in-home visit from the community. A staff member will visit, get to know your loved one, learn their needs, likes and desires and answer any questions you may have.
  • Visit the community often with your loved one to have a meal, participate in activities and get to know the staff as well as your new neighbors.

What to Expect

Once you put down a deposit, an assessment will be scheduled (unless you are moving into independent living) to ensure the community can provide you with all the care required. The assessment also determines the additional costs for personal care. There are communities that include some care within the monthly fee and others separate rent and care. Every state regulates senior living differently, and the state determines what care can and cannot be provided.

Following the assessment, you will schedule a lease signing with the community’s executive director. Be sure to ask what paperwork is needed for this meeting.

Typically, you will need:
  • A physician’s clearance form
  • Insurance, Medicare and Social Security cards
  • Chest X-ray or a negative TB test
  • Legal documents such as healthcare proxy, power of attorney, etc.

Don’t Wait: Let the Fun Begin

Once you’ve deposited and schedule your move-in date, you’re part of the family! To ease the transition, visit the community often. This will allow the new resident to get acclimated to the building and grounds as well as make new friends with other residents and staff members so that they see familiar faces when they officially move into their new home.

Reasons to Visit:

  • Grab a meal: Many communities will allow you to come enjoy a complimentary meal. The dining room is the social hub of most communities and therefore a great place to meet people.
  • Activities: Most communities would gladly welcome you to participate in the activities, events or entertainment that interests you. Talk to the Life Enrichment or Activities team to get a copy of the current monthly activity calendar. There are bound to be things you can join in on.
  • Schedule a time: If you have questions or are unclear about anything, make an appointment to chat with a community representative. They want your transition to run smoothly and will do what they can to ensure that this happens.

Need more guidance on how to smoothly transition to senior living? Click below to see the full guide!

Figuring Out Finances For Senior Living

How can we afford to pay for this?

That’s often one of the biggest concerns when families begin considering senior living. Senior living doesn’t come cheap, but the reality is, neither does aging-in-place at home. And while there’s much more that goes into this decision than price alone, it’s a big part of the equation.

Comparing the Cost of Home Versus Senior Living

Make sure you’re comparing the total cost of living at home, not simply your mortgage and rent costs as this has a large impact on affordability. At home, you also pay for food, utilities, home maintenance, property taxes, insurance, entertainment and health care. Factor those costs into your current monthly expenses for a more apples-to-apples comparison with potential senior living costs.

But What’s the Value?

Even if your comparison shows a senior living community may cost more, make sure to keep the positive impact on quality of life in the equation. What is the value of a satisfying social life? What is the worth of rediscovering the cultural and recreational activities you’ve always loved? And remember, there’s no price tag on peace of mind.

Four out of five adults underestimate the costs of home health care with the average American underestimating the cost by almost 50 percent, according to the Genworth Long Term Care/ Caregiving Online Survey.

Building Your Budget

Once you understand the cost and value of senior living, let’s discuss how you can prepare financially. While every family’s circumstances are different, there are three general steps you should follow in budgeting for senior living.

  1. Gather and organize financial documents for yourself or your loved one.
  2. Discuss putting a financial plan in place while you’re discussing what you want in a senior living community. Talk about your wishes, needs goals as well as how to handle financial duties such as paying bills, managing benefit claims, making investment decisions, and preparing tax returns.
  3. Consider consulting a financial advisor and/or estate planning attorney who specializes in elder care and/or long-term care planning.

Options to Offset the Cost

While there are a variety of senior living options, luckily there are also a variety of options to help you pay for it.

VETERANS AID & ATTENDANCE BENEFIT

Wartime veterans or a surviving spouse with limited income may be eligible to receive a non-service- connected pension (above the basic pension) to assist in paying for assisted living, home health care, adult day care or skilled nursing.

LONG-TERM CARE (LTC) INSURANCE

LTC insurance helps to pay for the cost of home care, adult day care, assisted living, memory care, skilled nursing and hospice by covering services typically not covered by health insurance, Medicare or Medicaid.

LIFE INSURANCE CONVERSION

Anyone with an in-force life insurance policy can transform it into a pre-funded financial account that disburses a monthly benefit to help pay for long-term care needs such as home care, assisted living, skilled nursing and hospice. Unlike life insurance, this account is a Medicaid-qualified asset.

Common Misperceptions

Many people incorrectly assume that Medicare, Medicaid and/or their health insurance will cover senior living. Here are the facts.

Medicare only pays for long-term care if you require skilled services or rehabilitative care:

  • In a nursing home for a maximum of 100 days.
  • At home if you are also receiving skilled home health or other skilled in-home services.

Medicaid does pay for the largest share of long-term care services, but to qualify, your income must be below a certain level and you must meet minimum state eligibility requirements based on the amount of assistance you need with ADL.

Health insurance through employers or private health insurance typically cover only the same kinds of limited services as Medicare. If they do cover long-term care, it is typically only for skilled, short-term, medically necessary care.

Now what?

It can be overwhelming, but there are resources that can help. View our full guide on how to choose the right senior living community which includes worksheets and exercises to help you clear the clutter and move toward a care-free lifestyle!

Navigating the Journey of Senior Living

Did you decide to move for a more carefree lifestyle? Are you looking at options for a loved one who now needs more assistance than can be provided at home?

The journey is different for everyone. Add in different caregiving roles, family dynamics, budget, location and lifestyle considerations and you now know why senior living is no longer one size fits all.

That said, everyone’s journey should start in one place – with an honest assessment of your situation to identify what’s working and what isn’t.

Here are some areas to think about and assess: are they currently working, does the family want to manage, and should we get help?

  • Meals/Nutrition
  • Transportation
  • Socialization
  • Personal Care
  • Medication Management
  • Housekeeping/Laundry
  • Home Maintenance
  • Safety
  • Caregiver Stress

Careful Considerations

Whether you’re the one moving or you’re the primary caregiver, when considering a life change of this magnitude it’s crucial to get input from family members. They may offer conflicting opinions, may have thoughts or ideas you haven’t considered, or may affirm your decision. Regardless, everyone should feel valued and heard to foster a spirit of collaboration in the decisions ahead.

As a starting point, each family member involved in the decision-making process should put these considerations in order of importance (1–5). Have everyone complete his or her own, but do them at the same time if possible to align everyone’s goals on what is most important in your search.

Prepare for the Talk

If you suspect your loved one will be resistant to the idea of senior living, follow these tips to start the discussion.

Meeting Your Needs and Wants

There are non-negotiables and nice-to-haves in every major life decision—choosing a house, car, college or even a spouse. Senior living is no different! Identifying these early on can help you stay focused on your search so your needs and wants are met as best as possible.

We’ll get you started with a list of commonly requested features. Feel free to add your own, but keep in mind most senior living communities already offer the basics such as meals, transportation, housekeeping, linen service, maintenance and activities.

Levels of Living : Understanding your options

Senior living communities offer more care and housing options today than ever before. The abundance of choices can be overwhelming if you’re not prepared. Good thing you are! By having your most important considerations and what you want and need identified already, your family will have a much easier time finding the right community.

Head vs Heart

HOW DO YOU MAKE DECISIONS?:

Do you list pros and cons and go from there? Do you go with your gut? Somewhere in between? Emotions are said to drive 80% of the choices Americans make, while practicality and objectivity only represent about 20% of decision making.

WHEN TO HALT DECISIONS:

HALT is an acronym that stands for Hungry, Angry, Lonely or Tired. If you make decisions when you are one of these things, emotion wins 100 percent of the time!

Source: Psychology Today

There are many factors to consider – all of which we’ve laid out in an extensive toolkit including budgeting worksheets, Do’s and Don’ts for talking to loved ones, outlining levels of care, and more. Access it via the link below!

Change Is Inevitable

Change is part of life.

It’s an overused cliché, yet very true.

However, it doesn’t minimize the mixed emotions that come with major life changes.

Whether it’s deciding on a college, living on your own for the first time, or buying your first house; the process is a journey wrought with highs and lows. Choosing a senior living community is no different. Although, when it comes to this time of life, it may not be with the same mixed emotions.

When is it truly time? What are the options? What do we need? Want? How do we choose? Where do we even start?

This may be due to the misperceptions many have about senior living. Un-affectionately known as ‘the home’ for many, stigmas of the past simply aren’t true today. In fact, senior living communities now more closely resemble resorts on sprawling campuses with comfortable accommodations and plenty of amenities. The environment fosters independence, perhaps even more so than at home. The many opportunities to socialize, exercise and stay mentally active will pleasantly surprise you. As for the cost, that may surprise you too because, in some cases, senior living is less expensive than staying home!

The other part is the journey itself. When is it truly time? What are the options? What do we need? Want? How do we choose? Where do we even start? And once we decide on the senior living community, how do we actually make the transition?

We can help you with it all—from looking at this time as a new beginning to making the decision to moving in. Simply put, it’s everything your family needs to know about choosing a senior living community.

After “The Talk”

You’ve started the conversation about moving to a senior living community; now, you’ve got to keep it going. Here are some next steps to consider.

Keep in mind that the senior-living conversation is rarely a single conversation. More often, it’s a series of progressive conversations that take place over time. If you don’t get the accord you were seeking right away, that’s OK. If you continue to make and repeat your points, your family eventually will hear you out. 

As the conversation continues, there are things you can do to move the needle in a positive direction. For example:

MEET WITH A FINANCIAL ADVISOR

Money can be one of the biggest concerns for family members who are skeptical of senior housing. Although they want to support you emotionally, they worry whether they will be able to support you financially. Meeting with a financial advisor can help you and your loved ones understand what resources you need, what resources you have and what might be required to fill the gap between them if there is one. Importantly, a financial advisor also can help you compare the costs of living in a senior living community to the costs of aging in place. When you consider the money you might spend over time on home maintenance, in-home healthcare and other expenses, the latter isn’t always as affordable as it seems.

TAKE A TOUR

Talking about a senior living community is one thing. Actually seeing a community is something else entirely. If you’re still trying to decide on a community, invite your family members to join you on tours. And if you’ve already chosen a community, schedule a time to visit it with them. Although they may still have reservations, family members often end up excited for you when they see firsthand what your life is going to look like and the ways in which it might improve.

DELEGATE DUTIES AND DECISIONS

Ultimately, where you want to live is your choice. Involving family members in the process, however, can make them feel important and engaged. That, in turn, can build buy-in. For instance, you could task adult children with helping you find potential communities to tour and explore. Or if you’ve already chosen a community, you could ask loved ones to help you do research about the area around it, or help execute your move by hiring movers, organizing a garage sale or planning a housewarming party.

Don’t miss the full guide on how to talk to your family about senior living! Click below!

How to Have Fruitful Family Meeting

When broaching the subject of moving into a senior living community with your family, empathy and earnestness are the keys to constructive conversation.

Ultimately, all your planning and preparation are groundwork for a single moment: convening a family meeting to finally announce your senior-living wishes. Like other family meetings you may have had over the years, the ensuing conversation might be unsettling and uncomfortable. But it’s also really important. Keeping in mind the following advice will ensure that everyone feels heard so you can build your future with the support of a family that’s united instead of divided.

Make A Date

When, where and how you have the talk can be just as important as what you say. The first thing you should do is to arrange having the conversation at a time and place that’s convenient for your loved ones. Instead of blindsiding them over dinner in a public restaurant, for example, tell them ahead of time that you’d like to have a serious conversation, then let them decide where they’d like to have it. That gives them time to prepare themselves, and makes them feel like they have agency in the discussion they’re about to have with you.

Break The Ice

Starting the discussion often is the most difficult part of it. To get things off on the right foot, consider different ways to break the ice. For instance, you could:

  1. Emphasize your desires.
  2. Acknowledge obstacles.
  3. Share success stories.
  4. Focus on the Family.

Underscore Your Independence

If your family is concerned about your decision, it could be because they imagine senior living communities as places where seniors live sedentary lifestyles inside cloistered facilities. The refreshing reality—that many senior living communities not only encourage active, independent living, but actually make it safer and more feasible—can be eye-opening for adult children and others who are skeptical.

Make It Clear: This Isn’t Personal

Adult children in particular might take it personally when you tell them that you want to live in senior housing. They might have imagined, for example, that you would eventually move in with them when you needed extra support. Or maybe you already do live with them, in which case they might feel hurt that you have decided you’d be happier elsewhere. In the case of assisted living communities, adult children might also have a hard time entrusting your well-being to others, insisting that no one will be able to give you the same level of care and love that they can give.

If you sense that your loved ones feel wounded by your wishes, the best thing you can do is reiterate your motivations and reassure them that your choice has nothing to do with them. They didn’t do anything wrong or push you away; rather, you’re simply ready to pursue new goals in a new environment.

Embrace Empathy

Even if your family doesn’t take your decision personally, they might have other objections. For example, perhaps your adult children were counting on you for childcare that you’ll no longer be able to provide. Maybe they’re worried that your decision will have financial implications for them—that they will have to help you cover the costs of senior living, for example, or that you will spend their inheritance on rent. Or perhaps your aging simply makes them feel insecure about their own advancing years.

Whatever they are, their concerns are real, even if you don’t believe them to be valid. For that reason, the most important thing you can bring to your conversation with family is empathy. Change is hard to process, and aging is emotional. Before you become defensive or combative, try to put yourself in your family’s shoes. Remain calm, honest and rational, even if they cannot. If you can be continually aware of their concerns and unflinchingly respectful of their feelings, cooler heads eventually will prevail.

Practice Active Listening

Remember, this is supposed to be a conversation. That means not just talking, but also listening. Often, family members who have objections or concerns simply want to be heard as they process the new choices and challenges that you’re facing. You can do your part to help them through it by being silent and attentive, by not interrupting, by withholding judgment, by asking insightful questions and by repeating their points back to them so they know you understood them.

For more tips on discussing moving to a senior living community with your family, check out the guide!