7 questions to ask when choosing a senior living community

Two senior women sitting and talking inside.

Choosing a retirement community for yourself or your loved one is a decision that should not be taken lightly. There are many questions that need to be asked to ensure you are getting the correct fit for your loved one’s needs. It’s important to visit several communities and ask plenty of questions to get a feel for what the community offers and what your life will look like if living there. Here are seven general questions that will lead into additional specific questions to assist you in making the best possible choice.

What are my needs?

Determine what level of service you need, whether that’s independent living within a senior community; assisted living; or skilled, 24-hour nursing care. After you have determined your level of service, you can narrow down communities that will best match your need. Choosing a Life Plan Community like St. Martin’s in the Pines—one that offers all levels of service as needs can change—is always a smart choice.

What amenities are offered?

Choosing a community with amenities that fit your interests and hobbies is crucial to a happy life. If you’re a food lover, ask about the meals offered and make sure you like the food before committing. If you’re wanting to maintain an active social life, see what social activities the community offers. Are there options for you to continue certain hobbies, like gardening, crafting, or exercise? It’s also important to ask what facilities exist onsite—like a hair salon or a pharmacy. Ask how transportation is arranged should you need it.

How is care provided?

Making sure you are receiving the proper care in the right way should be at the top of your list. Try not to get distracted by a community that might have all the attractive amenities but doesn’t provide care/support in the way you need it. Some communities have integrated care models where they have an onsite physician, nurse, and/or social worker for patients with specific needs. Others have special relationships with specific medical offices for their residents. If you have a preferred physician, be sure to ask if you can maintain that relationship. It’s also important to look at the surrounding area and the proximity of the community to healthcare services.

How much will it cost?

Don’t be afraid to ask for costs upfront. You’ll want to understand the full extent of the costs before making a decision. Ask about different types of contracts, when and how payment is due and if there are funding opportunities, if necessary. You’ll also want to ask about potential price increases year after year.

What are visitation policies?

Make sure the visitation policies fit your and your family’s needs. When and where are visitors allowed? Do visitors have to sign in each time and provide identification? Is a family member allowed to check you out of the community for a certain period of time? These questions may seem fairly obvious, but they are important to ask.

What makes this community different?

You’ll want to ask this question with each location you’re considering to accurately compare communities. Maybe it’s the socialization and activities that make it stand out or perhaps it’s the skilled nurses dedicated to specific patient needs. Some communities offer unique housing setups. Observe how the employees interact with one another and with residents. Does the community have a peaceful culture or feel to it? At St. Martin’s in the Pines’ skilled nursing, residents live in three story cottages that house 10 residents on each story with all private rooms and bathrooms.

Is there a religious affiliation?

If religion is important to you, you may seek out a religious affiliated community. At communities like this, nurses and chaplains provide prayer and religious support as well as medical care. Be sure to ask if there is a specific denomination affiliated and what weekly services are like. Many religious communities, including St. Martin’s in the Pines, have a chapel on site. Although St. Martin’s in the Pines is guided by the Episcopal Foundation of Jefferson County, residents of all denominations are welcome.

If you are interested in spending your best years in a comprehensive senior living community with luxurious amenities and a dedication to your comfort at every phase of life, please contact us today by clicking here.

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