When is the Right Time to Consider Moving to a Senior Living Community?

Determining when you may want to consider moving to a senior living community is a very complicated decision process.  Many people wait for a crisis to occur before considering such a move; while others plan and move before something happens.

Planning requires that you look ‘realistically’ into the crystal ball.

Try to imagine your life in 5 to 10 years from now. Looking in the crystal ball, you need to think about a scenario when you may not drive anymore or if your health starts to change, how will you manage? Try to image what your life will be like a year if you or your spouse passes away or requires care. This may be difficult to for you to do, but it will help you develop your plan. It is important that you are realistic, so you thoroughly think through this process.

Who’s going to change the light bulbs?

We meet people who elect to “stick it out” in their own homes.  This then creates a tremendous burden on their family and friends.  There is a great deal of loneliness and isolation that occurs and a level of vulnerability of abuse from outsiders. Access to services is limited, plus simple chores like driving to the grocery store or picking up your prescription medication becomes a major challenge. Home maintenance and repairs become major issues and a source of exploitation from unscrupulous vendors.

It is always better to be 5 years to early than 5 minutes to late. 

Many senior living communities have medical acceptance criteria to be considered for residency.  This is a very important factor to consider. People who wait for a crisis to occur or have progressive medical conditions are frequently denied residency.

If you are a couple, you need to look after each other and protect one another in case one of you requires care.  More importantly, you need to make sure the healthy spouse has their future care plan is in place. Unfortunately, many people fail to consider this scenario and the healthy spouse ends up in a dire situation (medically, socially and financially) after the non-healthy spouses passes away.

Senior living communities are not nursing homes.

At the root of the timing question is the misconception that senior living communities are nursing homes and by moving to a retirement community, you will be losing your independence.  Senior living communities offer a wide spectrum of services and amenities, including dining, social activities, fitness & wellness programs so residents can keep active and healthy longer.

To learn about the advantages of  senior living community,  read more… Weighing the Advantages of a Senior Living Community

Am I’m ready to consider a move to a retirement community?

Many (if not all) of the folks that I have helped move to a senior community all told me prior to their move that they are not ready. It is a mantra that I hear in my sleep.  “I love where we live, and I don’t see any need to do anything right now.”  “We’re just not ready.”

If you speak with these folks today, 99.9% of them will tell you that it was the best decision they ever made, they only wished they would have made it sooner. So, here are intelligent and successful people all saying the same thing… we wish we would have done it sooner.”

When it the right time?

There are different time frames to consider.  When do you want to start your research, when do you see yourself narrowing down your choices and when do you want to move? By doing your research early, you may find that the community you are considering has a waiting list or is planning to expand or is under construction.

If you have a long-term plan to move, try to figure out what needs to occur between now and this date in the future to make you ready.

Select, don’t settle.

By selecting a senior living community before your health changes, you can choose the place that fits your needs and lifestyle the best. The longer you wait, the less selection you will have. If you are considering a new community, you can pick your desired location and floorplan, get medically accepted and have time to sell your home.

Let the experts help you.

As senior housing advisors, we can simplify and streamline the process. We help you narrow your choices. We are familiar with all the options in the area and know about future projects as well. We share demographics and overall lifestyles of all the places you are considering making sure it is the right fit for you. We know pricing, availability, financially stability and overall reputation. We help you ever step of the way.

Bottom line… don’t wait for something to occur.  Plan for your tomorrows today!

For more information, go to: www.seniorhousingsolutions.net 

Weighing the advantages of a senior living community

The other day, I received a call from a daughter of a client.  She was in tears and shared with me the issues she is dealing with overseeing her dad’s care.  As she explained, she is now responsible to oversee her dad’s day to day care while her two brothers are helping financially.  Tearfully, she said, “all I want to do is be my dad’s daughter again.” This situation resonated with me because I see so many people afraid of change who are in a state of denial about their future long-term care needs and are unaware of the impact their decisions have on their family.  There are many advantages of living at a senior living community.  These include:

Access to on-site services and amenities

Senior living communities are designed to help promote one’s independence and provide a care-free lifestyle for their residents.  On-site services and amenities typically include dining, housekeeping, transportation, maintenance, security and social activities.  Residents enjoy chef-prepared meals without the hassle of shopping, prepping, cooking and cleaning.  Say goodbye to TV dinners and dining alone. Many senior communities have a wide spectrum of activities including fitness programs, card playing and lectures and seminars.  Well stocked libraries and even happy hours are common.  Your days will be as full as you want them.  Yes, you can bring your own car, however transportation services to shopping, doctors’ appointments, area excursions and cultural events are available to make your life easier.  Remember, you might be able to drive today, but in the future, it may be safer to let someone do it for you.  If something stops working in your apartment like your air conditioner or your disposal, all you do is make one phone call and the issue is handled.  You don’t even need to stick around for the obnoxious “window of time” waiting for someone to show up.  You can go to your aqua aerobics class and when you return, the issue has been resolved.  Life is good!

Access to on-site health care

As we age, we might require more assistance.  This could be on short term rehab basis or longer term.  Yes, you can bring in care in your home, however there is a limit to what can be provided and is expensive and difficult to manage.  Imagine living at a senior community and being able to use the on-site physical therapy services or being able to see your doctor right on campus.  Yes, the convenience factor is huge, however the ability to have access to these services will help you stay active and independent longer. On-site services may also include assistance with bathing, dressing and ambulation and even medication management.  These services are available for you when you need them.  Most senior living communities have 24 emergency response systems in case someone fell or not feeling well.  Having on-site emergency response can literally save your life!  Many senior living communities have visiting doctors including specialists who will see patients right at the community.  No more boring waiting rooms for you!  Knowing that you have access to these on-site services will help you stay active longer and provide you with the peace of mind that you know if something ever happens, that you have planned ahead.

Peace of mind

Knowing that you are not a burden to your spouse or your family can not be understated.  The peace of mind of knowing you have planned ahead and that you are able to live carefree is priceless. Recognizing that something will probably change in your health and that is better to have a plan in place before it does is an important step. There are too many people who live in a state of denial and wait for a crisis to occur before making any plans.  This is not a wise move.  Researching the right place that fits your needs and lifestyle will take some time and the last thing you want to do is let someone else make this decision for you.

Financial security

It is amazing when you compare what you are paying in your own home versus what is included in a senior living community, you will see what a value the senior living community provides. Your food and household expenses will dramatically be lowered. Knowing you have a predictable monthly fee will help you develop a better financial plan. There are different financial arrangements for senior living communities including rental, buy-in (CCRC) or equity ownership. If you elect to stay at home and bring in care, your financial situation could change drastically because of the expense of home health care. There are other financial assistance programs available if you move to an assisted living facility include Aid and Attendance through the Veteran’s Administration. Unfortunately, Medicare does not pay for assisted living and there are only a few assisted living facilities that will accept Medicaid. Usually, someone needs to be living in assisted living before being able to tap into Medicaid.  Again, planning ahead is the key.

Friendships and Fun

Senior living communities provide the opportunity for life-long friendships and never being lonely again.  There have been numerous studies done that prove people live longer and healthier when they are around other people.  Socialization at senior communities is what makes people always say, “I wish I would have done it sooner.” Knowing that you can participate in as much of or as little of activities provides you with opportunities to meet people and have fun.  And, there is a lot of fun being had at these senior living communities. Mostly because, the worry burden is off of your shoulders. Many people also continue their interests outside the community include participating in church activities, volunteering and entertaining with friends.  Most importantly, your family now can be your family again and not be 24/7 caregivers.

For more information, go to www.seniorhousingsolutions.net