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How to Choose the Right Senior Living Option for You

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a mature senior woman researching various senior living communities to find the right one for her.

Searching for the right senior living community can feel like an overwhelming experience. Considering health needs, personality and interests, and possible future needs can help simplify your choices.

Knowing what you need and want in a new home can make choosing a community that cares and values each resident holistically—mind, body, and soul—a more straightforward experience. 

Once you’ve read this article, it’s our goal that you’ll have a solid understanding of potential senior living options. You should also be able to confidently identify some of the important factors in your decision.

Senior Living Community Options

Independent living, assisted living, and memory care are 3 common senior living community options. Each of these options caters to seniors in different stages of life.

Independent Living

Independent living covers a fairly wide range of retirement options. This could refer to still independently living alone in the family home. Independent living could also be an option in a 55+ community. 

Many independent living communities still have a team of workers available for residents if they need assistance. Plus, there are typically amenities and perks, such as fitness rooms, dance classes, or other organized events.

Assisted Living

On the surface, assisted living may look much like independent living in a lot of ways. Typically, one of the major goals is to give a senior as much independence as possible.

But as a person ages, it can become increasingly difficult to do things alone, and safety can become a concern. Assistance with bathing, eating, or remembering medication are all things that a resident may get assistance with.

To qualify for assisted living, a senior still needs to meet a few basic criteria. For example, most assisted living communities aren’t equipped to deal with terminally ill residents or complex medical needs. A certain level of mobility and cognitive function is also typically required for assisted living. 

Memory Care

Forms of dementia are unfortunately not uncommon in seniors. When this happens, traditional living arrangements like those discussed above are not likely adequate. The staff typically aren’t equipped or trained to deal with some of the potential complications of dementia.

Some of the significant differences you may notice in a memory care community versus an assisted living one include:

  • Color-coded and easy-to-navigate hallways
  • Increased security measures, like locked doors and sign-in/out sheets
  • Enclosed outdoor areas, allowing residents some outdoor freedom
  • Specifically trained staff

Respite Care

The above options are all typically meant to be permanent. Sometimes, a permanent solution isn’t the answer, though. If a close friend or family member has committed to caring for the senior, temporary care may be better.

Respite care gives friends and family a break. This could be for something as quick as an afternoon to weeks or longer. During the duration of care, caregivers can rest knowing their senior loved ones are getting the 24/7 care they need.

Choosing the Right Senior Living Option

There isn’t a one-size-fits-all answer for choosing the right senior living option because each person and their situation is unique. But there are a few areas of life to consider when looking at communities.

Health Needs

It’s impossible to predict future health needs with 100% accuracy. But most people have a good idea of how healthy they are. This could play into where they choose to retire based on needing more or less medical care.

And when it comes time to make a move, the senior’s current health needs play a large role in the decision process. As mentioned above, assisted living communities can’t usually care for advanced medical needs. But different places will be qualified to offer different levels of care.

A senior couple trying to find the right senior living community for themselves with the help of their young and responsible daughter.

Personality & Interests

A senior’s personality and interests can play a large role in how they spend their golden years. For example, an avid outdoors person may not want to live in a senior community in the middle of a city with no access to parks or walking trails.

Seeing what each community offers in the way of services, amenities, and events should give most people a good idea of whether it’s a good fit.

Future Needs

You can’t plan ahead for every possible future need, but it’s worth giving some thought to what you may need in the future—physically or relationally. For example, if you still love city life but know that you’ll want access to nature, finding a community that has a good mixture may be the most beneficial.

Discuss Your Option with LifeWell Senior Living

We hope that you have a good understanding of senior living options now. If you’re considering retirement in Texas or New Mexico, contact our team at LifeWell Senior Living today. We’re happy to answer all your questions and book you a tour of the communities of your choice.

Written by LifeWell

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