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A Comprehensive Guide: How to Choose the Ideal Senior Living Community

Updated: May 30

A Comprehensive Guide: How to Choose the Ideal Senior Living Community

As our loved ones age, we must ensure they're well taken care of. Sooner or later, you'll have to move them into a senior living community. This choice can significantly impact not only their lives but yours, too.

You could be trying to determine what's best for your family member or yourself, so I'll help you with this guide. It'll take you through every step to make the right choice. It was explicitly created to provide valuable insights and expert advice. We all have our own preferences and needs, so it's hard to find a place that has everything we want in one little package. Take a deep breath because we're going to get through it together.

From understanding the various types of senior living care options to evaluating the amenities, services, and costs associated with each, we will explore all the key considerations that will empower you to make an informed and confident decision.

Let's go on a journey together to ensure your golden years are filled with security, joy, and the right senior living community.

1. Determine Types of Senior Living Care:

When it comes to senior living communities, you can take a few different paths. The decision isn't easy and takes some thinking. However, each type of care option was designed with a specific need for seniors.

Independent Senior Living:

Independent senior living is for older adults who are in good health, active, and can live independently without much trouble. They have private living spaces like apartments or cottages and usually come with some excellent amenities.

Services typically include:

  • Maintenance-free housing (apartments or cottages)

  • Social and recreational activities

  • Dining options

  • Housekeeping and laundry services

  • Transportation

  • Security and emergency response

Assisted Living:

Assisted living is perfect if someone needs help with their morning routine or is just getting through the day but doesn't need the intense care of a nursing home. They'll have their apartment and assistance with daily things. It's like taking a regular home and only adding in the necessary care. It promotes a high quality of life for seniors.

Services may include:

  • Assistance with bathing, dressing, and grooming

  • Medication management.

  • Meal preparation and dining services.

  • Housekeeping and laundry

  • Social and recreational activities.

  • 24/7 staff availability.

Memory Care:

A specialized way of caring for those with dementia and Alzheimer's has been created; it's called memory care. These facilities offer an environment that is secure and safe. Tenants are cared for by trained staff who know how to handle the challenges of memory loss. They take part in stimulating activities and exercises meant to improve their memory. And just like other facilities, they also offer personalized care.

Services include:

  • Special environment

  • Memory-enhancing activities

  • Cognitive therapies

  • Personalized care plans

  • Safety measures to prevent wandering

  • Trained staff

Skilled Nursing/Rehabilitation:

If you require 24-hour medical care and assistance, a skilled nursing and rehabilitation center has got you covered. Also known as nursing homes, these facilities have highly trained professionals on standby for those with complex medical needs or recovering from surgery. Tenants can expect both short-term rehab and long-term care if needed. Medical services and therapies are in full swing here.

Services may include

  • Medical care by registered nurses

  • Physical, occupational, and speech therapy

  • Monitoring of chronic conditions

  • Medication management

  • Nutritional support

  • Short-term and long-term care

Continuing Care Retirement Communities (CCRCs):

As we get older, we want to live with less hassle. Continuing Care Retirement Communities can help with that. In one location, they offer different levels of care. Independent living, assisted living, and skilled nursing facilities are all at your fingertips. Letting you move around as your needs change is the perfect place for seniors to live. CCRCs often require substantial financial commitments, such as an entrance fee and ongoing monthly fees, but they provide a continuum of care and services throughout aging.

Services typically include:

  • Independent living assisted living, and skilled nursing on the same campus

  • Guaranteed access to higher levels of care

  • Social and recreational activities

  • Maintenance and utilities

  • Dining options

  • Long-term care planning

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2. Set a Budget

After figuring out the best type of senior care for you, it's time to set a budget. The cost of senior living varies heavily, depending on location, amenities, and care levels. Look at the following to set your budget:

  • Monthly fees: There is usually a monthly fee that covers rent, meals, utilities, and access to the community's amenities. Learn what's included in this fee and if there are any extra costs.

  • Entrance fees: Communities could also have an entrance fee. This is paid once upon move-in. Figure out if it's refundable or not.

  • Financial help: Explore options for getting financial help like insurance or government programs that can offset senior living costs.

By establishing a budget, you can narrow communities down to your financial means and prevent any sudden strain on your wallet.

3. Explore Potential Locations

When looking for a senior living community, exploring different locations and determining which one suits your loved one's preferences and requirements is crucial. Consider factors such as proximity to family and friends, access to healthcare facilities, and the overall atmosphere of the area.

Imagine being old and unable to see your family or friends that often. The mental toll would be staggering. One of the most significant factors our loved ones need is human connection. Do they want to stay where everything is familiar? Or do they prefer somewhere new? It's important to factor in their wants and needs when considering locations.

Consider what brings them joy. Is it sunshine or snow? Warm weather or cold? Try and find an area with a mix of all these things.

4. Evaluate Services and Amenities:

A few places have caught your eye, and now it's time to see which one will give you the most bang for your buck. When looking at senior living communities, always evaluate their services and amenities. Each community will have its own unique set of offerings, so it's essential that you know exactly what it is that you want.

Start by assessing the level of care provided. Some communities offer independent senior living options for those who don't need much assistance, while others are catered more towards assisted living or memory care. You should also take a look at the healthcare services available as well as the qualifications of their staff members.

In addition to healthcare services, amenities can also play a big role in enhancing quality of life. Dining options, fitness centers, recreational activities, and transportation services are all part of this. A nice meal and a place to exercise help with physical health — while something like a transportation service can help with running errands.

5. Consider Future Needs

When choosing a senior living community, it's important to think about the future. People change as they age, and so will their requirements. It's crucial to look for a community that can accommodate those changes.

If someone requires assistance for day-to-day life now but may need more medical care in the future, it's important to choose a community that offers a lot of flexibility. This means that the community should be able to provide various levels of care depending on their needs. Whether it's from independent living, assisted living, or memory care.

6. Hear What Other People Think

Consulting with friends, family, and healthcare professionals is a great way to start your search for the right senior living community. They may have firsthand experience or know someone who does. Either way, they can provide you with valuable insights that'll help you make a decision.

In addition, take the time to review feedback from people who actually live there or their families. Many communities have online platforms for people to share their experiences and opinions. You can find out a lot about the quality of care, friendliness of staff, and overall satisfaction just by reading these reviews. Look for patterns and consider both positive and negative thoughts.

Regardless of what you do, you must take some time to research each senior living community thoroughly before deciding on who to go with.

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7. Booking a visit

Once you've gotten all the recommendations and looked at the feedback, it's time to take the next step and book a visit to the senior living communities you're interested in. Looking online is a great start, but it can't beat seeing it in person.

During your tour, keep an eye out for the layout and cleanliness of the place. Is it well-kept? And easy to move around? The common areas should be inviting and comfortable. Don't forget about the amenities, like food options, fitness centers, and social activities. This adds up to a whole lot more quality of life.

Don't forget to talk to staff and Tenants during your visit. One way to tell if a facility is good is based on how engaged staff are with tenants, so see if they really care about them. While talking with tenants, see how satisfied they are with their homes.

Before you leave, make sure you've asked all the questions you have, such as the level of care, staffing size, and healthcare services offered. Finding out how much support is available is essential, especially if you or your loved one needs health needs or day-to-day assistance.

Final Thoughts

Thorough research and careful consideration are vital when deciding on a senior living community. So many options exist that it's hard to pick one, but Missouri's Victorian Gardens is a great place to start.

The available amenities, healthcare services, and social activities at each retirement living community need to be assessed extensively before making a decision. You can contact us at Victorian Gardens, and we'll be happy to help you with any questions or concerns you may have. We want your golden years to be filled with comfort, support, and, most importantly — belonging.


What is a senior living community?

A senior living community is a residential facility for the elders. They provide housing, services, and facilities. The type of care they offer covers several degrees that are suited to their requirements.

What types of senior living communities are available?

What should I consider when choosing a senior living community?

How much does senior living cost?

How can I assure my loved ones' safety in a senior living community?

Are there medical services available at these locations?

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