As our parent’s age, many of us find ourselves in the position of having to make the decision to move them into a senior living community. This can be a difficult decision, but sometimes it is the best decision for their health and wellbeing. If you find yourself in this position, here are 4 things you should know before making the move.
1. What kind of community are you looking for?
There are several options out there! Each type of community offers different levels of care, so it is important to choose the one that is right for your parent(s). You can also reach out to a senior advisor that will help you research different communities in your area, and help you make the best decision depending on your preferences and needs.
Independent Living - Independent Living communities offer many amenities including access to dining services, entertainment, transportation, and even limited medical services. There are often additional concierge services for an additional fee; for example, housekeeping and laundry services. This is a great option for active seniors who want to be surrounded by others with similar interests.
Assisted Living - In contrast to Independent Living, residents who move into Assisted Living are free to live an independent lifestyle but are offered additional support depending on their personal needs. Often there are caregivers available to help with a resident’s activities of daily living, this includes things such as bathing, dressing, and other personal care. Residents can enjoy a maintenance-free lifestyle and take advantage of the many activities and amenities included in their monthly fees.
Memory Care - Memory Care communities are ideal for families looking for a safe and secure environment for their loved one who have been diagnosed with dementia. Residents in memory care communities are assisted with their activities of daily living, and also engaged in programming that is specifically designed for those with dementia. They will usually have access to medical care as well as other services while living in a secured environment.
Lifeplan - Living in a Lifeplan community will ensure that you can age in place with accessibility to a lifetime of care. This gives the residents a peace of mind in knowing once they move into the community, they will not need to make another move due to needing medical assistance - as a continuum of care is available on-site. There are often great amenities such as pools, fitness centers, woodworking studios, on and off-site entertainment and much more!
2. Be prepared for the financial aspects of moving your parents into a senior living community.
Many communities require a deposit or entrance fee, and you will also be responsible for monthly fees. It is important to budget for these costs and to understand what is included in the monthly fee.
If you’re looking to move into a Life Plan community, you are likely to find there are buy-in plans for this model. A buy-in would mean you are required to put down a large sum of money prior to move in. Life Plan communities are a great option for those who are looking to proactively move into a senior living community before a health incident may put a rush on that process.
A second option is moving into a rental community. There are no buy-in fees, although you may be required to pay a small community fee upon move-in. This could be a few hundred up to a few thousand dollars. The advantages of living in a rental community are the lower up-front costs and flexibility of shorter term leases.
3. Make sure all of the necessary documents are in order before making the move.
This includes your parent's power of attorney, medical records, and any other important documents.
4. Be prepared for the emotional aspects of moving your parent(s) into a senior living community.
This can be a difficult transition for both you and your parent. It is important to be patient and understanding during this time.
A highly emotional aspect of moving into senior living is moving out of (and often the sale of) the long-standing family home. Hiring the right move managers are of the utmost importance, there are companies that specialize in helping seniors move into senior living communities. These services include downsizing, coordinating estate sales, creating a floor plan for your new living space, and doing all of the heavy lifting! Often, the community itself will have a designated move-in coordinator. This individual will manage all aspects of your loved one’s move-in day. Their goal is to keep the resident and family stress-free when making such a big life transition!
Whether you choose a high-rise apartment complex, a simple cottage in the suburbs, or a condo at the beach - there are many options to choose from when deciding on a move into a senior living community. The resident should decide collectively with their family’s support on which community will best fit their lifestyle and needs!