Why is it important to visit a community in-person or virtually?
You have taken the first step online or by calling a senior living community to learn more. The next important step in the process is to schedule a time to visit the community in-person or virtually, especially if you're considering making a move within the next 9-months.
Since COVID-19, more senior living communities are accommodating virtual tours if you're unable to visit in-person. To find the best fit for you or a loved one, there are several things to keep in mind and small details to look for as you visit each community.
Does the Community Encourage Aging through a Continuum of Care?
Some communities are specifically designed for a single level of care, while other senior living communities offer the option to age in place. Aging in place allows seniors to remain in a familiar community, with increasing levels of care and supervision as their needs change.
- What care levels does this community offer?
- Can I stay here if my mobility becomes limited?
- Is there a separate, secure neighborhood for residents living with dementia?
- What type of care is offered?
- Are care associates available around the clock?
Visit at Different Times of the Day
Visiting your top senior living community picks at different times of the day allows you or your loved one a more realistic picture of what life is like in the community. For instance, visiting during mealtimes will enable you to observe residents engaged in the dining experience. Visiting in the late morning or early afternoon allows you to observe programs and events, and how residents interact when socializing in the common areas. Weekends are a great time to visit too.
- What kind of variety is offered at meals?
- Can I prepare my own food?
- What programs are offered?
- Is there a program director, or are residents largely on their own for entertainment?
- What options are available for fitness?
Ask About the Health and Wellness Team
While many senior independent living communities don't typically have around-the-clock medical care, assisted living and memory care communities often do. There may be a licensed nurse or CNA or caretaker who have some medical training. When touring the facility, ask about the staffing of medical professionals and what kind of training and certification they hold.
- Who will care for you or your loved one when sick?
- How often are residents reassessed?
- What happens if there is a medical emergency?
- What are my options for in-home medical care within the community, such as physical or occupational therapy?
Guidance for Virtual Tours
Not everyone can meet in-person, or you may have family members who live in a different part of the country but want to be part of the selection process. When you can't visit in person, ask for a FaceTime live tour, which will give you a real-time view of the community. During your virtual visit, ask specific questions, get close up views of the dining room, and even as to speak with a resident themselves or associate. Pay special attention to the cleanliness of both public and private spaces.
Evaluate the Layout and Accessibility
The layout of the community is important – are the hallways wide enough to allow walker and wheelchair users easy access, including around corners? Are the bathrooms equipped with safety devices and emergency call buttons? For families seeking a secure and safe memory care community, look for layouts that make getting around simple and less confusing, such as dining rooms that are easy to find.
Other things to evaluate are the safety and security of the building. Look at the latches on windows and how the doors for both the exterior of the building and in the private rooms are secured.
- Are exterior doors locked, or do they have monitored access?
- What are the evacuation procedures in case of fire or emergency?
- How are seniors protected in the event of power loss?
- Does the community have a generator?
- How are visitors admitted? Are there certain visiting hours, or can residents have visitors come and go?
Be sure to ask about the current policies and procedures for the community, including cleanliness standards, how residents stay engaged while social distancing, and how the dining experience has changed. At Brightview, protecting our residents, associates, and visitors from the virus has been our primary goal during the COVID-19 pandemic. While infection control protocol has always been a strong focus in our communities, Brightview has intensified our efforts to reduce the chances that our residents could contract or spread the novel coronavirus. Contact a community directly to learn more about our community standards and safety protocols..
Selecting the Right Home
The best senior living community is home and the one that best fits your needs or the needs (current and future) of your loved one. Compassionate caretakers trained to lend assistance with dignity and respect is one of the most important things to look for. That, plus how the community environment suits your personality and level of activity and independence, will help you find the best senior living community.Brightview Senior Living was Ranked #1 by FORTUNE Magazine as the Best Workplace in Aging Services, highlighting our mission to providing the best service.