Deciding to place yourself or a loved one in a senior living community is a major decision, and it's essential you choose a setting that's a good fit. Many caretakers and potential residents research the pros and cons heavily before selecting a new home, but it's still easy to overlook important details, especially since an online search often provides vague information. From security to fees, here are the things I wish I had known before selecting a senior living community.
1. 24/7 Care May Not Mean What You Think it Does
Many senior living communities advertise around-the-clock care, but that doesn't always mean nurses or doctors are available. Some communities have certified nursing assistants dispense medication or help with toileting after hours, while others have one or two front desk workers who only assist residents if an emergency occurs. It's important to learn what the communities you're considering offer outside of normal business hours, especially if the potential resident is a night owl or someone who needs late-night care.
2. Security Doesn't Always Keep Wandering Seniors Inside the Building
When a senior living community claims they have constant surveillance, find out what this actually means. Is there a dedicated guard or officer near exits who keep seniors safe, or does the community rely on cameras scattered throughout the building? Do doors automatically unlock if a senior presses on them for a set period of time, such as 15 to 30 seconds? How many staff are on duty to keeps an eye on the entire community at night? Ask for detailed information about the security process before determining a community is safe.
3. Fees Don't Always Cover Everything
At Brightview Senior Living, fees for gourmet meals are part of a senior's monthly plan. However, some communities charge additional fees for on-site meals or snacks, and you may also get hit with expenses for housekeeping, personal care or transportation. Make a list of essential services you or your loved one needs, then find out exactly how much everything costs at your preferred home. It's also wise to ask if fees fluctuate each month, and if they don't, find out when you should expect a rent increase.
If you or your loved one plan to receive medical care, find out if the community accepts your insurance plan. Many communities work with Medicare and Medicaid insurance, but some services aren't covered. Find out what to expect so there are no billing surprises.
4. You Can Room Alone or With Another Senior
The price of a single apartment often deters elderly adults from choosing a senior living community, but sometimes it's possible to rent with a spouse, friend or current resident. This helps reduce monthly fees, but it also provides peace of mind for caretakers who worry their loved one may not receive prompt care during a medical emergency. A roommate can quickly contact help if an issue arises, either by calling emergency professionals or contacting staff at the community for help. Companionship may also help prevent loneliness or depression.
5. Senior Living is Fun
Many people are surprised when they learn senior living is fun for residents of all ages and abilities. People often picture a hospital setting when someone mentions senior living, but there are also communities that mimic the vibrant décor of a traditional home. Residents are often energetic and friendly, and they fill their days with fun activities, such as bingo, yoga classes and concerts. Seniors have numerous socialization opportunities at senior living communities, and they can often find fun activities seven days a week.
Senior living has many perks, but it's easy to overlook potential disadvantages if you don't ask the right questions during your tour. Whether it's about our gourmet meals or you have questions about available religious and spiritual support, contact Brightview Senior Living to learn more about our amenities and services that can benefit you or your loved one.