Choosing the Perfect Fit in Senior Living

Category Blog,Resources for Seniors | Time 3 Minutes | Published February 14, 2024

As your loved one ages, there will come a time when decisions must be made about the best living arrangements for them. Is remaining at home best or choosing a supportive senior living community? Does my loved one need memory care? 

Older People In Garden

As your loved one ages, there will come a time when decisions must be made about the best living arrangements for them. Is remaining at home best or choosing a supportive senior living community? Does my loved one need memory care? The choice between a senior living community or remaining at home can significantly impact their quality of life. We’ll explore the available options for senior care and look at essential factors so you can make an informed decision. 

Independent Living vs. Home

Independent Living Communities cater to seniors who can manage their daily lives without much assistance. They offer the added benefits of services such as housekeeping, dining, transportation, and a range of amenities like fitness programs, spas, gourmet dining, art studios, swimming pools, and events within the community. 

Unlike staying at home, where it can be difficult to maintain social connections, an independent senior living community provides readily available social connection and offers seniors an enriched life without the burdens of home maintenance or even the need to drive.

Assisted Living vs. Home

Assisted Living Communities bridge the gap between independent senior living and full service residential health care. Residents of assisted living communities enjoy daily social activities and meals but also receive help with activities of daily living, like bathing, dressing, grooming, and bathroom assistance. In contrast to staying at home, where specialized care may require multiple service providers, assisted living offers a comprehensive care solution with around-the-clock support. Appealing and nutritious meals are provided , as well as programs and activities, many opportunities for socialization, and beautiful indoor and outdoor settings are typically available in a lively and engaging community.

Memory Care vs. Home

Memory care communities are specialized environments for those with cognitive or memory-related conditions. The home can easily become a danger of its own for persons living with memory loss or cognitive issues due to heightened safety concerns and the lack of social engagement. Memory care communities provide structured activities to bolster cognitive abilities and have enhanced security measures to reduce the risks associated with wandering. The dedicated and trained staff understands the intricacies of dementia and Alzheimer’s, ensuring residents receive personalized and dignified care. 

Independent LivingAssisted LivingMemory Care  
Autonomy24/7 Care Assistance24/7 Specialized Memory Loss and Dementia Care
Full-Kitchen & Dining OptionsDining & Meal PreparationDining & Meal Preparation
Maintenance Free LivingMaintenance Free LivingMaintenance Free Living
Lawnmowing & Snow RemovalLawnmowing & Snow RemovalLawnmowing & Snow Removal
Transportation to AppointmentsTransportation to AppointmentsTransportation to Appointments
Housekeeping & LaundryHousekeeping & LaundryHousekeeping & Laundry
Pet-Friendly ApartmentsPet-Friendly Apartments & TherapyPet Therapy
Social Activities & ClubsHelp with Activities of Daily Living (ADLs)Music Therapy
Baking & Cooking ClassesBathing & Toileting AssistanceEnhanced Security Measures
Arts & CraftsHelp Getting DressedStructured Cognitive Activities
Gardening & Vegetable PlotsMedication ManagementDementia-Friendly Environments
Lunch OutingsPersonal Care Assistance & HygieneHelp with Activities of Daily Living (ADLs)
Book ClubsSocial Activities & ClubsBathing & Toileting Assistance
Pizza NightsBaking & Cooking ClassesHelp Getting Dressed
Ice Cream SocialsArts & CraftsMedication Management
Food-Themed EventsGardening & Vegetable PlotsPersonal Care Assistance & Hygiene
Musical PerformancesLunch OutingsLibrary & Quiet Areas
Sports & TV Watching PartiesBook ClubsBeauty Salon
Game & Puzzle NightsPizza NightsHoliday Celebrations
Library & Quiet AreasIce Cream SocialsWi-Fi & Cable
Beauty SalonFood-Themed EventsReligious Services
Holiday CelebrationsMusical PerformancesRegular Events
Wi-Fi & CableSports & TV Watching PartiesAccess to Community Activities, Amenities, & Services
Religious ServicesGame & Puzzle Nights 
Regular EventsLibrary & Quiet Areas 
Area OutingsBeauty Salon 
Happy HoursHoliday Celebrations
Access to Community Activities, Amenities, & ServicesWi-Fi & Cable
 Religious Services 
 Regular Events 
 Area Outings 
 Happy Hours 
 Access to Community Activities, Amenities, & Services 

Factors to Consider When Choosing a Senior Living Community

If you have chosen the best type of senior living care but have a long list of communities to consider, use these factors to narrow your choice further. 

1. Location – Is the drive a long one? Will this make visiting a hardship? Proximity to family, friends, and medical providers is essential to consider.
2. Staff – Look for communities that have a healthy staff-to-resident ratio. Find communities with compassionate and experienced staff and caregivers. For those in memory care, look for proper training credentials.
3. Amenities – If your loved one needs specific amenities, evaluate what’s available before signing or committing. 
4. Health Care Services – Determine if the community offers your loved one medical care and support. Do they have specialized programs and services like therapy, or care navigation?
5. Safety and Security – Assess the security measures, such as emergency call systems and secure entrances. This is vital for those in memory care.
6. Activities and Programming – Inquire about various social, recreational, and educational opportunities available within and outside the community. Activities should promote senior independence and prevent isolation. 
7. Reputation and Reviews – Research the community’s reputation and read reviews from current and former residents.

Steps to Take When Choosing a Senior Living Community

After you have narrowed down your choices to a few communities, take these steps to find your ideal senior living community: 

1. Research – Gather all your information about the senior communities in your favored location.
2. Tour of the Community – Visiting each community in person if possible. This will give you a feel for the atmosphere, amenities, and staff.
3. Talk to Staff and Residents – Another essential reason to visit in person is that you’ll be able to talk with staff and residents and gain valuable insights into daily life within the community.

Reclaiming Your Role from Caregiver to Adult Child: A Journey of Renewed Bonds

Living with older parents can be extremely rewarding. A multigenerational household can have great benefits for families. Pew Research found that more than half of Americans in their 40s are part of the “sandwich” generation and live in a multigenerational home, usually with an older parent. However, living with an independent, active older adult is quite different than being a caregiver to one. 

Caring for an older parent can be overwhelming and stressful. It can negatively affect finances and have a great impact on the adult child’s emotional well-being. If, as an adult child, you’ve taken on the role of caregiver, you may find your life now revolves around medication reminders, driving them to appointments, and being their only source of social engagement. Conversations may be more about daily activities (“Did you take your medication?”) and less about cherished memories or those everyday conversations we have with parents. 

Caregiver burnout is real, especially if the older parent has memory loss conditions such as dementia or other complicated medical conditions. As much as you love your parents, it may be best to ease up as a primary caretaker and allow a professional staff within a secure and vibrant community to take over. 

Having a parent in a loving and caring community can create more time for you, the adult child, to rebuild the relationship between parent and child. There are many benefits for older parents to live in a senior living community. Chief among them is the 24-hour medical care available to residents. If a parent needs assistance with activities of daily living, medication management, or more intensive therapies, compassionate care delivered by professionals is close at hand. With the demands of caregiving lifted, adult children will have more quality time with loved ones. 

Find the Right Senior Living Community

Finding the best fit for your loved one will benefit them in many ways and allow adult children to be relieved of the responsibilities of caregiving. Seniors are choosing retirement communities over staying at home to focus on health and wellness, making new social connections, convenient dining options, and taking advantage of on-site, 24/7 medical staff. For those in memory care, safety and security will no longer be a worry with skilled caregivers close at hand. It is time to reclaim your role as a son or daughter while entrusting the caregiving responsibilities to someone else. Start looking today and begin your search for the best senior living community in your area.