What to Look For in Senior Apartments
Searching for a senior apartment can be, in a word, intimidating.
As you weed through a pile of shiny community brochures (which can look more or less the same), you may feel insecure about making the right decision for yourself or a loved one.
Thankfully, there are better ways to judge a senior apartment than materials from marketers and salespeople. Here are our tips for finding the perfect senior living community for you.
How to Find a Great Senior Living Community:
1. Read Reviews and Comments
The internet can be a tricky place when looking for helpful reviews.
It’s important to never take a star-rating at face value. Devote some time to reading the comments left by the reviewers on multiple review sites, as well as social media. Of course, don’t make your decision based on reviews alone.
However, if you live in an area saturated with retirement communities, reviews are a great way to whittle down the list.
Things to look for:
- Generally positive reviews
- Staff appreciation stories and anecdotes
- Resident success stories
- Positive employee feedback
2. Take a Tour
Once you’ve found your short list, it’s time to take a tour.
It’s absolutely essential that you take the time to visit communities, and it is better if you can visit multiple times. This allows you to form a well-rounded opinion of the staff, environment, food, and activities during different situations and days.
Things to look for:
- Welcoming atmosphere
- Lots of resident-to-resident interaction
- Warm staff-to-resident interaction
- Laughter and activity
- Cleanliness and attention-to-detail
3. Connect with Families, Residents, and Staff
While you are at the community, take the time to connect with other residents, visiting family members, and staff.
If you’re looking for yourself, try to sit at lunch with other residents and find out their honest opinions. If you are a family member of someone looking to retire, find or ask to be connected with someone who has a loved one that is a similar age or care level as your parent or loved one. If possible, connect offsite for lunch, coffee, or a call. That way, you can be sure there will not be any reservations about telling you the whole story.
4. Get the Facts
To be an educated consumer you need to know all the facts. With senior apartments, it’s important to access any applicable state or national regulatory findings for the community.
Ask about any community-wide awards or award-winning programs available on-site. Gather information from both the community and non-biased parties, like your Area Agency on Aging, to make an informed decision about your community of choice.
What to look for:
- State surveys, and specifically deficiencies
- National and local recognition
- Community involvement
- Programmatic excellence or innovation
Avoiding a Not-So-Great Community
1. Look for Patterns
Yes, the internet is full of biased reviews.
If paid or written in the heat of the moment, they might not be an accurate representation of the community. On the other hand, they might. If you see a pattern emerging in the review or comments, don’t ignore them.
Instead, dig a little deeper. How old are the reviews? Do they have to do with a singular staff member, or the community as a whole? Educate yourself, and if you decide to visit, ask for clarification from the community about changes made to resolve the issues identified in the reviews.
2. Trust Your Instincts
Don’t let flashy sales pitches or shiny amenities distract you from your gut instincts about a community. Pay attention to the body language of the residents, the general feeling in the room, and the actions of staff not immediately interacting with you. You will know what feels right, and what doesn’t.
Asking the Right Questions
1. When in Doubt, Ask
In situations where lifestyle, safety, and care are at stake, there are no stupid or intrusive questions.
Don’t understand the pricing structure? Ask. Don’t like or understand a staff interaction with a resident? Ask. You have a right to full transparency. A good community will be patient and answer any questions you may have about the retirement community.
2. Daily Life
When considering the questions to ask, think about you or your loved one’s daily routine. Do you have any questions about meals or nutrition? What does going to bed look like? What about laundry?
It’s usually the mundane that gets inadvertently passed over for the more exciting aspects, so remember to think about normal day-to-day life.
3. The Unexpected
Not every day will be perfect. From illness and falls to actual natural disasters, make sure you understand the processes and protocols for an unexpected situation in the community.
When choosing a senior living community, it’s important to access all your resources, research multiple communities, and become an educated consumer to make the right decision.
To learn more about Senior Lifestyle’s dedication to quality, service, and innovation in senior apartments, take a look at one of our outstanding communities near you today.