When is the right time to plan for senior living?
Too often, I hear things from prospects and family members like, “They wish they had not waited so long to make their decision.” Or “We didn’t get enough time to enjoy everything senior living has to offer,” or “I wish I had asked better questions and looked around more before making a decision.” These are all common and normal reactions to one of the biggest decisions of your life.
Choosing senior living and where you will spend your golden years is one of the hardest decisions to make. It is a huge adjustment and you want to be certain you will be happy with your choice. Because there are both financial and emotional commitments up front when choosing a community, you want to be sure you have done your due diligence.
Planning for senior living involves quite a few steps. First, you want to evaluate your financial situation and what you will be able to afford when the time comes to transition to senior living.
Second, you need to decide which amenities and programs are most important to you, and make a list that includes the “must-haves” and the “nice-to-haves.” Then, you will want to look around at communities and see how they stack up to your list, and decide on their value. You will want to begin looking when you are healthy and able to make good decisions about your future. Don’t wait until you or your family absolutely needs to make a decision because this is usually when those statements I mentioned above are brought up. You can make better decisions with time, planning, and more than one or two visits to your favorite communities.
When problems arise or health issues pop up, there is still time to find a community that is right for you, but you may feel more pressure and feel like you have to make a decision quickly. This can lead to questions or concerns not being addressed and not taking the time to look at all of the options.
Senior living is a luxury and something that you cannot put a price tag on for you or your family. It affords you great food, programs for the mind, body and soul, and transportation if you need it along with basic housekeeping. It allows peace of mind for your family and friends and affords you a great quality of life. Many resources are available online and in our local community that can assist with some of these big decisions. I also am happy to point you in the right direction with my ongoing column in EverythingBrevard.com magazine. Please write to youropinionmatters@EverythingBrevard.com and I will respond to your questions.
Stacey Clark, a registered nurse with over 20 years of experience working in senior living, is executive director of The Fountains, a premier independent senior and assisted living facility in Melbourne. She is married to her high school sweetheart and the couple have four children.