What to ask when choosing an independent living community
How do you know if the senior living community you are looking at offers a truly independent, active lifestyle? It can be confusing when seeking senior living options and I want to help you make an informed decision when facing such a big life change.
You need a community that meets your expectations and supports your independent, active lifestyle while providing comforts and amenities to allow you the free time to enjoy them. By asking the following questions, you are more likely to find the right lifestyle for you.
- How old are the residents? Request an accurate age breakdown of the population. This is crucial in deciding if the community has people within your peer group.
- Are pets allowed? If you have a pet, or might like to have one some day, make sure your new independent living option fits your plan.
- What are residents’ interests and activities? Sense of community is more likely when people have shared interests. Ask questions regarding clubs, special-interest groups, theater season ticket holders and any other activities that are important to you.
- Can I see a copy of the last three activity calendars? If activities look appealing, then confirm that they’re well-attended. Ask to attend a class or program.
- What meals are provided and when can I enjoy my meals? Service from a high quality chef is an advantage of many senior living communities. Ask if they offer more than one dining venue and if they offer a flexible dining schedule.
- What transportation is available? Most senior living communities provide transportation. Although transportation might not be a concern today, down the line you might want the luxury and convenience of community provided transportation.
- What is covered by annual and monthly fees? What other charges might apply? Seniors new to independent living are sometimes surprised by extra charges. For example, use of the fitness room might be included in your flat monthly fee, but personal training services would cost extra.
- To what extent do residents engage with the wider community? Senior communities differ in terms of their involvement with the local town or city. Some visit local schools or are visited regularly by schoolchildren, for example. Some have regular group outings to museums, parks, universities and other attractions, while others have community bands or choir groups that perform locally.
- How long have you worked here? This question is important because it adds to the sense of community. If the staff has been there for an extended period of time, they are often more connected and engaged in the community.
- And last, but certainly not least, do the residents age in place? Some senior living communities are specially designed to let residents become older without the need to relocate by offering on-site assisted living features. Ask about how this process works and what is required.
Libbi Hash has over 25 years of experience working in senior living and is the Wellness and Resident Relations Specialist for Kisco Senior Living; they provide full-service senior living communities that offer an enriched lifestyle drawn from thoughtful details. She was born and raised in Brevard County and is now enjoying raising her son here.