If you or a family member is considering whether a senior living community could be the answer to assist with needs or improve a loved one’s quality of life, you may find yourself wondering how best to guide your decision.
Understanding the different types of senior living and determining which services are most important can lead to discovering the community that will offer the best fit.
Types of senior living communities
Based on the level of services offered, there are four broad categories of residential senior living to choose from:
- Independent living: a community for independent older adults who are looking for a maintenance-free and active lifestyle, private residences and a variety of amenities. Health care services are generally not included.
- Assisted living: a community for seniors who require some support with their daily activities. Along with private residences, activities and amenities, services often include assistance with dressing, grooming, meals and medication management.
- Memory care: a secure community offering specialized care. Assistance with daily tasks is provided, as well as activities and amenities, but the structure and care are tailored to respond and interact with those living with memory impairment.
- Skilled nursing: a community that provides supervised health and assistive care 24/7 for those who are unable to care for themselves. There may also be rehabilitative services, including physical and occupational therapies.
Defining what features are important for you in a senior living community
Not all communities are alike and neither are their residents. Avoid settling for a one-size-fits-all community. It’s much better to decide what features are most important to you and then search for the right place to call home.
The answers to the following questions can help simplify the pursuit and achieve the results you’re looking for:
1. What is the main reason you are interested in a senior living community?
Understanding your primary reason for moving into senior living is the best clue for what features you should look for.
Are you interested in a maintenance-free lifestyle? Do you need assistance with the basic tasks of living? Are you looking for a home to age-in-place?
2. How important is a private residence and independence to you?
Maintaining an independent lifestyle and a private home is at the top of many priority lists. Ensure a community will support your freedom and decision-making.
You’ll also want to confirm an availability of floorplans, including views and locations and the ability to personalize your home to make it your own.
3. Will the senior living community support your wellness goals?
Maintaining physical, mental and emotional health is key to aging well and achieving a high quality of life. Communities who place a priority on their residents’ wellness should be at the top of the list.
Look at the programs offered, including physical fitness, activities that promote brain health, relaxation classes and social events.
4. Are you searching for friends and social connections in a senior living community?
Friends and other strong relationships remain vital to maintaining both your physical and cognitive health. But unfortunately, making friends can become more difficult as we grow older.
Look for communities that provide a variety of activities and opportunities to meet your neighbors and other residents naturally.
5. Are you no longer driving or driving less?
If you or a parent is no longer driving, it’s easier to become isolated and unable to participate in activities you once enjoyed. Loneliness and isolation can follow, which is detrimental to health.
Senior living communities who offer scheduled transportation provide opportunities to attend medical appointments, social events off-site and shopping.
6. Could you use help with a healthy diet?
It’s no surprise that many older adults look forward to finally being able to let someone else take over the kitchen duties.
Healthy and delicious meals are provided to all residents of Northbridge communities, including those in independent living, assisted living, and memory care.
7. Does the community provide helpful and friendly staff interaction?
Depending on which type of senior living community you choose, the level of interaction you will have with the staff may vary.
But take note on how the team members interact with the other residents, how timely they respond to requests for assistance and whether they seem to enjoy their work.
8. Are you comfortable with the community’s location and security measures?
Find ways to enjoy life – not add to your worries. Make sure you like the community’s location. You may want to be near shopping, medical buildings or entertainment.
Ask about the level of security offered in both the community and any alarm systems included in the personal residences.
9. Will the senior living community help you remain engaged in living your best life?
What features would most support the lifestyle that you desire and deserve? This is the time to take care of and enjoy yourself.
If you take pleasure in walking, are there pathways? Does the community have a residents’ garden? Are there opportunities to volunteer or play an advisory role?
10. If memory care is needed, are residents supported to achieve their highest quality of life?
If your loved one needs the services of memory care, ensure the staff is compassionate and trained in the best practices.
Search out communities who offer specialized activities and social events to help stimulate memories and recollections as well as provide a safe, supportive and calming environment.
Discover life at a Northbridge community
If you’re considering senior living for yourself or a family member, we hope you’ll visit one of our communities. You’ll find a maintenance-free, activity-filled and engaging lifestyle to help support your wellness goals.
You’ll also discover many benefits in a Northbridge Senior Living community, including our Signature Program S.T.A.R. Club (Sharp Thinking, Active Residents) – which offers our residents several activities to participate in with others, including:
- Daily exercise group
- Walking club
- Tai Chi & yoga
- Nutritional classes
- Library and book club
- Museum outings
- Artists in residence program
- Multi-generational music
- Genealogy Generations