When people start to consider their senior living options, they often find Life Plan Communities — also known as Continuing Care Retirement Communities or CCRCs — offer a lot more than staying at home or “stand-alone” single-service retirement communities.
One of the best parts about doing your research is taking the opportunity to visit several communities in person. Life Plan Communities have a lot to show you and tell you. This guide gives you a list of all the best questions to ask when you visit communities you are interested in. Use this guide to compare your options and pick the perfect community for you or your loved ones!
- Do you love the setting? Whether you are looking to stay in your hometown or are considering a “destination retirement community,” you want to LOVE where you live. Does the setting comfort you, delight you, and is the environment, location and weather what you want?
- Do you want to be near family and friends — or not? Where you go is your choice. But remember that friends and family may not have the time, resources or inclination to visit as often as you think they should.
- Are there nearby medical facilities? Is the community close to a good hospital? Is your doctor nearby, or are there medical professionals close by that you can consult?
- What type of independent living residence will best meet your needs? Most Life Plan Communities require that you move in when you are still able to live independently. Independent living options include cottages and houses as well as varying sizes of apartments. People are often quite surprised to discover how carefully designed residences are. From open floor plans that promote mobility, to American with Disabilities Act (ADA) accessible bathrooms and showers, to kitchen counters placed at accommodating heights, independent living residences are often quite easier to live in than one’s home.
- How much of your furniture and possessions are you taking with you? Any move is challenging, particularly when you are downsizing. Be vigilant with yourself and your spouse about how much space you really need and want relative to your health and social expectations.
- Can you decorate or upgrade your residence according to your personal tastes?
- Does the community provide extra, on-site storage if needed?
- Is covered resident parking available? Is there adequate visitor parking?
- Are pets welcome? What happens if you become unable to care for a pet?
- Also, make sure you take the time to visit residences in higher levels of care. You may never need to move to a higher level of care, but seeing them firsthand and understanding that they are residential in look and feel rather than medical is reassuring and comforting.
Which amenities are important to you? Truly, the list of amenities offered at Life Plan Communities can be endless. But what’s most important is do they offer enough of what you want. Below is a list of commonly offered services and amenities for you to consider.
Do They Offer a Full Continuum of Care?
Life Plan Communities, like Generations at Shalom Park, offer a continuum of care, which simply means there are several levels of care on the same campus. Inherent in that “continuum” is the promise that you will never have to move out or leave the campus to receive any healthcare other than critical or emergency hospital care. Residents are assured that all current and future healthcare needs are met in one community.
In regards to healthcare, here are some questions to ask about nursing and caregiving staff:
- What is the ratio of resident to caregiver in Assisted Living? In Memory Care? In Skilled Nursing?
- Do staff members undergo screenings and background checks prior to employment?
- Does staff receive continuous training on lifesaving procedures?
- Does staff receive continuous training for medical emergencies, natural disasters and other crises?
- Ask to meet a few staff members! That will tell you a great deal.
- What if a resident has a complaint about a staff member? How is that handled?
- How has the staff handled the COVID-19 pandemic?
What Is the Community’s Guiding Principle or Mission?
Beyond whether it is for profit or not for profit, the mission of a Life Plan Community tells you what makes it unique and different from its competitors. At Generations at Shalom Park, our guiding principle is “L’DOR V’DOR.” As a faith with a history of almost 6,000 years behind it, Judaism prizes both the wisdom of elders and the curiosity of youth. In families and communities, it is a sacred responsibility to pass down the knowledge, lessons and traditions from the previous generation to the next. This principle, known in Hebrew as L’dor V’dor or “from generation to generation,” is a cornerstone of the Generations community. Knowing the background and values of any community will help you get a sense of what it would be like to live there.
Current Resident Satisfaction:
One of the most important conversations you can have when you visit a senior living community is with a current resident – or two or three! Make it a point to interact with other residents and their family members. Ask questions. This is a terrific opportunity to find out from actual residents what you really want to know. And if the community hasn’t been built yet, see if you can speak with residents of an associated community.
- What can they tell you about the community?
- How long have they lived there?
- Why did they choose this community?
- What do they love about living here? What would they change?
- What surprises did they encounter when they moved here?
- What advice would they give you?
- What do their family members think about the community?
To learn more about the offerings at Generations at Shalom Park, take a look around our website or give us a call to set up an appointment.