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8 Essential Questions to Ask When Choosing a Senior Living Community

Dec 1, 2020

Choosing the right senior living community for you or a loved one is a very personal choice, says Barbara A. Keller, Vice President of Marketing and Sales at Peter Becker Community.

“There are so many options available today, and most people don’t realize that the choices are practically endless,” she says. “Finding a community that can meet your basic health and living needs is easy, since that’s pretty much table stakes for any community these days. It’s important to look beyond the basics and ask questions that will help determine if a community is right for you personally.”

Many of today’s seniors are choosing to move into senior living while they’re still active, independent and healthy. “People are starting to realize the benefits of moving before they ‘have’ to move,” Barb says. “Moving into a community when you’re still relatively young means you no longer have to deal with the chores and hassle of homeownership and can instead really enjoy everything that retirement has to offer.”

As you’re beginning your search for a senior living community to spend your retirement years, here are eight questions to ask that can help you determine what option is best for you.

1. What sort of community do you want to live in?

Do you want to live in a large community with a large campus and many different types of homes (apartments, patio homes, cottages, etc.)? Would you prefer a smaller, more insular community? Would you like to live in a place that provides continuous care throughout your lifetime, so you never have to worry about moving if your health needs change? Or would you prefer to live somewhere that meets your needs for now, and if additional assistance is required, you can cross that bridge when you come to it? What kind of floor plan do you prefer?

2. Where do you want to live?

Do you want to stay in your same area so you can continue enjoying the lifestyle you have now (only with fewer chores and responsibilities)? Would you prefer to move somewhere near family or friends? Or would you like to go somewhere else entirely – a destination location, a larger city or someplace where the weather is perfect year-round?

3. What sort of lifestyle are you looking for?

Think about the lifestyle you want to have now as well as the lifestyle you imagine needing or wanting as you age. Some people would prefer a larger, more social community, while others would prefer a smaller one that gives them the freedom to head out and explore the world outside their doors. There’s no right or wrong answer; just the answer that makes the most sense to your happiness. A good way to get a feel for the lifestyle is to look at what services and events are provided (and how many people end up participating).

Some communities are incredibly social, with happy hours and outings and all sorts of clubs to join. Others are more dependent on the individuals themselves. Other things to look for are what the dining experience is like or how connected the senior community is to the greater community at large.

4. What are the residents like?

What’s the average age of residents? How many couples live there, and how many singles? Are there intergenerational opportunities? Many seniors are moving to communities to have a robust social life, so you definitely want to find a place where you’re able to make friends and are around people you’d like to get to know better.

5. What’s provided in the monthly rent?

Residents at a senior living community pay a monthly fee, which can cover a wide range (or a small range) of services. Some communities have one flat, all-inclusive monthly rent that covers literally everything you could want, including care services. Others provide more of an a la carte option. As you’re comparing communities, you’ll want to make sure you’re not comparing apples to oranges in terms of cost. It’s important to determine the actual cost per month to you before you commit to one community over another.

6. What sort of transportation options are available?

Can you bring your own personal car, and if so, what sort of garage options are available? Most communities provide transportation services, but what does that really look like in terms of availability and travel radius? Are there public transportation options readily available? It’s also worth looking into what sort of air, train or bus travel is available as well, particularly if your retirement plan involves jetting off on adventures on a regular basis.

7. What sort of emergency and non-emergency assistance is available?

Accidents happen, and as we age, we often need more assistance in order to live safely. Does the community provide aides, or would you need to hire an independent company? Are you able to live in your home even if you need additional assistance, or would you need to move to a different part of the community (or move to a different community completely)? Also, what sort of emergency alarm systems are available if you have an accident or medical issue? Are there nurses on site? What hospitals are nearby, and how are events like this handled?

8. What are the contract details?

Some communities are purely rental communities, allowing you to pay month-by-month without any sort of long-standing financial obligation. Other communities, such as Life Plan Communities, may have different contract levels with different fees that provide for different services. Before you sign any contract with any community, it’s a good idea to sit down with your financial advisor and go over all the details. It’s essential you understand what you’re getting into – after all, this will hopefully be your home for many, many years and you want to be sure you’re starting your relationship with the community off on the right foot.

Your Moments Are at the Heart of What We Do

At Peter Becker Community, it’s our mission each day to celebrate your individuality, whether you reside here full-time or are here as a temporary resident of our Health Care Center. Our support and encouragement are always expressed one-on-one. As a Continuing Care Retirement Community, we provide an environment that empowers you to remain active and independent, while ensuring your future needs will always be met. As a not-for-profit community, we are focused exclusively on the well-being of our residents.

We offer a full range of services – from independent Residential Living, to Personal Care, to Skilled Nursing and Rehabilitation services, to compassionate Memory Care in our secure Memory Care neighborhood. Life here is good – it’s enriched by the time, choices, connections and involvement you’ll discover at our Continuing Care Retirement Community.

With our spectrum of activities, amenities, dining options, maintenance-free living and so much more, you’ll discover you spend more time enjoying our lifestyle and less time worrying about the details of life. You’ll find choices to build a secure life, connections that build closeness, involvement in the world at large and time to explore it all.

For more information about the services provided at Peter Becker Community, or to schedule a personal visit to our Continuing Care Retirement Community in Montgomery county, please contact us at (215) 720-1087 to begin the conversation.