When do you know it's time for a retirement community?

Virtual VillageKnowing when to move into a senior living community is an important decision that each senior must make. Signs that a new living arrangement is needed may include: the inability to manage a home, make meals, take prescription medicine, a feeling of loneliness, and other possible issues.

Once you have decided that there is a need for a retirement community, you should review your options and choose the best retirement community for your needs. We’ve provided some useful tips and important factors for choosing a retirement community residence.

Choosing a senior living residence is an important decision. First, it means coming to the realization that living alone at home may not be the best place for you or your loved one at this time. Leaving your home is never easy, but fortunately there are more senior living options than ever before.

Senior living offers choices about where you or your loved one wants to live, the services provided to residents, levels of care offered, and types of environment that best meet your or your loved one’s physical and emotional needs. Each resident is unique, and high-quality senior living communities will offer a wide range of choices to best suit their needs.

Most retirement communities are created for seniors wanting an active lifestyle. However, being active is not a requirement. Active retirement communities are filled with options and opportunities for daily living. The average age of residents in a retirement community often rises as the community ages. The average age of new residents, however, may continue to be in the early sixties.

While each senior living community is different, typical services include:

  • Housekeeping services
  • Transportation
  • Access to health and medical services
  • Staff available to respond to both scheduled and unscheduled needs
  • 24-hour security
  • Emergency call systems
  • Wellness programs
  • Medication management
  • Social and recreational activities
  • Pastoral services and volunteer opportunities

Assessing Senior Living Care Needs

Since a variety of senior living care levels are available, such as independent living, personal care, and skilled nursing, it is important to assess your care needs or the care needs of a loved one. Some seniors may need little to no assistance and enjoy independent living in a cottage, a villa, or an apartment. Other seniors may need medication management and some health care monitoring, and will require personal care options. And some seniors may have acute care needs and will require a level of skilled nursing care.

More advanced needs could include:

  • Assistance with eating, bathing, dressing, toileting, and walking
  • Alzheimer’s care and memory support
  • Personal laundry services

Family Caregiver Considerations

When it’s time to consider moving into a senior living care facility or retirement community, be sure to allow enough time to do research and explore any concerns the senior may have. The idea of moving from their home is troubling and many seniors worry about loss of control and independence. Being able to plan ahead and helping to allay concerns leads to seniors feeling more confident with their decisions.

Families and potential senior residents with Alzheimer’s or dementia should visit retirement communities together. The Alzheimer’s Association provides tips for helping care for and make decisions for a loved one with dementia.

After reviewing the needs, follow your heart to know exactly when it is time for you or your loved one to make the transition to a retirement community. Change is seldom easy, but most seniors enjoy a better quality of life in their senior living residence.