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The number one factor when choosing a senior living community

When you start thinking about a move to a senior living community, you have lots of things to consider: location, costs, amenities....the list goes on. But there's one thing that should stand above the rest and should help you in making a decision.

The most important factor is...your happiness.

As we age, we gain the wisdom to prioritize the things that truly matter in life, like family and friendship, health and security. While researching whether to move to a continuing care retirement community (CCRC) like Lawrence Presbyterian Manor, you should keep one question on the forefront: Will I be happy living here?

Finding your happy place

How you define happiness is up to you but here are some suggestions on how to determine if a community will meet your expectations and be a place you truly enjoy living in long term.

• Visit all the communities at the top of your list

Just as you wouldn’t buy the first house you see, it is wise to check out several communities so you can compare. As a prospective resident, you want to understand the culture of the community, including the overall attitude of the residents and the staff. Does this feel like a place where you would be comfortable, physically, emotionally, and perhaps even spiritually?

Attend open houses and other events

Going to an open house at a continuing care retirement community is a nice way to check out communities in a casual way with little to no sales pressure. You will typically get to go on a tour, either individually or with a group of other prospects, and see the highlights that the community has to offer. You will be able to ask questions and at least get an initial feel for the facilities and amenities.

Many communities also offer various types of events, both educational and promotional. Attending these types of presentations can provide you with some great information and also give you another opportunity to see if the community feels comfortable and home-like to you.

Spend time on-site and try out the amenities

Most communities will invite prospective residents to spend a considerable amount of time in their community before signing a contract. For example, once you are on a waiting list, some communities may offer access to some of their amenities, like the fitness center, walking trails, or other communal areas. Many even offer guest suites where you can spend the night to get a feel for the day-to-day realities of living there. Look for an opportunity to eat in the dining room or café to get a taste (literally) of the food and service.

And while it may not be your favorite thing to think about, it’s also wise to visit a community’s healthcare neighborhood to see if it is up to your standards. If you become a resident, you will likely have priority access to healthcare services.

• Talk with residents

Prospective residents should expect an adjustment period when they first move to a senior living community.  It is a major life change but typically, new residents settle in and love it!

That’s why there’s value in talking with the “locals” to get first-hand accounts of what it’s like to live there. Perhaps you already know someone who lives in the community. If not, when you are visiting, you can always strike up a conversation with a resident. You’ll find that most people are willing to share their personal experiences in the community – good or bad – with someone considering moving there. You'll likely ask about things like service and lifestyle, but you may also want to delve into deeper topics like, “Do residents have a voice?” or “How active are residents in what happens at the community (both from a management and activities stand-point)?”

The most important selection criteria

From costs and contracts to apartment sizes, there are many practical considerations that come into play when selecting a senior living option. These are all really important, but none of it really matters if you’re not happy.

The “happiness factor” is a big deal…because you deserve it. Consider whether the community you are interested in will help you continue living the life you want to live. Your community should be a place that you can feel good about calling home.

The above article was written by Brad Breeding of myLifeSite and is legally licensed for use.

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