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When considering senior living communities and looking at all the options available, dozens of questions may come to mind.  What would it really be like to live there?  Are the people friendly?  What kind of help is provided?  What costs should I expect?  Can I bring my furniture?  What about my pets?

Many questions can be answered by visiting the campus, getting a tour, and speaking with staff.  Choosing a senior living community for your next stage of life is a big decision and shouldn’t be entered into with lingering questions or hesitations.  Most communities are eager to help, so don’t be afraid to inquire and get the answers you need.  Below are questions to ask in the quest for the perfect senior living community for you.

  1. What is the living space like?

Senior living communities offer various living accommodations to choose from such as apartments, townhomes, duplexes, or even stand-alone homes.  Different layouts and sizes may be available.  For example, Snyder Village in Metamora offers independent living apartments, cottages/duplexes, assisted living apartments, and skilled nursing rooms.  Various floorplans are available so you can find the right space to meet your wants and needs.

Thinking beyond the size of the living space, also ask how much privacy you can expect, what personal items you can bring, if visitors are allowed, and if having pets is an option.  Community rules may differ, so it’s important to get clarification on details that may affect your quality of life.

  1. What activities are available?

Isolation and depression can be a reality as you age, so many look to senior living communities to provide fun activities and socialization opportunities.  Ask what activities are available on campus and if transportation is available to activities outside the community.

  1. Is the community safe?

Location is often a deciding factor when looking for a new home, and it’s no different when looking for a senior living community.  Is the community located in an urban or more rural setting?  Ask staff, and if possible other residents, if they feel safe on campus.  Have they had issues with crime?

Are there measures in place to ensure your safety on campus?  Do all living spaces have pull cords or some sort of emergency alert system?  Is staff available 24/7?

  1. Is transportation available?

If you no longer drive, ask if transportation is offered.  Many communities offer shuttle service to activities and events or have predetermined days where transportation is offered for religious services or errands.  Ask whether it’s possible to request additional transportation as needed and if extra fees would apply.

  1. What are the food options?

Everyone loves a good meal, and senior living communities have come to recognize the importance of appealing to a variety of palates.  Many offer a variety of food options, such as a-la-cart and made-to-order menu items, along with a set meal choice.  If eating healthy is important to you, ask if the dietary staff works regularly with a nutritionist to develop their menu.  Menus should be available to view when requested.

  1. What levels of care are offered?

Some communities, such as an assisted living facility, offer a single level of care.  Others, however, offer several levels of care to meet changing needs.  A life plan community, like Snyder Village, offers independent living, assisted living, and skilled nursing all on one campus.  Therapy, memory care, and home care are also available.  If you are interested in planning for your future needs, ask the community what levels of care are offered and how they will help you transition through the levels if/when its needed.

  1. What training and qualifications do staff have?

If you will be requiring a higher level of care, you will want to make sure that staff is properly trained to give you the assistance you’ll need.  Ask questions about who will be caring and interacting with you regularly. Are there specific qualifications and training required for staff?  What medical providers are available? If specialized care will be needed, such as memory care, inquire further into the focused training staff may be required to complete.

  1. How much will it cost?

Pricing can vary widely among senior living communities, so it’s helpful to get a clear breakdown of any expenses that will be involved.  Are units purchased or rented?  Is there an additional monthly service fee, and what does it cover?  Are there any additional fees not included (for activities, transportation, food, etc.)?

It never hurts to ask if there are any ongoing promotions, move-in specials, or financial assistance available.  For example, Snyder Village provides a “Stress-Free Moving Program” to those moving to the retirement community, which includes a $1,500 moving allowance.

Most senior living communities are happy to assist you in your search, so don’t hesitate to ask questions.  The answers you’ll receive will help guide you to the perfect home for you.

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