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There are nearly 29,000 senior living communities in the United States alone. With that many communities to choose from, you’re not just able to shop around – you also have no reason to select anything less than the best accommodations you or your loved one can afford.

In many cases you will know whether a senior living community is unsuitable the instant you walk through its doors. Just like buying a house, first impressions count for a lot. But once you have narrowed your options down to a few remaining candidates, how do you select the best among them? At this stage it becomes helpful to follow a criteria. Here are eight things you should consider while selecting a senior living community!

1. Location

Is the senior living community nearby the future resident’s loved ones? And if the resident is accustomed to living in the city, suburbs or country, will the location of the community match their geographical preference? Furthermore, if the resident prefers spending their free time shopping or dining out, will the community offer convenient access to such amenities? Proximity to public transportation is crucial if the resident no longer drives!

2. Mission

Every senior living community has a mission – in addition to accommodating seniors, that is. Many communities are driven by a faith-based initiative. Some are geared specifically toward assisting veterans, and others may specialize in assisting residents who suffer from certain health conditions. You would ideally select a community with a mission that closely overlaps with the resident’s own personal values.

3. Quality of Life

 The quality of life a senior living community offers its residents becomes evident fairly early on during a tour. We wouldn’t like to elaborate all the ways a community can fail to care for its residents – you can imagine them well enough yourself.

Do not rely solely on your first impression while assessing this important, multi-faceted aspect. Ask a potential community’s current residents how they like living there. (If the community discourages its residents from engaging with you in any way, take that as a suspect sign.) Check and make sure the community’s calendar is filled with activities and exercise classes (regular physical activity benefits seniors’ health in many ways), and possibly join a class to assess the residents’ levels of engagement. Pay close attention to the community’s cleanliness, and take note of how well its grounds are maintained.

Finally, try to get a sense of just how familiar a community’s staff members are with its residents. If employees know the residents by name and appear to share a friendly rapport with them, that indicates they are personally invested in the residents’ well-being. If the employees seem cold or impartial, that indicates they’re uninvested in their quality of life.

4. Level of Care

Not all seniors require the same level of care. While some communities offer multiple levels of care, others might specialize in seniors who are mostly autonomous or in need of round-the-clock care. Many communities tailor their care specifically to treating seniors who suffer from Alzheimer’s disease.

 In short, you want to select a community that will provide adequate care to you or your loved one. Understanding the differences between independent living, assisted living and memory care is essential to moving forward!

5. Accreditation

 No state or federal laws require a licensed senior living community to become accredited. This is significant, because communities which voluntarily received accreditation must have demonstrated that they adhere to rigorous standards for care and safety – both of which nearly always equate to a higher quality of life for their residents. Always ask the staff if the community they work for is accredited!

6. Pet Friendliness

This is a deal-breaker for many seniors who would never dream of abandoning their beloved pets. Many communities welcome pets with open arms; many others prohibit them entirely. Some only permit cats, and several charge extra fees if a resident brings their pet with them. Pet ownership brings many benefits during old age, so making sure a senior retains their dog or cat’s company can be crucial to their well-being!

7. Costs

Few of us are so well off that the costs associated with residency in a senior living community are of no consequence. Make certain you ascertain all of the fees a community would charge its newest resident – and find out how the community would proceed if that resident were ever unable to pay for their care.

8. History

 The ideal senior living community has been operational for a very long time. This demonstrates that their model of care is sustainable, and that they have identified and adhere to sound practices. While delving into a community’s background, see whether it also shares its financials and plans for the future. These may very clearly illustrate just how seriously a community takes its job.

 Finally, if you are searching for a senior living community on the behalf of a loved one, ask yourself whether you would want to live there yourself. This may be a difficult question to pose to yourself, but an honest answer will help guide you to the right choice! 

Would you like any additional advice on what you should consider before choosing an assisted living community? Then we welcome you to contact us today for guidance. And if you would like to tour our beautiful community in Tea, South Dakota, then Morgan Lane Village’s doors are always open!