In the past, our path in life would be as such — grow up, get married, buy a home, raise a family and then sell the home and retire to a senior living center in Florida. Times have changed.
Today, seniors can choose to age-in-place, which means they don’t have to sell their home and move, or they can move into one of many senior residential communities that are available now. Some of these communities offer independent living for those who can still care for themselves, while others provide medical assistance and memory care for those who need it.
The question is though, how do you elect the right community that meets the senior’s needs?
“First, you find out what those needs — and wants — are,” said Paige Lacasse of Somerby Senior Living in Mount Pleasant, South Carolina. “It’s important to find a community that is going to make the senior happy, not you. This starts by having a conversation with them and finding out what their wishes are. Ask them if they want to live in a city or a suburban setting. Find out what kind of activities are important to them and if they want to socialize with others.”
Their answers will help to narrow down the final residential living selection. For example, a senior community by the water might sound blissful to you, but if your dad doesn’t swim and the sun bothers your mom, this might not be the right choice for them.
“Of course you don’t have a crystal ball, but think about how things might change,” said Lacasse. “A senior who is active and independent today might want to live in a community that adapts as they get older and need assistance. A community that offers various levels of assistance might be beneficial as their needs change. It’s comforting to have everything they need in one community,” she added.
Once you’ve outlined their wishes, then it’s important to visit a few communities with them and see what they like. Check the community’s level of cleanliness and see how the residents are during a mealtime or activity. “Talk to the staff, too, and make sure they are friendly and attentive to the residents,” advised Lacasse.
Most importantly, remember that the final decision is the senior’s, not the caregiver’s or the loved ones to make. “The senior must feel like they are in control and making decisions,” according to Lacasse, warning, “you can support and encourage them, take them to the tours and provide them with valuable information, but ultimately they get the final say.”
Some seniors might be under the impression that a senior living community is a nursing home that they can’t leave and become resistant to change. “While some senior living communities, like ours, offer medical assistance and have a nurse on staff 24 hours a day, we also provide independent living and the senior can come and go as they want,” described Lacasse. She went on to say, “Meeting the needs of the senior first means educating them on what they are getting into. Once they feel comfortable, they will be more willing to move.”
Somerby Senior Living is located in the picturesque city of Mount Pleasant close to Charleston, South Carolina. Somerby features delicious full-service dining, or casual fare dining options, on-campus entertainment and recreational classes, activities and social opportunities as well as a Discover Your Spark® wellness program. For more information, call 1-800-984-4096 or visit https://www.somerbyseniorliving.com/community/mount-pleasant-sc.