Monday, June 29, 2020

Things to ask when looking for a Senior Community

When I was hired at my current job, I work in an upscale senior community very well known and respected in beautiful San Diego, CA. I was told that the heart of a senior community is the dining and the activities department. I'm here to tell you NO!, that is not true. 

knowing what I know, this is how I would go about gathering information on a potential community that I would be interested in. Let's start with the administrator, how long has the administrator been with the company, specifically the location that you are contemplating. Don't ask the sales department to ask the current residents, if you are clever about how you go about your inquiries, you will get the 90% the truth. Ask about the social worker, and the registered nurse, it's important that they have one, ask about their schedules, what are their hours.

Going back to the administrator and the current residents, ask the current resident what has been the most challenging situation that they have gone thru, and how has it been handled by management? Are the administrator's responses and actions controlled by the COO and CEO'S agenda? How is the food? How responsive and reasonable are they with their solutions to problems? Do they have recurring unresolved issues? Are the administrator and SW, truly the resident's champions when difficult issues arise? Does the current resident feel that their needs are being met? Do they deliver what the sales team has promised? How is the food? How often do they raise the rent? If they do, what percentage is it commonly? 

What is the company's philosophy, do they operate by that credo or belief? Do they have other communities? if yes, ask to talk to residents in the other communities and compare to the replies of the residents of the community that you are contemplating. Do ask, how is the food in the other communities? Transportation, ask about it, do you get free rides to doctor's visits, shopping errands? What is the milage that you are allowed per ride? Are you the one that makes the appropriate changes with the cable company or is this something that the senior community takes care of? If they take care of it make sure you know their name. Will everything be in working order when you finally move in? Do they have parking spaces available for your car? Do you pay for parking spaces? Most communities rent parking spaces. How is the food?

All of the senior communities have different packages of care, depending on your needs Independent or Assisted Living is how much you will pay per month. Do you need laundry service, housekeeping, or medication management? All of those needs and wants will add to your monthly payment. What amenities does the community have? Where I work we have a heated saltwater pool, equipped gym, spa service, a dance studio, the cutest hair salon, and many B.B.Q. areas that can be used by residents to host parties. Well not at this time though. 

Nowadays, senior communities have certain protocols that hey are following when it comes, to visitors, vendors, physicians, and family members. Everyone that comes in gets asked specific questions and the answers are written down, temperatures are taken and recorded. There are some communities that have installed visitation stations for family members to schedule a visit with their loved ones. In our community, we have three, one of them specifically for memory care. as soon as the visit is over they get disinfected thoroughly. When you do your research to move into one of these places, ask them about their protocol regarding COVID19. If you go to the hospital for an emergency, are you allowed to come back to the community? Or are you asked to quarantine in another location? Are you allowed to go to the doctor's office? Can you go shopping? Ask as many questions as you can think of.

Do your homework, make a list check it several times. Write down what is important to you, what are you willing to give up, are you willing to compromise with?  Be diligent in your homework. After all, it will be your future home. Do not forget about the vibe of the place, what do you sense when you first walk in? Do you picture yourself living there? More than likely you've noticed that I repeated the question, how is the food? Why do I ask that question? Because it is one of the biggest issues in every senior community! It can become a love-hate situation. How would you react if everything, but the food is perfect in your senior community? Is it a deal-breaker or can you work around it? How crazy would it drive you if the food is not good? Would it be the cause for you to get depressed? All of these are valid questions and in order, for you to find the proper community for you need to be completely honest about your current needs, wants, and musts. What are you willing to compromise with?  Ultimately it has to be a place where you see yourself living a happy, fulfilled, and engaged life.
The next post will be looking for a Memory Care Facility.  I have a few thoughts about that.
We are on this bumpy road together, you are not alone!
Be Prepared, Be Informed, Be Empowered.
I send you lots of virtual good vibes.