Older adults have many pathways as they consider senior living communities. Internet searches, magazine articles, AARP and similar resources are all typical ways to find out initial information. Starting with a search in your preferred zip code and spiraling out geographically will give you a broad overview of local services and communities.
However, often the best place to start is with family, friends and people with recent experiences whom you trust. Professional service providers like elder law attorneys, community care managers and some financial and estate planners may have knowledge about the options or can refer you to others who do. The contacts you may already have are good places to start.
Admittedly, the amount of information can be overwhelming. You’ll hear many terms that are unfamiliar to you at first. You should always feel comfortable to ask questions–and make sure you understand the answers.
Senior Living Glossary
To help, we have included a Glossary of terms you may find helpful.
What Do You Need–and Want?
Everyone has different needs and wants in considering whether to remain at home or move to a senior living community. Many people ask their personal physicians for advice during a regular exam or after a short-term health issue. Others base their decision on what their friends or other peers are doing.
But the best determination is your own sense of self. Being honest with yourself puts you in the best situation to maximize your lifestyle. Answering the questions below may help you decide if you are ready to transition to a senior living community.
- Do I need to stay in my home or even current geographic location?
- Do I want to remain in my home, or would I be happier in a new environment?
- Will I be able to enjoy hobbies and activities if I am unable to drive?
- Can I effectively manage the upkeep of my home by myself; if not, do I have a plan for that in the future?
- Do I still go out frequently to socialize?
- Do I have family in the area who can immediately help support me if I have a health crisis?
- Do I know where I would go for long-term health care if needed and what it would cost?
- Do I, or my spouse and I, have a plan that will take care of me/us without exhausting all available financial resources?
If you answered “no” to any or all of these questions, you may want to consider investigating a senior community lifestyle or an At Home Program.
What Can You Afford?
Understandably, one of the first questions people ask when exploring options for older adults is, “How much does it cost?” Whatever you ultimately decide, we urge you to ask another important question: “What am I getting for that investment?”
Senior Living Community
Many Kendal affiliates are considered Life Plan Communities. Residents pay an entrance fee that comes with a lifetime promise to provide you with health care now and as your needs change in the future. A monthly fee covers your residence, amenities, and other services.
At Home Program
Kendal communities are designed to fit within the plans of people at different levels of income and assets. Some people find that Kendal at Home fits into their budget better and provides similar peace of mind. Plus there is always the flexibility to move later if desired.
Many Kendal affiliates offer a Financial Calculator called MoneyGuage which is offered through a third party partner called MyLifeSite. It offers an opportunity for you to put in your financial information and your age, and get a response for what you may or may not be able to afford. It is quick to complete and people have found it a very helpful tool.
Try out MoneyGauge at the following communities:
How Can You Assess Quality?
Safety, staff turnover, cleanliness, financial integrity and much more should be top-of-mind considerations when you learn about a community.
Schedule a “Try-It” Stay
Ideally, you–alone and/or a family member or other trusted advisor–should tour the community in person as you decide whether to move there. Talk to a wide range of residents and staff. Ask questions, lots of questions. Many offer a “try-it” feature for a few days to get a feel for the community.
Visit the following community websites to schedule a “try-it” stay:
Several credentialing organizations accredit senior living communities. The most rigorous is CARF, an independent, not-for-profit organization that accredits providers of services to older adults.
Find Your Kendal Home Today
Kendal branches out far and wide with 13 unique communities across 8 states, and one under development in California.