HOW COMMUNITY LIVING CONTRIBUTES TO OVERALL WELLNESS

Selecting a senior living community for yourself or the senior in your life can be a stressful and overwhelming process beginning with the initial decision to move. Perhaps you want peace of mind that Mom is getting the nutrition and medication reminders she needs. Maybe lack of transportation is keeping Dad isolated and he is becoming withdrawn. Or, it could be that you just aren’t up to the yard work and maintenance that owning a home typically requires.

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THE SEARCH FOR SENIOR LIVING - THE STARTING LINE

Choosing a senior living community can be an overwhelming process. Whether you are looking for yourself or a loved one or whether you are planning for the immediate or distant future, these five steps will get you started on the right track....

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SENIOR INDEPENDENT LIVING REDEFINED

If asked to define “senior living”, what would your description of this lifestyle include? Many immediately gravitate towards the stereotypical skilled nursing scenario, including activities that revolved around pastimes such as bingo or other more sedative recreation. Is this an option that you or a loved one would be looking forward to in the future? The incredible news is that times have definitely changed!

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THE SEARCH FOR SENIOR LIVING - THE STARTING LINE

Choosing a senior living community can be an overwhelming process. Whether you are looking for yourself or a loved one or whether you are planning for the immediate or distant future, these five steps will get you started on the right track.


1. Determine the level of care

Make a checklist of everything you need from a community in terms of assisted services. This list may include meal preparation, assistance with bathing, medication management, housekeeping or transportation. Or perhaps you don’t need any services at this time, but are looking to downsize while removing the stress of home maintenance from your life. This step is important because it will help you narrow down the type of community and level of care you need. Keep in mind any current health issues as well as future concerns – it’s important to plan for today and tomorrow.


2. Set your budget

Take a careful look at your finances and know what you are comfortable spending each month. Remember that many of your current expenses, such as taxes, utilities and maintenance of your yard and home, may be included in the monthly rent at a community. Also keep in mind other financial resources that may be available to you, such as long-term

insurance or the Veterans Aid & Attendance Pension which is available to veterans and their surviving spouses in need of assisted living. Fees and expenses are different at every senior living community so when collecting information be sure you get a clear picture of what the rent includes.


3. Niceties vs. necessities

Think about what you are looking for in regards to amenities and desires. Then make two lists – first, your “must- haves” which should include whatever is non-negotiable in making this move. Perhaps it’s important for you to stay close to your current neighborhood or that the community is pet friendly. Next, make a wish list of those things you hope to find in a community, such as a fitness center, gardening space or restaurant-style dining. These should be items that you’d like to have, but are willing to live without.


4. Do your research

Now that you’ve determined the level of care needed, created your checklists and set your budget, you are ready to start reaching out to communities! Make a list of communities that meet your criteria, prepare your questions and make preliminary

contact by phone or email. This will help you narrow your list down and determine which communities you’d like to visit in person.


5. Schedule a tour (or two)

In-person visits are extremely important when it comes to making an informed decision. Don’t be afraid to ask questions and take careful notes. Consider asking a friend or family member to join you. When you arrive, are you greeted promptly? Do the staff take time to get to know you so they can best meet your needs? Does it feel like a place you could call home?


 If your first tour isn’t what you expected, don’t be discouraged. Every community is different and there is truly something for everyone. The search for senior living is a process - take your time, remember that this is your decision and feel empowered by the fact that you are in control of your future.

LAUREN ASHLEY GERMAN

Lauren Ashley German is the Community Relations Director at Highgrove at Tates Creek, a premier senior living community opening fall of 2016. Formally with the Alzheimer’s Association, Lauren Ashley has had the privilege of working with families across Kentucky dealing with all levels of dementia as well as the senior living communities that serve them. Lauren Ashley can be reached at 859-245-0100 or via Email

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