You’ll find a lot to consider when searching for the right assisted living community. Aside from location every assisted living community can offer unique benefits. Generally speaking, you should look for high-quality care, an outstanding layout and architectural design, a vibrant community, and the services and amenities you want. But that’s just touching the surface! Here are the top ten most important features to consider when searching for the best assisted living community for yourself or a loved one.
1. Personalized Care
Personalized care offers residents a tailored approach to managing their health. Changes in a resident’s health can be addressed quickly. With a focus on an individual’s unique health needs personalized care helps foster a supportive environment and an increase of independence and autonomy.
2. Cost of Living
An assisted living community could have a lower cost of living but will vary by state and individual communities. It’s important to check that all fees fit within your budget. Be sure to ask questions on costs, including whether there are additional expenses related to special services or amenities.
3. Services & Amenities
Many of today’s assisted living communities offer resort-style amenities and services for residents. These special features are designed to ensure seniors are healthy and happy and continue to maintain the highest level of independence possible. Look for these services:
- Transportation assistance
- 24/7 staff support
- Social programming and access to events
- Housekeeping and maintenance
- Medication management
- Spa and salon service
- Personal care
Potential additional services and amenities may include medical care, 24-hour emergency response systems, secured buildings, and personalized care plans.
4. Innovative Technology
Technological advancements allow for increased interaction between residents, their families, friends, and the world. Technology can keep residents connected as well as offering powerful tools for managing medication and making better care decisions. Look for communities that use virtual reality, have accessible Wi-Fi, computer lounges, and other high-tech services.
5. Wellness Programming
Wellness programs that target the mind, body, and spirit are important to maintain mental and physical as well as an overall positive outlook.
Health programs can include:
- Dietary support
- Swimming and aquatic fitness
- Heart health support
- Fitness programs
- Spiritual and religious programs
- Yoga and meditation
A wellness program should be designed to enhance mental stimulation, physical activity, and create a social connection.
6. Social Activities
Social programming and events are part of the resort-style amenities and services many communities offer. It’s important to ask what the activity schedule is like and if it aligns with your interests and hobbies. Some popular social activities include:
- Cocktail hours
- Live performances or musical entertainment
- Art classes taught by professional artists
- Movie nights
- Sporting events
- Lifelong learning classes and intergenerational activities
An active social life is not only fun for older residents, it reduces isolation, promotes active aging and independence, and is part of a balanced health and wellness program.
7. High Quality Dining Experiences
Good food is a priority for everyone living in an assisted living community. We know that proper nutrition is important to overall health. However, today’s residents are looking for more when it comes to the dining experience.
A feature many residents are looking for in their senior communities is 5-star dining experiences and food variety, with options that fit different tastes, preferences, and diets (e.g., vegetarian or religious). Residents no longer want ordinary meals but prefer chef-prepared culinary works of art. Residents look for exciting dining areas, casual bistros, cocktail bars, and lounges.
8. Pet Friendly Communities
Whether you have a cat or a dog, pets are an important part of the family. Pets provide comfort and companionship for residents, helping them stay healthy and happy as they age in place.
If pets are important to you, a pet-friendly community is a must. Be sure to check if there are monthly charges associated with pets.
9. Welcoming, Beautiful Spaces
The interior and exterior of an assisted living community should be welcoming and make residents feel inspired and at ease. You should feel comfortable as if you’re in a place where you belong. It’s important that the assisted living community is bright, open, and airy. Natural light is essential to having a positive experience in the common areas and apartments.
10. Staff to Resident Ratios, Qualifications, Training
The staff at a quality assisted living community should have the proper qualifications and training, be friendly and helpful, available 24/7, and have a good staff-to-resident ratio. Families can rest assured with a good ratio, staff can meet the needs of residents.
Finding Your Assisted Living Community
The best assisted living communities are designed to make every day special for residents. These top 10 traits of assisted living communities are a starting point. Use them to help you find an assisted living community that truly fits your needs. Be sure to visit in person if possible and ask lots of questions. Find one in your area that offers all of these features—and then sit back and take advantage of them.