28 September, 2021 | 6 min read

Finding the Right Senior Living Community for Your Lifestyle and Needs

If you or your loved ones are considering senior living that offers a desired lifestyle or needed health care, it’s a good idea to familiarize yourself with all the available options so you’re able to make the best decision for you and your family.

In addition to a wide range of features and amenities, each senior living community will offer different levels of care, which may include independent living, assisted living, memory care and/or skilled nursing services. Each type of community is designed to provide the right services and care necessary to support the physical, mental and emotional health of their residents. 

Selecting the Right Senior Living Community

Many families find that creating a list that outlines their top priorities is a great way to start their search for the right community. Once you’ve done that, identifying those communities that meet your prerequisites can help you narrow down your options and find the ideal fit. Begin by learning as much as you can about the different types of communities so you can determine if their amenities and services correspond with your needs and preferences.

The following is a brief summary of the different senior living communities you’ll find:

1. Independent living community

This type of senior living community delivers an independent lifestyle bolstered by the conveniences and confidence of available support. Along with maintenance-free housing options, residents enjoy access to a wide range of amenities, activities, events and socializing opportunities to support their goals of aging and living well. 

What to look for:

  • Private residences designed for older adults
  • Support for an independent lifestyle
  • Fitness centers and classes
  • Art studios and game rooms
  • Social events that provide opportunities to meet others
  • Healthy, creative dining options
  • Scheduled transportation
  • Light housekeeping
2. Assisted living community

An assisted living community provides residents with enhanced, personalized assistance with activities of daily living and typically offers the same advantages available at an independent living community. Amenities are likely to include restaurant-style dining options, spiritual care, and recreational and cultural pursuits to create an environment of purposeful living and continued growth. Typically, an assessment of the resident is completed prior to move-in so that an individualized care plan can be prepared.

What to look for:

Examples of personal assistance provided may include:

  • Bathing
  • Dressing
  • Grooming
  • Help with mobility issues
  • Getting ready for bed
  • Managing medication
3. Memory care community

Individuals living with Alzheimer’s disease or other forms of dementia often continue to live at home during the early stages. But as the illness progresses, some families may discover that the care needs of their loved ones exceed what they are able to provide at home.

They may turn to a memory care community so that their parent or spouse can continue to receive the highest level of care and quality of life that they deserve.

What to look for:

  • Care and supervision provided 24/7
  • Staff trained in dementia care
  • Secured communities designed to encourage freedom of movement
  • Customized care plans
  • Assistance with eating
  • Programs to support cognitive health that may include:
    • Pet therapy
    • Music therapy
    • Art therapy
    • Aromatherapy

4. Long-term care or skilled nursing community

Skilled nursing communities (also known as skilled nursing facilities) provide 24/7 nursing care alongside assistance with activities of daily living. If your parent or loved one’s health or overall physical condition requires 24-hour medical supervision or assistance, a skilled nursing community might be the best choice.

What to look for:

Long-term care communities provide medical and personal care under the direction of a registered nurse. For residents who are unable to live independently, a long-term care community where they are assisted with all of their basic care and needs may be the right fit. 

Skilled nursing care can also be provided with a doctor’s recommendation, such as when the individual is discharged from the hospital to continue rehabilitation or recovery from an injury, illness or surgery. It is often considered transitional and care is provided until the individual is well enough to go home.

The best skilled nursing environments will encourage both residents and short-term patients to participate in recreational and social activities that support and encourage their health and overall well-being whenever possible.

Three Steps to Finding the Right Community

Once you’ve decided on the type of senior living that best suits your lifestyle or the care needs of your parent or loved one, you’ll want to take steps to ensure you select the right community.

Consider the following tips to guide you:

1. Prioritize the top five features you’re looking for

Define the most important features you want the community to provide. Consider making a list of the top five and decide if any are negotiable.

If it’s independent living you’ve decided on, you may be searching for the best floor plans or amenities. An assisted living or memory care features list might include staff training, specific care services and activities. For long-term care or skilled nursing, you may be searching for specific treatment programs or locations.

2. Gather your information

Learn as much as you can about the type of senior living you’re interested in. Knowing what to expect and the different services offered can help you find the right one for yourself or your family member. Ask others for any recommendations they may have, and see how well your priorities match up with the community you’re considering.

3. Schedule a personal tour

The best way to decide if a community is the right home for you or your loved one is to take a tour and experience it firsthand. Consider the amenities and activities available, and enjoy a meal there, if you can. Visit more than once, and try stopping by at different times of the day to get a real sense of the daily life there.

Take note of the interactions between the residents and staff or care team. Do the residents appear content and happy and enjoying life in their community? If possible, speak to a few of the residents directly to get an insider’s perspective. How the residents feel about their community is one of the greatest indicators of how happy you or your loved one would be.

Life at Eskaton Communities

The word Eskaton means “dawn of a new day.” In our communities, we see each day as an opportunity to enhance the lives of our residents. We’ve been serving the Sacramento region and Northern California for over 50 years.

The Eskaton Difference starts with our life-enriching programs and collaborative partnerships. With a national reputation for innovation, we focus on creating communities that provide our residents everything they need for purposeful living. We invite you to visit one of our award-winning communities to discover some of the benefits we offer, such as:

  • Private residences
  • Delicious and nutritious meals
  • Social opportunities to meet new friends
  • Creative activities and therapies
  • Fitness centers and exercise classes
  • Housekeeping services
  • Transportation services
  • 24-hour staffing
  • Pet-friendly
  • Free Wi-Fi
  • And much, much more!

If you’re considering whether senior living could be the best choice for you or your loved one, we’re here to answer any questions you may have. We also invite you to download our complimentary guide, Funding Senior Living & Services.

To schedule a personalized tour, call us at 1-866-ESKATON (or 1-866-375-2866) or visit eskaton.org.

Click here to download Eskaton's Family Guide to Funding Senior Living