Once you’ve decided to move into senior living, the next big step is to find the right senior living community or apartment. And just like when choosing any other home, be it a family home, a condo or a vacation home, there are many factors to consider – some of which you may not have thought about until now.
“Moving into senior living is an exciting time, but it’s also a major life event,” says Kristine Tilton, Executive Director of Waterstone at Wellesley. “More than likely, you’re planning on staying in your senior living apartment for the foreseeable future, so you want to make sure you’re choosing an apartment – and a community – that provides the lifestyle you want.”
Just as with any move, says Kristine, it’s important to create a plan and approach your search in a disciplined and organized way. “Making a list of your must-haves and like-to-haves is a great way to start,” she says. “Before you even begin searching, take some time to think about what you really want for this next stage of life. How many bedrooms would you like your apartment to be? What sort of amenities are important to you? What type of surrounding neighborhood works for your lifestyle?”
You can definitely begin searching for a senior living apartment before you answer these questions, she says. “Taking a look around at what’s available in your desired area will give you a picture of your options and what you should be looking for in a community.” You may discover that certain things you thought were must-haves really aren’t necessary for this new chapter in your life.
Whether you’re “just looking” for a senior apartment or are ready to begin your search in earnest, here are some of our top things to look for.
1. Location & Layout
More than anything, you want an apartment that is located in the area you want – and has the floor plan that meets your needs. Besides taking a look at the apartment complex or community itself, be sure to find out what the surrounding neighborhood and area is like. Are you conveniently located to shopping, dining and medical services? Are you in the middle of downtown or in a calmer, more bucolic atmosphere? The correct answer for you will depend on your desired lifestyle, your energy level, your health and your preferences.
Would you like custom cabinetry and granite countertops in your apartment? Do you want an on-site fitness center with a heated pool? What about a library and community areas? How about all-day dining options, or maintenance-free living? Different senior living communities offer different amenities, so be sure to take a look around the community itself to see what perks the residents enjoy. Some of them may matter more than others to you (which is why it’s important to make your “must have” list).
3. Activities & Events
One of the biggest reasons seniors choose to move to a senior living apartment is because living at home can be isolating – and being with like-minded individuals in the same stage of life is highly attractive. Not only do senior living communities offer social opportunities, but there are also a variety of activities and events that take place. Take a look at what sort of activities are available. If there are off-site events, is transportation required? Are there partnerships with other organizations in the area for lifelong learning opportunities or other activities? During this stage of life, you may wish to spend your time volunteering for a cause, learning a new skill or traveling. Senior communities these days are expanding their options to attract Baby Boomers who see this stage of life as a chance to start something new instead of slowing down.
4. Security & Safety
Yet another reason seniors choose to move into senior living is for peace of mind and security. Many, if not all, senior living apartment communities offer 24/7 security as well as secure entrances and exits. Older adults also have health-related issues that may pose a problem, so check to see what sort of emergency assistance options are available. For example, are there alert buttons or pull cords in the residences, and are they easily accessible? Do bathrooms have non-slip surfaces, grab bars and other safety features? What is the community’s policy for medical emergencies, and is there a nurse or medical professional on site or on-call? What plans are in place for natural disasters?
5. What’s Included
Residents living in senior living apartments will pay a monthly fee for rent ... but what else does that fee include? Take a look at the rental agreement to see what services are included and what aren’t. Some communities are all-inclusive with a monthly fee that covers everything, while others have services that are add-on costs. This will help you avoid hidden fees and surprises and will give you a clearer picture of the total cost of different places.
Just as you would have a home inspection before purchasing a new house, you should check out a senior living community’s credentials to find out how they rate. Do an Internet search and connect with your local Area Agency on Aging to get information on the places you’re considering. Find out if there have been any bankruptcies or sales in the past, and whether or not leadership has changed hands on a more-than-usual basis.
7. Care Continuum
At some point, seniors may require some personal assistance or medical care on a regular basis. While some senior living apartments are for independent living only, others provide supportive services or assisted living for when care may be needed in the future. Do some research to find out how the community assists residents who require these services, and what type of continuum of care exists.
“The choice of a senior living apartment is significant, which is why we at Waterstone at Wellesley have chosen to provide a luxurious lifestyle that Wellesley seniors want and deserve,” says Kristine. “Waterstone at Wellesley is the area’s only senior living community that offers vibrant independent and assisted living with an exquisite attention to detail. Every aspect of our community has been carefully crafted with purpose and thought to deliver an exceptional experience for every resident.”
For more information about our distinctive independent lifestyle, please contact us at 781.235.1614.
Beautiful Riverfront Community
Located on the banks of the Charles River, Waterstone is Wellesley’s only senior living community, offering premier independent and assisted living. But that’s only the first of many differences that sets Waterstone above and beyond other communities.
Celebrating Dynamic Living
Here our residents live independently in their own private, spacious apartments – but without any of the worries or concerns of homeownership or living alone. All meals are expertly prepared. There aren’t any chores to be concerned with. No home maintenance or repairs to worry about. Just opportunities around every corner and time to spend as they choose – in the company of new friends.
Our vibrant community encourages residents to engage in a variety of recreational, cultural and social programs and activities. Enjoy a fitness class. Swim in the sunny indoor pool. Take a stroll on a walking path. Partake in a favorite hobby or pastime. Discover a new interest. With Waterstone at Wellesley, there’s a world of opportunity waiting right outside our residents’ doors.
Confidence of Care
The hallmark of Waterstone assisted living is the peace of mind we provide both our residents and their families. Knowing that care and support is available right on site instills a sense of confidence and calm one can’t find living alone.
For prospective residents or their families interested in residing at Waterstone at Wellesley, please contact us at 781.235.1614.