Each day, I speak with people from all over the country who are looking to learn more about our communities. Oftentimes, they have a lot of questions. In particular, one is most common; ” We toured a bunch of places and found a few we like…where do we go from here?
Here are some tips to help you with next steps
Congratulations! You’ve narrowed down your search. Now it’s time for one of the most important steps, to follow-up. I often recommend people conduct a second tour of your top 2-3 choice communities. During this second tour, you want to be looking for a few key items that play an important role in choosing a community for your loved one.
- Pay attention the cleanliness of the community along-with how residents are using it. Is the lobby beautiful and grand, but empty and secluded? You want to know that your loved one will feel at home in ALL spaces in the community, not just their apartment.
- Pay close attention to how residents are interacting with each other and staff, and how the staff is interacting with the residents. Don’t be afraid to engage and ask questions. In fact, in this scenario, more is more!
- Try to remember, it’s your loved one moving in, not you. You will want to really consider how your loved one will thrive in the community. As we like to say, granite countertops won’t keep your loved one company if they don’t feel engaged in the community.
If you’re having a hard time separating your feelings from your loved ones, try creating a list of what they must have and would like to have. Here are a few examples:
- Is the community priced within their budget?
- Are the activities ones they will enjoy?
- Will they be able to navigate elevators, corridors, etc?
- Schedule lunch with the community so either you and your loved can come and see if they offer meals that your loved one will enjoy.
If your loved one is struggling with the idea of a move because they are in denial or grieving the fact that they are having to move, be patient but also encourage them. Remember, the best thing we can do as caregivers is love and support. This is a very big move and sometimes it takes a while to come to the realization that this is necessary and happening.
Consider offering a chance for your loved one to come to the community and enjoy an activity to help get them more comfortable with the community and the residents that will be their neighbors. It’s important to really connect them with the community that has been chosen without pushing too hard. This important step will make them more confident and make them a true part of the decision.
Stay in touch with the community you have chosen or narrowed your choices to. See how they interact with you. This will keep you up to speed with availability as well as tell you a lot about the leadership of the community. Be wary of too good to be true promotions or discounts. If the price is too low, how will the community provide the staff and resources needed to ensure your loved one has what they need?
Most importantly, listen to your heart. If you felt a certain feeling about one community over another…don’t ignore it. Keep that feeling in mind and don’t be afraid to take a second look. A great community will understand the process and welcome you with open arms no matter how many times you want to visit.