Making the decision to move into an assisted living community can be big, and seniors and their families shouldn't be pressured to make it quickly if they don't have to. When you have the ability to be leisurely about this change in life, you can consider all the options and make the best possible choice for you or your loved one. By asking and answering — or seeking answers to — the questions below, you can help rule out options and find a location you'll love.
This is a top concern for many people of faith who want to continue in their walk with God no matter their age or where they live. This is also something that helps the Bethesda Senior Living Communities stand out. Our communities are faith-based, which means they're run by an organization that has a faith foundation and they incorporate philosophies and activities relevant to people of faith.
Opportunities for devotional time, Bible study and worship are included in most of our activity calendars, and seniors can also take advantage of spiritual support through on-site chaplains. These types of services can be important to seniors who might be leaving home congregations when they make a move to assisted living.
Uprooting, downsizing and moving can be a lot of work and even cause some level of stress — which means you probably don't want to set yourself up for doing it again soon. By moving into a senior living community that supports multiple levels of care, you can reduce how often you might need to relocate during retirement.
Levels of care might include:
Independent living that lets you reside independently in a community where you can also access amenities and services as needed
Assisted living, which allows you to live as independently as possible while also making 24-hour care services available should you require help with any activities of daily living
Memory care, which provides a higher level of care for those who may be struggling with dementia or other cognitive issues
Skilled nursing care, which is provided in a nursing home and may necessitate moving from an assisted living community area even if you choose an organization that offers this service nearby
All of our Bethesda Senior Living Communities offer independent and assisted living, and many offer memory care.
Talk to the staff at potential assisted living communities to understand what health care services are provided on-site. Most don't have doctors on site, as seniors each have their own primary medical providers. But many do bring in specialists for periodic on-site assistance with certain issues such as physical therapy, podiatry or pharmacy assistance.
Some health services that might be important to support aging adults include medication management, nutritional guidance and assistance managing chronic diseases.
Knowing that comfort and enjoyment of life is waiting for them can help seniors feel better about a decision to move into an assisted living community. Visit the location and check out all the amenities, including:
The assisted living apartments, which might include separate living and sleeping quarters, spacious bathrooms and kitchenettes so individuals can have easy access to favorite snacks and hot beverages.
Common areas, including libraries, computer and television rooms, gardens, patios and sitting spaces where seniors can make new friends and enjoy activities with others.
Dining rooms and meals, which might include restaurant-style dining, on-site cafes and other options for accessing hot, healthy and delicious food.
Lifestyle services, including housekeeping or laundry.
At the heart of the assisted living community concept is the social calendar. Aside from assistance with daily living and medical needs, the biggest benefit of this type of lifestyle is a reduction in social isolation. But seniors will get the most out of that benefit if they choose a senior living community that offers activities they enjoy.
Ask for a copy of the latest activity schedule to get an idea of what type of activities are offered and talk to staff about their exercise and game programs, social schedule and how often they offer transportation to events and locations outside of the community.
For some seniors, freedom to roam is still important, even if they're ready to move into an assisted living community. Ask about whether you can come and go as you like and if there is space to park your car if these things are important to you. If you'd like to enjoy freedom but don't want to drive anymore, ask about local public transportation options and how close they are to the community.
Finally, ask about visiting the community and whether you can enjoy a short-term stay for respite care. Respite care involves staying in the community for a few days or weeks as you're recovering from a medical procedure or illness or simply because you need some level of assistance and your daily caregivers are on vacation. It's also a great way to find out whether an assisted living community might work for you long-term.