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How to Start Your Search for a Senior Living Community

So you’ve come to the conclusion that you (or a loved one) are ready to move into a senior living community. Congratulations – that’s a huge decision, and one that can help you shape the retirement lifestyle you want and deserve. Now comes the hard part ... finding where you want to live. 

“Choosing a senior living community is a lot like choosing a new home,” says Terri Geppner, Director of Community Relations at Aspired Living® of La Grange. “There are lots of things you need to consider above and beyond the type of assistance you may need or expect to need in the future. No two senior living communities are created equal, which is why you’ll want to do some research and planning before you even begin your search.”

Whether you’re ready to make the move (literally) or are simply interested in learning more about what’s out there, your best approach is to follow the Boy Scout rule: Be prepared. 

“You and your needs are unique, which means that your list of priorities and questions won’t be cookie cutter,” says Terri. “Still, there are some basic rules to follow that will help you narrow down your search and zero in on the places that will work best for you, your needs and your desired lifestyle.”

Starting Your Search: Top Tips 

1. Know your needs. 
Realtors often say that homebuyers should make a must-have list and a want-to-have list to help narrow the search. The same is true for senior living. First, your health needs. How is your health? What level of care do you need now? What level of care might you expect in the future? If you’re relatively healthy and simply want to live in a maintenance-free community with everything provided, you might look at a more independent community over one that’s more focused on Assisted Living. Do you want a community that can flex to meet your health needs as they shift over time? What about Memory Support services? Take some time and make a list of the support and services you currently need and those you expect to need in the future. You’ll want to focus on communities that are dedicated to helping residents live as independently as possible in a safe, respectful environment. Knowing just what you need will help define your selections. 

2. Make a budget. 
One of the biggest concerns and considerations of senior living is how much it will cost. Take a moment to look through your current expenses – mortgage or rent, utility payments, how much you spend on food, taxes, etc. Add those up, and you’ll get a clearer picture of how much you spend per month on your daily life, which will give you a better idea of how much you can spend per month at a community. You’ll also want to look into other financial resources that may be able to help you pay for care, such as the Veterans Aid & Attendance benefit, long-term care insurance, company insurance plans and even Medicare in some cases. Unsure of what’s available to you? Check your local Area Agency on Aging to find professionals who can help you navigate benefits and find helpful services. 

3. Choose a location. 
Where do you want to spend your senior years? Do you want to stay near where you live currently? Would you like to move to be closer to an adult child or other family members? Or would you like to be located in a specific area, such as the center of a larger community that has great public transportation and opportunities?

4. Know your wants. 
These are the services and amenities that aren’t essential to care, but are things that will make moving to a community feel more like “home.” Do you want an on-site fitness center? A dining experience focused on all-day choices? A comprehensive wellness program? A place that accepts pets? Maybe you’d like a community that has an on-site spa, or a salt-water pool or other amenities. Let your imagination run wild – this can help you narrow down your top choices if you’re in a deadlock. 

5. Do your research. 
Now that you’re equipped with all your needs, wants and other necessities, it’s time to do a little digging. Start searching online for the senior living communities that are available in your selected location. (Googling “senior living communities near me” is a great way to start.) You’ll quickly discover a list of websites for communities that match your description. This is a great place for you to get general information about what’s available at that particular community and perhaps even read some online reviews. 

Speaking of online reviews, be sure to look at independent reviews for the community. Check the Internet (there are plenty of sites dedicated to reviewing senior living communities specifically) and Facebook. Look at photos, learn what you can about the programs, lifestyle, residents – even their dining approach. 

6. Ask for referrals. 
Is there anyone in your life who’s already been through the process of choosing a senior living community? Do you have friends who live in a specific community and absolutely love it? First-hand accounts can give you some excellent insights. Besides friends and family, you can ask other trusted individuals such as colleagues, clergy members and other professionals. You may learn about ideas and questions that you hadn’t thought about before, as well as useful information. 

“Following these six tips will set you up for success in your senior living community search,” says Terri. “Once you have your lists of needs and wants, your budget, your location and research the various communities that meet your criteria, you’ll be ready to set up in-person visits to see up close and personal what life at the community is like.”

For more information about our innovative new senior living community, please contact our Welcome Center at 708-365-8593.

Live Well. Age Well. Be Well. at Aspired Living® of La Grange.
Opening Early 2020
When you step through the doors of our Independent Living, Assisted Living and Memory Support community, you’ll notice ... something different. Something exciting. Something exceptional! At Aspired Living® of La Grange, we believe that moving to senior living is something that should be supported and celebrated.  

Wellness is at the heart of everything we do at Aspired Living of La Grange. From VIVA!SM, award-winning programming that inspires each resident every day to live engaged, connected and fulfilled to VIVA! Plus, which brings coordinated health care right to our residents' apartments, we do all we can to ensure that our residents Live Well. Age Well. Be Well!

Every day is a new opportunity to grow, laugh, share, learn and thrive. Gather with friends for delicious, nutritious meals in our all-day dining room, or enjoy a lively happy hour in our wine bar. Relax with a massage or spa treatment in our spa and salon. Stay fit and healthy with our fitness center, or spend the day painting in our art studio. It’s all up to you!

Offering delicious dining options, award-winning VIVA! programming by Pathway to Living®, programming designed to inspire the whole person and so much more, Aspired Living of La Grange provides seniors with the best of both worlds – the exceptional care they require, and the inspiring lifestyle they deserve.