Aging in Style with Lori Williams
Aging in Style with Lori Williams

Episode · 2 months ago

062. Answer these 8 questions to decide which senior housing is right for you


If you or a loved one are looking into senior living, where do you begin?

First, it’s important to know what senior living is. When you think of senior living, you may be thinking of a nursing home. However, there are many different types, from independent living to memory care, and it’s important to think of what best suits your needs. Maybe you just need socialization and meals included. Or, maybe you need a higher level of care with bathing, dressing, or medications.

No matter where you’d like to go, there are multiple considerations for finding your ideal community. Drawing from her experience running a senior living placement service, Lori Williams outlines 8 questions to ask as you consider this life change for yourself or a loved one.

Takeaways from this episode:

-Independent living includes everything under one price, from activities and housekeeping to transportation and meals.

-Residential care homes are smaller communities with higher levels of care, typically for those with some degree of dementia or physical needs.

-If your prospective home offers meals, be sure to come in at lunchtime to try out the food and get an idea of the atmosphere.

-Feel free to ask caregiver questions like the ratio of caregivers to residents, their training and their tenure.

-Senior placement services are free and can help walk you through considerations to find the best place for your needs.

Resources mentioned in this episode:

Senior Housing 101:

Top 5 Misconceptions about Senior Living:

Tips on Touring Senior Communities:

Topics discussed:

- Senior living

- Senior communities

- Senior living meals

- Independent living

- Memory care

- Assisted living

- Residential care

- Senior placement service

To suggest a topic, be a guest or to support the podcast please email

For more senior resources and to sign up to the newsletter please visit:

It doesn't matter if you are sevenyears old or seventy seven years old. It can be intimidating to walk intoa dining room for the first time and not know who you're going to sitwith. Is someone going to be mean? You know, it's just it's thatkind of awkward feeling and we all have that, no matter how oldwe are. So a lot of the communities have what they call ambassador programsor buddy programs, and these are residents who live there who have volunteered tobe a buddy to someone new who's moved in and a lot of times they'llgo to their apartment, greet them, bring them down with them to thedining room the first few times help them sort of learn their way around thecommunity. Welcome to aging in style with me, Larie Williams. I'm anoptimist by nature and I believe you can follow your dreams at any age.My grandmother's journey with dementia ignited a passion in me to work with seniors.I've spent the past thirteen years learning about...

...seniors and aging. In my midS, I followed my own dream and found in my company, where Iuse my expertise to help seniors locate housing and resources. On this podcast wecover all aspects of aging. Joanna's each week to meet senior living experts andinspirational seniors who are following their dreams. The fact is, we're all aging, so why not do it in style? Hi, welcome to another episode ofaging and style with Larie Williams. When you hear the term senior living, what's the first thought that POPs in your mind? Do you picture innursing home or do you picture something else? Well, a lot of people stillpicture in nursing home. So that is what we're going to talk abouttoday. We are going to talk about senior living and the eight questions toask yourself to figure out what type of senior living is going to be rightfor yourself or for your family member. So I own a placement service andwhat we do is we help families figure...

...out what type of care, ifKara, is needed, or what type of senior living is going to bestfit their needs. And when I do that, I go through these eightdifferent questions and it's all part of the process of educating the family on what'savailable, what is out there beyond the nursing home and I'm going to takeyou through that today because I think it is so important and if you area regular listener of the podcast, you know that we've covered in depth thedifferent types of senior living. But if you haven't listened, that's fine.We're going to catch you up on this and then you can go back andlisten to all those other episodes so you can get a little more detail.But let's start off with these eight questions to go through when the topic ofsenior living is come up. So number one, location. That's going tobe the first thing you're going to think about when you're saying to yourself,you know, either I'm tired of living in my house and I just youknow, I want to downsize, or...

I want to move closer to family. Let's figure out what we want to do. If you are the adultchildren and this is for your parents, maybe it's time they need assistant livingor memory care. Maybe they're not able to make that decision by themselves,then you're going to make it. Are you in state? Do you wantthem near you? Do you live out of state? Do you want tomove them closer to you? Do you have three siblings and you all arespread out across the country. Who makes more sense? Like to have themnear so there's a lot of factors that come into play there. But firstyou really need to figure out what location are we looking to move them to? Second is going to be lifestyle. So you've lived in your own homebut you're tired of the upkeep of the house right maybe you're tired of cooking. You want to meet more people, you want to socialize. So you'relooking more independent living. So you've kind of figured that out. This iswhat I what I want for myself. I want to be an independent living. So now we know the location,...

...the area you want to be in, and we know the type of senior living that we're going to be pursuing. Or maybe this is for your mom. Your mom has dementia and maybe shejust wandered out of the house and we're kind of a nine, oneone situation now. Well, we're going to be looking for a secure memorycare or maybe a residential care home. And we have covered all the differenttypes of senior living before, as I said, but just kind of recapreal quick. We have senior apartments, which are either you have to befifty five or sixty two to move into fifty five up, sixty two up. They're all a little bit different and that's just like you know what itsounds like. It's an apartment for seniors. Second on the list we have theindependent living, or we call the crueer ship on land, you mightwant to go back and listen to that episode if you haven't, and that'swhere you have meals included, activities, housekeeping, transportation, everything is justincluded in one price. The next level...

...up would be assistant living, wherethere's some care needs that are needed, maybe help with bathing, dressing,going from their bed to a chair to wheelchair, maybe some dementia. Thenwe have the memory care, which is the secure memory care for someone whomay be starting to wander or having some behavior issues. And then lastly wehave residential care homes, which is a smaller type of community that can doa higher level of care. Most people in a residential care home either havesome degree of demand Shaw or they have some serious physical needs that they needa lot of help. So those are the different types of lifestyle options orcare. So again, we're going to figure out location, then we're goingto figure out what lifestyle options or care needs are. needed. Third,we're going to look at activities, and when I'm talking to a family Ilike to get a good feel for for what they're like, what they enjoydoing. So if I'm talking to someone...

...who they're trying to find a placefor their mom or Dad, I like to find out about them. Whatdo they like to do? Are they social or they a little more reclusive? Do they like Gardening, Book Club, Exercise, Card Games, Bingo?What kind of things do they like? Let's take a look at the activitycalendar. Whenever you visit a community, they all will have an activity calendarthat you can look at. You can see on there you know whatis scheduled each day of the week, if there's an excursion, if there'syou know, whatever there may be. I've had people who will actually takean activity calendar and then just highlight all the things that they want to do. So it just depends. People are different. So you know, ifyou if you're looking for something, you're super social and you want lots ofactivities, that's probably be a little more important to you, but I dothink it's important to take a look at that activity calendar when you're visiting communities. Fourth, on the list meals. What are you looking for? Right? Do you want no meals at all?...

You're still cooking great. So seniorapartment maybe your way to go. You don't want to you know youdon't want the meals. You want to be able to do kind of yourown thing, then that maybe the best choice for you. But maybe youwant meals. So we're going to look at independent, assistant memory care.All of those are going to include anywhere from two to three meals a daythese communities. You may be thinking, Oh Gosh's is gonna be like hospitalfood, and the answer to that would be no, these are really good. I've had some of the best meals ever and senior communities, a lotof them, have chefs. What I recommend to families is to always trya meal. Go at lunch time. That's probably the biggest meal of theday for most communities. It's a great way to not only try out thefood, but also to see the other seniors who live there, the otherresidents, so you kind of have a feel for the community. FIV,we're going to look at caregiver staff. So if we're looking more at assistantliving, memory care or a care home,...

...we're going to have caregivers there andit's all right for you to ask these questions. Ask about how they'retrained, ask about the ratio of caregiver to resident, ask about the tenyear of the staff. Have they been here five years? Have they juststart it? What's going on? You can ask those questions. Six,family involvement. Does the community and courage family involvement? If that's important toyou, then you're going to want a community that allows or encourages family involvement. I worked in an independent living community and they very much embrace this andyou know, we did activities with the grandkids could come visit. We hadbounce houses, we would do picnic kind of events. We even had anice cream contest one year where we had three judges and we had different peoplemade ice cream and they got judged. You know, whoever won, withdifferent winners for the different ice creams. Okay, I did enter an icecream. It was I think it was.

It was big red ice cream andI did not win, but it was very tasty. I will saythat it was good, but I didn't win, but it was just sucha fun event and we had families involved and you know, as a staffmember, I was able to bring my children, who were elementary school atthe time, up there and be involved and it's just it's nice. Ifyou want more of a family involvement type environment, then ask those questions toseventh on the list is budget, and budget is going to be huge andwe've talked about this on past podcast but if you haven't listened to those,these type of communities are not covered by Medicare or medicate. They are privatepay only, and what private pay means as social security, savings, pension, sale of a house. Those are how we pay for these types ofcommunities. When you ask that question, you know how are they pain tolive there? That's how if we're looking more at like some assistant care,like assistant living, memory care and a... home, we may be ableto look at Long Term Care Insurance and also a VA benefits if they're aveteran. So there's some things that come into play. There are some placesthat may take a form of Medicaid, but that's a whole different ball gamethan what we're just in general, looking at today. And then the eighththing that we look at, the eighth question that we go through is whatis the move in process look like, and it looks the same in mostcommunities. You're going to fill out the paperwork, you're going to sign thecontract, you're going to if it's assistant living or in some type of communitythat it's going to be providing some care. They're going to need orders from thedoctor because of course they need to know what medications the person is onand what they've been diagnosed with, all those types of things. They haveto know to be able to care for them that. But you need toask is what do they do when they're welcoming? Like I know some communitiesthat literally roll out a red carpet and the staff is standing there as theymove in, as they walk, they...

...walk into the door. But mosthave some kind of a process for bringing someone new into the community. Andyou know, it doesn't matter if you are seven years old or seventy,seven, eleven years old, it can be intimidating to walk into a diningroom for the first time and not know who you're going to sit with.Is someone going to be mean? You know, it's just it's that kindof awkward feeling and we all have that, no matter how old we are.So a lot of the communities have what they called ambassador programs or buddyprograms, and these are residents who live there who have volunteered to be abuddy to someone new who's moved in and a lot of times they'll go totheir apartment, greet them, bring them down with them to the dining roomthe first few times help them sort of learn their way around the community.A lot of times the activities directors will line things up and it depends onyour on you and on your family member.

So like if your mom is super, super shy and you're afraid that she may not come out to events, then that's something you'd want to communicate with to the staff so that theywill make arrangements to make sure she's maybe coming out with a personal invitation.Maybe the activities person would go and get her and remind her till she kindof gets into a routine. So those are the things to ask about inthe move in process, what that's going to look like and how they helpto adapt to the new community. So hope that helps. So these,like I said, let me just kind of recap the eight tips. Sowhen you're thinking about senior living, we're going to look at first location we'regoing to look at lifestyle options or care activities. Check out that activity calendar. Meals. What does that look like for you, for your lifestyle oryour family members lifestyle? Do we want no meals or do we want threemeals, or somewhere in between? Caregiver Staff, family involvement? Budget?And then what is the move in process...

...look like? Again, this iswhat we do every day and the senior placement service. So if you needassistance, we're always happy to help you with that. It's completely free service. Okay, and remember, if you want to learn more about everything wejust talked about, we have done a deep dive throughout the podcast on allof these topics. So you can always go back through and and listen forsome more in depth knowledge on the different types of senior communities, on activities, on budget, all of that. We have all kinds of great informationfor you. Can also please visit my website. We have lots of resourcesthere, as well as links to all the different podcast episodes, and mywebsite is Lari Williams senior Servicescom. Thank you so much for listening to thePODCAST. Please share it with your friends and family members and we'll see younext week by Bye.

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