What should you be looking for in a retirement community?
By Madison Rodgers
Retirement communities are becoming more and more advanced. Between independent living, assisted living and the memory care unit there seems to be an option for everyone.
“Independent living is for the individuals who want privacy,” says Kristy Osting, senior business development specialist at StoryPoint in Troy. “In assisted living we help with things like the administration of medications.”
Many independent living options offer services and amenities that include transportation, a flexible meal plan, a weekly maid service, an emergency call system, 24-hour security and social activities. Many retirement communities also offer different support groups for those that want to participate.
Recently, seniors are looking specifically for independence, while still having the subtle support that they need to be comfortable in their day-to-day lives.
“Seniors are looking for the independence they want with the safety and security they need,” says Ana V. Paner-Johnson, executive director at One Lincoln Park located in Kettering. “Family members want the peace of mind knowing that their family member will be cared for in a safe, secure environment and that there is 24/7 help available should their family member need assistance if they fall or feel ill.”
Retirement communities have recently designed special units for those that are struggling with specific diseases that cause memory impairments. Memory care is a special unit designed for patients that need one-on-one assistance. This unit is primarily focused on individuals that suffer from dementia or Alzheimer’s.
“In the memory care unit nurses are specially trained to assist these specific individuals,” says Osting.
Memory care units often use specialized programming that ensures the success of their residents. The staff is trained to overcome challenges that may be associated with memory impairments.
Many residents often want to get out of their retirement community from time to time. Transportation is becoming an important amenity that retirement communities are providing.
“Transportation has become a main focus for many families,” says Paner-Johnson. “Many seniors feel a sense of isolation and crave interaction outside their home so it’s important to have the ability to get where they need to go should they not wish to drive a personal car any longer.”
Many retirement communities offer chauffeured and valet services. The flexibility of the driving staff is often what people look for when they are contemplating retirement homes. Many have multiple cars and drivers to take you to your destination, or they can have your car to the front door for those who still enjoy using their personal vehicle.
Another important factor when deciding on a retirement home is the surrounding community.
“StoryPoint locations are mainly located in the Midwest,” says Osting. “Troy has so much to offer.”
Paner-Johnson says, “One Lincoln Park is a retirement community located in Kettering’s beautiful Lincoln Park area.” She also notes that a community’s reputation is important to look at when searching for a retirement community.
As more people are looking to place their loved ones into retirement communities there are specific questions to ask.
“A question to ask is ‘How far will my money go?’” says Osting. Although retirement communities offer a lot of resources they also can be expensive for families.
Even if you are just preparing for the future, retirement communities often want to provide information that will help you make the right decision for your family.
“We pride ourselves in education and resources,” says Osting. “We are able to give back to the community.”
“The community’s reputation [is something to look at,]” says Paner-Johnson. “Families should check online reviews as they represent actual experiences of residents and family members.”