Making the decision that your senior loved one needs to move to assisted living is a big step. No amount of viewing photos, floor plans or reviews can substitute for a visit in-person to a community. Visiting the senior housing you are most interested in can give you important insights into the lifestyle and comforts offered there.
Senior communities have much to offer your elderly loved ones, but it is a change they may resist. It can be a big transition for you as well. Plan a couple of day trips to take some senior community tours and invite your parents to come along. The winter holiday season is one of the best times to visit a local senior housing facility.
Here are five reasons why:
The winter holidays can add inviting warmth to a senior community. With the colorful holiday decorations and twinkling lights, staff and residents alike may be in good spirits. The holiday cheer in senior living communities can be infectious.1 This may ease some of the anxiety you or your loved one may feel about their transition to assisted living. Observe the cleanliness and notice how attentive and kind the staff are to residents.
The holidays are a perfect time to take some senior community tours along with your elderly parents. Many adult children visit their loved ones for a longer time during the holidays.2 The presence of more people can allow you to blend in and see whether the community is family-friendly and welcoming. Observe and see for yourselves whether it feels like a pleasant and comfortable place to live.
If there is an opportunity to have a family lunch or dinner while in the community, do so. You can sample the quality of food served there and observe how mealtime is handled. Sit at a table with some of the residents and ask how they enjoy living there.
Your parents might like to join in on some of the activities that senior communities offer during the holidays. Ask if there is a tree lighting or a holiday musical performance you can all enjoy. Maybe there are some holiday craft classes or a festive social you can attend.
For example, Sunrise Senior Living at River Road in Tucson, Arizona decorates early and celebrates the holiday season right up until the New Year. Shelley Harris is the Director of Sales at Sunrise. She says, “We do a tree lighting during the first week where we invite all of the family members, residents and team members, then the Executive Director lights the tree and places the angel on top.”
“We also light the Menorah on the first day of Hanukkah, and do a nightly prayer and lighting,” Harris says. “Then, on New Year’s Eve, we host a Masquerade open house and toast the New Year together. Families, friends, professionals and residents are all a part of this fun evening featuring board games, champagne, hors d’oeuvres and sparkling cider.”
Imagine how much your loved one would enjoy some activities like this at a community in their local area. Attending an event or activity gives you a chance to see how the residents interact with each other and how the staff handles a larger group of residents.
Since the holiday season can be a cheery time, people are often more friendly. Your parents may even meet some new people that they would like to get to know better. New friendships can make the idea of moving to a new place seem more inviting. Seeing the family atmosphere that comes with the festivities can also help.
Touring senior living communities during the holiday season is a good way to break the ice. It may help it feel less scary to them. Fear of the unknown can bring the greatest hesitation when making a change.3 If your parents have visited during a cheerful holiday event, they will already be somewhat familiar with the community. That can help them feel more eager to make the move.
Once you have narrowed down your list by doing enough research and have taken a couple of tours, you will feel better prepared to choose a community.4 Allow your loved one to participate in the decision as well. For example, many communities offer incentives to new residents who move in during the month of December. They may offer a period of discounted rent, a rent freeze or other cost cuts.
If you are interested in setting up a tour at a senior community, call us at 866-333-2174. We’ll connect you with a Senior Living Advisor who can help you find communities that fit your needs. Our advisors can make the arrangements for senior community tours, so you and your loved ones can just enjoy the pleasant holiday day trips.
1Szlauderbach, D. (2020, June 6). Human-Centered Design in Alzheimer’s Care Facilities. Retrieved from https://www.aplaceformom.com/caregiver-resources/articles/designing-alzheimers-facilities.
2Top Myths of Senior Assisted Living. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://www.aplaceformom.com/planning-and-advice/articles/senior-assisted-living.
3Choosing Assisted Living. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://www.aplaceformom.com/planning-and-advice/articles/choosing-assisted-living.