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When Should I be Looking at Senior Care Communities?

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By: Kathy Kappler

When should I start looking for assisted living, retirement homes and senior care communities in general?”

It’s a question we all must ask ourselves, otherwise, our children will do it for us.

In all seriousness though, it is important to look down the road and determine for yourself what your future care needs may be. If you have bad knees, a history of sports injuries, or even hereditary conditions, then consider what you might need help with in the future because – worst case scenario – you may not be able to communicate what you need when you actually need care.

The thing is, most people struggle to bring up senior care communities when they need it, so if you bring it up before you need to, then it doesn’t feel degrading, but more like a precaution; a roadmap for what to do in the future.

It’s Never Too Early to Look at Senior Care Communities

Currently, I’m working with a woman who does more in a week than most teenagers. Here’s a snapshot of her current weekly routine:

  • Attends Curves three times a week
    • When she’s not in Curves, she goes out on (at LEAST) a mile walk every day
  • Plays Bridge every Friday
  • Consistently attends the Red Hat Ladies functions

She is not disabled; she does not suffer from any mental condition. She’s an 87-year-old woman who is simply planning ahead and that’s great! Assisted living offers a wide range of senior care, so even if you don’t need help with the activities of daily living or someone to help you get from place to place, it’s important to look at your options so you can find a good fit before you absolutely need it.

Plus, as you might’ve read in Mary’s previous blog, The Quiet Crisis, experts in the field are discovering that fewer and fewer people are pursuing a career as caregiver. In addition, many senior care communities have a yearlong waiting list (in Washington alone). That’s not meant to scare you, just provide some perspective that it’s never too early to look for senior care communities.

Talk About Elder Care Before You NEED To

At Concierge Care Advisors, we’ve helped hundreds of families get the quality elder care they deserve, but it is always heartbreaking when we learn of a family’s situation where they’re panicked and stressed because they only have a few days to find the proper placement for their senior. They put their lives on hold to make sure their loved one is taken care of, but many don’t even know where to start since it’s not simply finding a home – as you might do with realty.

Finding the right senior care communities goes far beyond location, since you need to find out what kind of care they need, the staff to resident ratio, what the security is like, etcetera, etcetera.

For this reason, it’s important to have a discussion about elder care and not just with our care advisors who know the industry, but it’s vital to talk with your family members about senior housing too.

Believe me, it’s a far different conversation when you have three days to decide what senior community to move to and when you have three years. The latter conversation is inherently light-hearted because it’s not an impending or dire situation.

You don’t need to know the ins and outs of the industry – that’s what we’re here for – just be sure to plan ahead. It’s never too early to start looking either and as you can clearly see (above), my current client is in excellent shape. She puts most of us to shame and it just goes to show, you don’t need to be in need of senior care to start looking.

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