Find Your Retirement Community!

85980008Searching for a retirement community can sometimes remind you of the children’s story about Goldilocks and the three bears. While you search, you may find some communities that are too big and some that are too small until you ultimately find the one that feels just right.

When you look for a community, you want to make sure to take the time to find the one that offers a lifestyle that truly matches your expectations. It’s more than just the size or location of the community that matters. Putting in the work during the search process will ensure that you find a new home that meets all of your needs.

Bill Pettit  croppedBill Pettit has led Merrill Gardens since the family company purchased its first retirement community in 1993. He knows how challenging the search for the right home can be for seniors and their adult children.

“We recommend that you tour at least three different communities to get a good sense of how you would enjoy living there,” says Pettit. “Ask lots of questions and talk to the current residents about their experiences. It’s a big decision and it’s important to get all the information you need to make the right choice.”

The following list of touring tips will help you focus your search.
Were you greeted promptly by front desk staff and offered assistance?
• As you tour the building, observe staff and resident interactions. Is the staff patient and kind? Were you greeted by residents and staff as you toured?
• Did you observe residents socializing with each other and/or attending activities? Ask residents about their community experiences.
• Was there an activity calendar posted or is there one in the tour packet? If so, do any of the planned activities meet your or your family member’s needs?
• Is the building clean and odor free?
• Are the hallways, doorways and common areas conducive for safe walking?
• Take the time to have a meal. Is the service friendly and attentive? Are the dining hours and food choices flexible? Did the staff meet your food handling expectations?
• Meet the General Manager and other key staff. How many staff members are scheduled throughout the day? Check on evening availability and a system for obtaining assistance 24-hours a day.
• Ask about staff training and credentials. Is there a licensed nurse on staff? If so, how many hours per day or per week is the nurse in the building?
• Is the most recent state survey available for review?
• Does the community feel like a place you could call home?

Pettit also urges families to begin the process of looking for a community before there is an urgent need.

“Often we will see families who are in a panic situation because they need to make a decision in a hurry. That is not the ideal way to find the community that will be right for you. It is much less stressful to take the time you need, before there is an issue that could lead you to make a rash decision,” says Pettit.
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Using this list as your guide, you will be able to narrow down your search and focus on what is most important. And hopefully find, just like Goldilocks did, what is just right for you!

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