Editor’s Note: This post was originally published in November 2018 and has been updated for accuracy and comprehensiveness.
As you grow older, you may find that living independently begins to present challenges. You’re not cooking as much as you used to, chores like laundry are becoming a bit of a burden, and you might notice that your memory isn’t as sharp as it once was. No matter how young you feel (and act!), living on your own might not be reasonable anymore. It may be time to get some help, and an assisted living community might be the right place to get it. But as you look into your options, what assisted living services and amenities do you need?
Must-Have Assisted Living Services and Amenities
A Place to Call Home
No matter the situation, downsizing and moving is not an easy process. It’s an emotional process, and many seniors are uncomfortable with the idea of moving into an assisted living facility because it feels like giving up their independence.
You want to feel confident that you’ll be moving into a community where you still have your own place to call home. You want your own private, independent space—a space that you’re free to decorate as you wish, one where you can freely come and go to as you wish. It might require some more support than your current living situation, but it should still feel like the space is yours!
Cooking may not be as simple as it used to be, but that doesn’t mean you’re ready to compromise on the quality of your food. You want high-quality, nutritious food that tastes good! Is that so much to ask?
Not at all! Assisted living services and amenities must include a place to eat—and you don’t want to settle for boring, low-quality food. You want an assisted living community that offers a fine dining experience every day. But what if you’re not ready to give up cooking just yet? Many assisted living apartments come with a small kitchen, which offers you a choice: on days when you feel like cooking, great! On days where you just want someone else to cook for you, you’ll have the option of a healthy, delicious meal.
Many of us here at Briarwood share a passion for cooking. While prepping delicious lunches and dinners can be relaxing and provides a sense of satisfaction, sometimes you don’t feel like cooking. So why settle for quick and bland when you can enjoy one meal a day that is prepared by our chefs who have backgrounds in a variety of ethnic cuisines? Not only does it feel like a relief to have a homecooked meal cooked for you, but eating something heart-healthy is the icing on the cake (not literally).
Call a few of your neighbors and head down to the dining room for a meal. It’s not only a great way to get a delicious meal that you don’t have to prepare, but you can meet new people, catch up with friends, or play cards while you dine.
Retirement should be a time for relaxation, hobbies, and spending time with friends and family, not worrying about bills. Retirement communities can get expensive with a lot of added fees, which is why we try to include everything you will need into one package.
At Briarwood, we take care of all your utilities, so you don’t have to worry about them. The only utilities that are not covered are phone and cable TV. But when you’re at a retirement community with endless activities and so many friendly residents, you may use your phone and TV less than you think!
House cleaning can be a burdensome task, and besides–who really wants to do it anyway? Residents should be able to spend their time doing things that they actually enjoy. This is why it’s important for assisted living facilities to provide options for housekeeping, whether that may be on a weekly or annual basis. Weekly services may include laundry and vacuuming, while annual services may include window washing, grime removal, and carpet cleaning for our assisted living residents
Whether you are no longer able to keep up with weekly housekeeping, or simply don’t want to, the ideal assisted living facility should provide you with options.
Building and Grounds Maintenance
Similar to housekeeping services, building and grounds maintenance for residents is also key. Our team ensures that you are able to enjoy a beautiful landscape without the work! Mowing the lawn, mulching, and even planting flowers throughout the grounds are just a few of many tasks residents can expect from the staff. The real blessing, though, is that you will never have to shovel snow or salt a walkway ever again. While taking care of things outside of your home is important, building maintenance can’t be forgotten. A great assisted living facility is ready to tackle any problem that arises inside a resident’s home, whether it’s a small malfunction or a broken appliance.
A Sense of Community
Moving into an assisted living facility is often a serious decision, but keep in mind that you’re moving into a community. You’ll be living with people of a similar age who have experienced some of the same struggles that you’re experiencing now.
A great assisted living community will give you the chance to spend time and bond with your peers. You’ll have the opportunity to form friendships, whether you’re sitting with friends in the dining room or dancing with them during specialized classes!
Be sure to ask any prospective assisted living facility about opportunities to socialize and engage with your community. Are there daily events or classes that you can take advantage of? What about holiday parties or special events? When you move into a facility that strives for a strong sense of community, you’ll have no problem feeling right at home.
Although, every so often you may simply want to get some fresh air or run some errands. Just keep an eye on our calendar for free transportation to local areas like grocery stores, shops, or events that are going on around Worcester.
Moving into an assisted living community means different things for different people. Your needs may not be the same as your next-door neighbor’s needs, and you need to find an assisted living community that understands that.
What support do you actually need? Medication reminders, help dressing, or maintenance services might come to mind. Above all else, you need an assisted living facility that will work with you to understand what types of supports you will need and to implement a personalized support plan.
Memory loss is one of the hardest realities to face about growing older, whether your memory just isn’t what it used to be, or you’re beginning to notice that it’s becoming a big problem. For many seniors, it’s difficult to admit that memory support is needed at all because it is such an emotional issue.
While it’s difficult to face the fact that you may need assistance with this, we would encourage you to consider memory support as you search for the right assisted living services and amenities. Ask prospective assisted living homes whether they provide memory support. Is there staff in the building trained to help with memory or dementia-related problems if they continue to develop? Are there apartments prepared with extra safety features to keep you safe if you were to get confused?
You might not need an extensive memory support program right now, but it’s good to understand the options that are open to you before you make the move to an assisted living community. If the time does come where you’ll need additional memory support, you’ll be better off if you’re already living in a facility that’s prepared to support you with dignity.
Caring, Supportive Staff
Moving into an assisted living community is a big transition, and many seniors feel vulnerable when the time comes. You need to know that you’re moving into a facility where you will be supported, valued, and cared for—and the facility’s staff are a vital part of feeling comfortable there.
Are the staff well-trained? Are they compassionate and understanding of your individual needs? This is one area where there’s no option for a compromise; you want the best care you can get, and that comes from staff who understand and care about you and your needs.
Finding Your Ideal Assisted Living Community
There are a lot of factors to consider when searching for an assisted living community with all of the services and amenities you need. After all, this isn’t a small decision, and you want to choose a facility that will truly feel like home.
If you’re considering moving into an assisted living community, schedule your free Briarwood tour. We’d love to talk to you about the assisted living services and amenities we offer, as well as to treat you to a free meal in our dining room!