The Path to Finding Senior Housing
“I knew we needed to move,” she confided in me, “but I just wasn’t ready, and then things seemed to happen so quickly.” This is quite a confession since just a few weeks ago she and her husband of fifty-plus years (whom we’ll call Billy and we’ll call her Sally) had boarded a plane one day in Pennsylvania bound for Colorado. That night Billy and Sally ended up sleeping in a new independent living apartment in Denver.
They had successfully navigated “a very difficult transition,” as they called it, finding senior housing in a lovely community, putting all the pieces together of a move of this magnitude, so that by the end of the weekend, while eating dinner at the community’s bistro, they announced to each other, “They are playing our songs.” How can others like Billy and Sally make this kind of successful transition?
The three keys with which we find success in finding senior housing that is a perfect match are planning, the right resources sequenced in the right order, and the right people. Let’s unpack their journey to provide you with some ideas and tips so you or your loved ones can be better equipped.
Most of us will remember as children the refrain “Ready or not, here I come.” Usually, that was fun as a child, but as seniors, more often than not we aren’t ready for this change when it comes. Finding senior housing often gets delayed. We aren’t ready because we don’t know where to start; we feel isolated or don’t have the support we need. Unfortunately, as a result, too many of us do nothing until some sort of “event” forces a change. Making matters worse, because of the nature of these “events,” our stalling means the finding senior housing will now be even harder.
At Senior Placement of Denver it’s not always about crossing the goal line; sometimes our coaching is just about helping people find the next right step. Billy and Sally were very fortunate to have family waiting to help, willing to nudge at times and provide guidance with certain decisions.
Margaret Thatcher, the famous former British prime minister, once said, “Plan the work and then work the plan.” Yes, it really is that easy, because the plan takes you through the process all the way to the other side. When the decision is made to make a transition into new senior living arrangements, it means finding senior housing that is your match in the right community.
The marketing people in communities are exceptional at knowing how their community is set apart, what it specifically offers that you, you and your spouse, or your loved ones really need to be successful with the change. Billy and Sally’s family were very lucky and found an exceptional marketing person who also knew his community wasn’t a perfect match for everyone.
The Right Resources
Tom, the marketing associate for Billy and Sally, was exceptional because he knew both his community’s strengths and limitations and is continually looking for the right match for people. Tom decided, rather than trying to make his community fit, that they should call Senior Placement of Denver, where a representative could explain the broader landscape of different communities, what each community offers, and how that stacks up with clients’ broader needs.
Step one then is to find an expert in multiple communities, someone who knows the leaders of communities, their differences, the areas each community excels at, and can help you weed out, based on your unique set of criteria, which communities aren’t a good fit and focus your search for the right fit. When Billy and Sally’s family asked me to help identify communities for their parents who lived across the country, we began with lots of questions.
We also opened the conversation with a question-and-answer meeting with Billy and Sally. What surfaced was their religious faith, how close they wanted to be to local family, Sally’s desire for lots of light and views to take advantage of Colorado’s 300 sunny days a year, the right monthly cost, flexibility with health care for either Billy or Sally in the event of any declines in health over time, and the overall feel of the community. Urban and upscale or natural settings with opportunities to be outdoors, a resort or homey feel, and food, activities, and amenities were just a few of their considerations.
The Right People
After looking and reviewing several communities and selecting the right one, Senior Placement of Denver was also able to locate people in Denver and across the country to aid the family in moving, home sale, legal estate documents, changing of physicians and insurance, to name just a few of the areas their family needed help with. This is all part of the plan with Senior Placement of Denver. We work regularly with these resource partners and many others; our goal is to avoid surprises and help families broaden their trusted resources with the unique items they need assistance with.
Billy and Sally also had the right support of family. Sally shared with me the moment of their great reveal: “When we walked in the door to our new apartment, it was beautifully set up for us with many of our belongings that were familiar to us.” That was made possible because Billy and Sally’s daughter and son-in-law helped with planning, packing, unloading, moving in, and setting everything up. Having the right people around you means both your personal support network and the right professional help, all there to make this transition smooth as possible.
Change like this is always significant, but now the discussion can shift to making new friends in their community, community activities, and meeting the executive chef this week, all while also being engaged with family dinners, grandchildren visits, views from their apartment. As we checked out those views and left our conversation that day Sally commented “Billy loves marching bands.” Billy and I discussed his high school half back days and the anticipation of watching fall high school football games and listening to marching bands playing, perhaps just playing their songs again. We felt so good to be a part of Billy’s and Sally’s path to the perfect match in finding senior housing.
For more information on how Senior Placement of Denver can help you and your family members find the right community for their needs, contact us at (720) 665-9948. We would love to come alongside and help you navigate a successful transition.