Whether you’re an ace on the computer, or just getting used to one, researching senior living online can convenient and productive—and surprisingly easy. Especially if you narrow your search criteria in advance. Here are some suggestions on what to know before you put your fingers on the keyboard and begin the journey.
Researching Senior Living Online: How to Be Efficient
Understand there are different levels of care
You may already be familiar with the various lifestyle and care options available in senior living, such as independent living, assisted living, skilled nursing, memory care, and rehabilitation. If not, it’s good to be aware that these distinctions exist, and take the time to read about each as much as you can.
You can make this part of your online search, or you can read newspaper and magazine articles, do some research in the library, or talk to people you know who have some experience with the subject.
Decide what you are looking for
Researching senior living can feel like a monumental task, until you break it down a bit. Start by thinking about what you want in a community. A range of floor plan options? Proximity to lots of dining, entertainment, and shopping opportunities? An atmosphere of active, engaged residents who inspire you to ramp up your overall fitness and wellness?
In addition, give some thought to the level of care you are looking for, even if you presently enjoy independent living. Do you want a community that has multiple levels of care, so that your future needs will be addressed without having to move to another community? At St. Mark Village, you have a plan that offers seamless access to future care options, something both you and your family can appreciate.
Download our free guide, Choosing the Right Senior Living Community!
Learn which communities are available in your area
Again, as you are researching senior living online, you can specifically look for communities in your area. But you can also get a feel for this before you turn on the computer. Ask your physician for recommendations, or your family attorney or financial advisor. You might have friends or family members who recommend a local community. Having some information before you really delve into your search can save you a lot of time.
Consider the range of funding sources
Review your budget prior to researching senior living online. This could include looking at your savings, investments, and insurance. It also could mean finding out if you are eligible for Veterans benefits, such as the Veterans Aid & Attendance benefit, which can pay for certain types of senior living for those who qualify. Meeting with a financial advisor or elder law attorney can provide valuable insight into what you can afford.
Spend time on each senior living community’s website
Eureka! You’ve landed on a website for a senior living community. Take a breath and take your time: you don’t want to rush this.
Check out all the items on the home page and pay attention to how they position themselves: as friendly and casual? Elegant and formal? Great location? Then be sure to go to each section and read about the management and leadership, the lifestyle options, services and amenities, floor plans and anything else you can find. Read their news and events to see what is going on and if possible, download a calendar of events and brochure. Look at the gallery of photos. If there are frequently asked questions, check those out and any other resources they list.
Overall, how does it feel? Keep notes on each website you visit. Don’t forget to see if there’s a video of the community, or testimonials from residents or family members.
Be as social as you can be
As you continue researching senior living online, don’t forget about social media. Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram are worth viewing as they can give additional insight into the personality of the community, and a peak at what goes on there day by day. Follow them regularly and you’ll most likely get a true glimpse into what life is like there.
Read the news and reviews
Don’t forget to do a general search of a community, simply by typing in its name to see what comes up. There might be a news story about the management, or a special event. You also will most likely find some review websites.
Here’s where you will want to exercise some caution—sometimes the only comments you will see are negative. Before you draw a conclusion, compare those to feedback you get from current residents and family members, as well as from your own impressions if you visit the community. You might even ask the community to comment on their reviews, to get the full story.
Going online to get information about possible senior living options need not be difficult or stressful. In fact, it can be fun—you might just find a way to live the good life and retire without worry, like the residents of St. Mark Village! We invite you to learn more.