Tips & Education

Finding the Right Senior Living Community for You

October 24th, 2022

Seniors enjoy lemonade and a beautiful waterfront view

Planning ahead ensures you have the best options

Choosing the right place and time to move into a senior living community requires forethought and planning. With decades of experience helping seniors thrive in their retirement years, Julie Raymond Chalk, MSSA, LMSW, emphasizes that having a plan and knowing what you want provides more options and is worthwhile, even before a person wants or needs to move from their own home.

Specific things to look for in your future home

When considering where you will live for the rest of your life, take these important factors into consideration:

  • Look for a Life Plan Community that will allow you to age in place rather than move to a different place if your needs increase.
  • Take another person with you when you tour a potential senior living community. An additional set of eyes and ears will make you aware of things you may not even consider. After your tour, listen to their impressions and discuss yours with them.
  • Take additional tours of other potential retirement communities so you can compare them and come back to the ones you like most at various times of the day and evening to see what the atmosphere is like even when they are not expecting visitors.
  • Make sure you see what every part of the senior living community looks like including the condition of the rooms, dining room, common areas, and nurses’ station. Is it up-to-date and well-lit? Is it a pleasant atmosphere? Does it smell good?
  • Take a good look at the people who live there. Are they sitting in wheelchairs or walking around and engaged in life? Do they look cared for or neglected? Are they in street clothes or pajamas or gowns? Are they clean?
  • Make sure it has a pleasant homelike atmosphere and is not like a hospital.
  • Watch how the staff interacts with residents. Are they kind and patient, do they give them choices? Are there enough staff to meet their needs?
  • Ask residents how they like living there. What would they like to change about the place?
  • Eat a meal (or two) in the dining room. Do you like the food that is served? Is it healthy and well-cooked? Are there options for meals? Will they accommodate your dietary needs?
  • Realize that just because a place is new, doesn’t mean it’s good. Sometimes people get the best care in older, established facilities because the administration puts its money into the care and programming for the residents.

Which senior living community is right for you?

With so many choices these days, along with touring a variety of senior living communities, be mindful of what is most important to you. And, if possible, ask people who live in the communities you are considering about their experience living there.

The first step in finding the best senior living community for you is to take an inventory of your lifestyle and preferences. Ask yourself the following questions to get started:

  • What is my worldview and how important is it for me to live with others who share it? If you have strong political or religious beliefs, you most likely want to live in a senior community with people who share your values or, at the very least, show respect for those who differ from them.
  • What do I love about my current home’s location? If you live by the water or have always wanted to, you may want to join a community like Crista Shores in Silverdale, Washington for sweeping views of Dyes Inlet and access to water activities. If you want to continue to step outside your door and be surrounded by nature, you probably want to choose a Senior Living Apartment like those in CRISTA Senior Living in Shoreline which is located on a 55-acre wooded campus.
  • What is my décor style, and will I be able to continue enjoying it? If décor matters to you, be sure to move into a community that allows you the autonomy to decorate your own apartment and where common areas are clean, bright, and pleasant.
  • How important is it for me to be close to my family and friends? For many, easy access to children and grandchildren is essential. For others, continuing to attend the same church and other group activities are vital. If that’s true for you, be sure to choose a place to live your retirement years that makes it convenient for family and friends to visit you and for you to continue to attend events regularly.
  • Do I have special dietary needs to be accommodated? If you are gluten-free, vegan, or have other allergies to food, be sure the place you choose will accommodate these needs. And, even if you don’t have special restrictions, research the quality of food and eat at the prospective senior community several times to make sure it provides a dining experience you will enjoy.

A personal account of finding an ideal Senior Community

Long before Beth and Bob Fuhriman moved into CRISTA Senior Living, they knew they would choose it when the time came for them to leave their house because family members had lived there and been well taken care of, and CRISTA provided the Christian environment they desired.

Beth is glad she and Bob moved into Cristwood Park in Shoreline, Washington when they were still healthy and strong. Soon after moving in, Bob fell and broke his hip, which was something neither could have predicted. That, coupled with COVID restrictions, would have made it extremely difficult to provide the care he needed and find support had they still been living in their own house.

“We were so glad that we had made the move already. The needs we had were met here,” Fuhriman said. When Bob didn’t recover well and passed away within a year, Beth already had a support system in place and was able to join a resident-led Grief Support Group in her new community.

“The friendships I’ve made at Cristwood Park and the freedom to bear one another’s burdens is wonderful. I think about my neighbors up and down my hall—when we have a need we go to each other and ask for prayer,” Fuhriman said. “We learn from each other as we each share our faith journey. Cristwood Park exceeded my expectations. I had no idea the fun people had while living here. When you move in with energy and ideas, it’s a wonderful place to be.”

There is a place that is right for everyone

Finding the right senior living community doesn’t have to be overwhelming. Keep in mind that you will have the most choices when you plan ahead and are able to spend time on a waiting list for the place you like the most. Planning now gives you options, whether you end up choosing one of them or not.

CRISTA Senior Living would love to help you choose the best option for your retirement years. Contact us today!

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What People Are Saying …

I would like to commend Cristwood Park staff on their efforts to protect themselves and their residents from COVID. It’s been a concern of ours since last March and we have been relieved to see so few cases in the Cristwood Park community. I would like to thank the staff and leadership for their diligence in maintaining good protocols throughout this pandemic.

CWP Family Member

CRISTA has been a warm, friendly atmosphere to be a part of these past two years. It encourages friendships that encourage a pleasant living environment.

Marty Victor, CWP

Exceptional personalized holistic care. Helps keep Mom’s mind active and she flourishes with the nurturing care. Especially of value currently given the COVID restrictions. We are genuinely pleased with our mom's care.

Resident's Daughter, Memory Care

Thinking back on all the great care you and your team have given her at CRISTA, we thank you for all that. I am sure it made a difference in the quality of her life.

I appreciate the personal relationship I have with the staff and the good communication they give me.

I am so stunned by all the amazing people who live at CRISTA. The depth of their stories, their experiences are so powerful. They are fascinating and I learn something new every day! Such a wealth of intellect, experiences, and fun loving people. I love living here.

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