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April 12, 2012

Finding That Something Extra

My mother, an octogenarian, is the best example I know of an active, fulfilled senior citizen. She still works as a therapist, seeing clients at her home office. She visits my father at his memory-care facility every day. She loves music. And she enjoys keeping up with the issues of the day, with friends, with family.

She also is a satisfied resident of a retirement community.

I know I’ve shared details of Mom’s transition from our family home to her new life as a resident of a senior care community.  It wasn’t a quick move, and we began discussing the idea with Mom years before she made the decision to relocate. But here’s something I haven’t mentioned: My mother’s successful move owes a lot to the research and pre-planning we did before selecting a community.  With Mom’s active participation, we picked the right place for her.

Not all facilities are created equal, but even a good, well-run community may not be right for your loved one.  At Care.com, I’ve had many, many conversations with seniors and their adult children. Those families who happily make the transition to a nursing home or retirement community have a few things in common.  First, they involve their parent or grandparent in the decision to move and in the selection of a community. Second, they look for a community that meets all their loved one’s needs and provide something extra. Maybe the community has a strong creative arts program, maybe there’s an active group of tournament bridge players, and maybe the public areas include a well-priced salon or a hall with a rotating schedule of concerts. The point is, the “something extra” can make the difference between residents who are well-cared for and residents who are happy. Finally, make sure the community you pick has room for mementos, favorite furnishings and a beloved pet.

I’d love to hear from families who have a senior member living happily in a nursing home or retirement community. What extras made the transition appealing? What services or amenities made the facility seem like home? Send me a message to share.

And if you’re in the midst of selecting a community and need advice, you can always call one of Care.com’s senior care advisors at 855-490-8654.

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