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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, 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’s senior care advisors at 855-490-8654.


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