What You Should Ask On A Community Tour

Nowadays, senior living communities come in all shapes and sizes, designed to accommodate a variety of styles, budgets, and long-term care needs. Deciding which one is right for you or your loved one can be overwhelming, particularly in Florida, which offers a huge selection of active adult, independent living, assisted living, and memory care facilities.

Retirement has a different meaning now than 20 or even 10 years ago. The idea of “resting” in retirement has been replaced with the concept of healthy aging. Many seniors today view retirement as a “second act,” or a time to trade a life of responsibility for a carefree lifestyle filled with new meaning and purpose.

The List: What You Should Ask On a Community Tour

Questions About Retirement Living in Florida

Retirement living in Florida can be whatever you want it to be, and there is no shortage of choices. If you’re considering a move to a senior living community, you’ll need to narrow down your options. The best way to build a short list is to visit and tour a few top-rated senior communities in your area. To help, we’ve compiled some important questions to ask on a senior living community tour.

What are the admission guidelines?

Most age-restricted independent and assisted living communities require residents be 65 years of age or older. Sometimes seniors younger than 65 can be admitted, but age requirements will vary by community. Assisted living communities in Florida require a wellness assessment and forms such as a Form 1823, so be sure this is on your list of questions to ask.

What floor plans are available?

It’s always a good idea to tour a variety of floor plans in each community to find out what size apartment is going to work best for you. Most senior living communities offer studio and one-bedroom apartment options. Some communities, including Sonata East at Viera and Sonata Lake Mary, offer two-bedroom floor plan options.

What kind of event and activities are offered?

As you tour senior living communities, request an activities calendar to get a sense of the kind of activities offered. One of the key benefits of moving to a senior living communities are the built-in activities and events! In fact, senior living communities give older adults many more opportunities to participate in events than would normally be available to them. From painting and dancing to educational seminars and games, many seniors thrive on picking up new hobbies later in life or reigniting old passions.

What does your wellness program consist of?

Many senior living communities today go beyond games and activities to incorporate aspects of healthy aging, including wellness programs that nurture the body, mind, and spirit. At Sonata Senior Living, our signature wellness program nurtures the seven dimensions of wellness as identified by the International Council on Active Aging: emotional, intellectual, physical, vocational, social, spiritual, and environmental.

Is the community staffed 24 hours a day?

Because safety is a priority in senior living, many communities, including Sonata Senior Living, have 24-hour on-premise staffing and secure entrances and exits. At Sonata, a full-time concierge is also available to assist residents with questions and requests.

What safety features are offered?

There is nothing more important to senior living communities than ensuring the safety of their residents.Most communities incorporate standard safety features such as handrails, grab bars, zero-threshold showers, and emergency call systems in senior apartments. Some communities take it a step further. For example, Sonata Senior Living’s Sonata Safesmsignature program is our pledge to accommodate whatever operational and technical safeguards are necessary to care for older adults.

Do you have hurricane preparedness plans?

Because hurricanes can strike Florida with very little warning,hurricane preparedness should be on the top of your list of questions. Ask the community what their hurricane preparedness plan consists of and if they have backup generators on site. At Sonata, are always prepared for whatever surprise Mother Nature throws our way to ensure the comfort and safety of residents and staff.

How is technology used in the community?

From electronic health records to the latest in AI solutions, many communities are incorporating technology into the design of new communities. Find out how the community uses data and technology to enhance the retirement experience.

Is health care provided at the community?

Many independent living and assisted living communities offer continuing care on site so you will not have to move again if your health care needs change. Ask about the levels of care on your community tour to make sure your individual needs will be met.

Are medical services provided at the community?

Assisted living communities provide support with activities of daily living, but may also provide residents access to visiting physicians, therapists, and other medical services. Some communities will even offer home care if the medical needs of residents become too advanced for assisted living health aides. Every community is different, so choose one that will meet your needs.

What kind of training do you provide caregivers?

In Florida, state statutes specify some level of training for personal care aides working in assisted living and memory care communities. However, some communities such as Serenades Memory Care by Sonata exceed the minimum state requirements to ensure the highest level of care for their residents. It’s always a good idea to ask what level of training the caregivers receive at the senior care community.

What kind of contract or lease is required to move in?

There are several different types of contracts available in senior living communities and they will vary based on the type of community. For example, an entrance-free, or “CCRC” senior community requires a large, upfront sum to move in while a rental community may require a small community fee. When you are touring, be sure to ask for a sample residency agreement or lease and review the various ways you can pay for senior living.

What are the monthly fees to live here?

Very few people will forget to ask about costs when touring a senior care community, but some may forget to ask about cost increases. Senior communities with continuing care options on site will often have fees associated with the various levels of care, so always ask for a pricing guide or rate schedule. Keep in mind, when you take all the costs of home ownership into consideration, renting a senior living apartment may be more affordable than you think.

What does the monthly service fee cover?

A monthly service fee is designed to make life easy at a senior living community. For example, at Sonata Senior Living, the monthly service fee covers just about everything: interior and exterior maintenance of your home; landscaping; parking; meals; weekly housekeeping and linen service; activities and amenities; and 24-hour security.

Are meals included in the rent?

As we age, nutrition plays a vital role in quality of life, physical, and mental health. Meal plans and dining services will vary from community to community, so be sure to clarify how many meals are included in your residency agreement. At Sonata, in addition to a long list of services and amenities, the monthly service fee provides for two healthy and delicious meals each day. Sonata Senior Living communities also feature a variety of dining venues for residents to choose from, including a formal dining room with restaurant-style service and a bar and bistro.

Are menus reviewed by a nutritionist?

Older adults may have nutritional challenges, so senior nutrition is often an important consideration when choosing a senior living community in Florida. Ask questions about how menus are created and if heart-healthy, low-fat, and low-sugar options are included. Even better, ask if you can stay for lunch and test out the chef’s skills.

What are the benefits of living here?

Many independent living and assisted living communities provide a robust lifestyle enriched by activities, social events, fitness classes, educational and cultural opportunities, outings, and more, but asking the right questions will help you decide which community is best for you.

From continuing care to socialization opportunities to nutrition and longevity, there are many benefits to Florida assisted living. As we age,it becomes harder to meet new people. Contact with others becomes more limited due to life changes like leaving the workforce. Senior living provides abundant opportunities to meet new people and make new friends, which many agree, makes life more enjoyable.

Who owns the community?

When touring communities, ask about the experience level of the owners and management company. At Sonata Senior Living, we’ve spent 15 years caring for older adults in Florida and are committed to the people we serve in the state we call home.

What are the steps for moving in?

In general, it is not difficult to move to a senior living community once you’ve made the decision to move! Some communities offer move-in assistance or help with selling your home. While on your community tours, ask for copies of required paperwork so you can review them at home. Sonata makes it convenient to move to a community in three easy steps.

Ask the right questions on a tour to help you choose the best retirement community for you and your family! Visit Sonata Senior Living’s Frequently Asked Questions page for more information about senior living at Sonata.

Learn about the advantages of independent living, assisted living, and memory care and
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