If you've been recruited to help a friend or family member find top retirement living in Austin's best neighborhoods, these tips are everything you need to do the job justice.
Spend time interviewing your friend or family member before you start the search. Knowing what matters most to them, why they're interested in senior living, and their non-negotiables will help you review each community from their perspective. Questions to ask include:
The only way to evaluate dining options in advance is to enjoy them yourself. Schedule your site visit during meal time and come hungry; most communities offer the opportunity for guests to purchase a la carte items, and some offer a free meal for those considering the community for themselves or a friend or family member. You can also better evaluate meal options by reviewing the menu, visiting with current residents, and learning more about dining hours and after-hours options.
Ask to take a look at the activities calendar to find out how much of Austin's culture residents have the opportunity to take in - and which activities they can participate in when they choose to stay inside for the evening. To get an even better feel for the culture and environment, stop by the common areas to observe or participate in an activity of your choice.
As soon as you're done touring, you'll want to share everything you learned with the person considering senior living options. Because retirement communities are so vastly different from one another - and offer such an array of amenities and services - it's nearly impossible to remember everything without good notes. So take great notes, and take as many materials with you when you leave as possible (brochures, estimates, etc.).
Since you interviewed your friend or family member in advance, you know exactly what they’re looking for in a community. Who better to share whether a neighborhood checks all the boxes than the people who live there? Stop and visit with a few friendly residents to answer your loved one's questions. Questions to ask include:
During your tour and time with staff, find out what happens if your loved one's needs change after they move in and what happens if they are ever unable to pay their rent. While these questions can be tough to ask - and tough to think about - it's important to know ahead of time how much notice is given and what other options are offered in challenging situations like these.
If you ask one community about dining options and ask the other community about security, utilities, amenities, and services, you'll come up short of information that your loved one needs in order to make an educated decision. Writing down your questions in advance can help you get the most important information from each community and then compare apples to apples at the end of the day.
While floor plans are helpful, it's common for prospective community members to identify strengths and weaknesses in the walk-through that they may not have considered from the floor plans alone. Take time to walk through each potential unit to find one that best meets the needs of your friend or family member.