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Determining Your Senior Living Needs and WantsNow that you’ve decided to move, determining your senior living needs and wants is the next step in finding the right community for you or your loved one. It’s essential to do this before researching communities because senior living now offers so many features it can quickly become overwhelming if you don’t have your priorities set. Here’s how to get started.

Consider Your Senior Living Needs

Usually, it’s a specific need or needs – health concerns, challenges with personal care or medication management, falling concerns, concerns about emotional and social wellbeing – that prompt a move to senior living. While it could be any number of reasons, by honestly assessing your current situation at home (or that of your loved one), you’ll be able to more easily prioritize what you need in senior living.





Health issues or concerns 


Mobility challenges


Cognitive challenges


Challenges with or concerns about performing daily activities independently


Challenges with or concerns about maintaining the house and/or yard 


Challenges with or concerns about proper nutrition and/or preparing meals independently


Challenges with or concerns about medication management


Transportation challenges and/or driving concerns


Safety issues in the home (lack of accessibility, falling hazards, etc.)


Concerns over lack of social opportunities


Not enough opportunities to pursue hobbies or learn new things



What You Want in Senior Living

Once you’ve prioritized your needs you can determine which type of senior living – independent living, assisted living, memory care – is the best fit for you or your loved one. From there, you can narrow down the communities in your preferred location. Next comes the fun stuff; what you want to get out of your experience in senior living. Again, the options are endless, so we recommend categorizing your wants as non-negotiable or nice-to-have. Keep in mind that basics like meals, housekeeping, maintenance, group transportation, and activities will typically already be included in the monthly fee. We’ve identified some of the most popular options in senior living to give you a starting point.







Private accommodations


Washer/dryer in apartment


Full kitchen


Balcony or patio


Extra bedroom






Concierge services


Outdoor spaces/walking paths


Offsite outings



Range of enrichment opportunities


Beauty salon (or barbershop)




Common areas to host family/friends


Full social calendar of events/activities






Personal wellness plans


24-hour onsite staff


Onsite registered nursing team


Onsite rehabilitation


Can accommodate special diets


Fitness center/classes








Emergency call technology


Keypad entry/exit


Secure environment (memory care)





Senior Living Needs and Wants Combined

With your senior living needs and wants identified, it should be much easier to find the right community for yourself or your loved one. You’ll likely be researching online initially which is a great option as senior living community websites offer a tremendous amount of information from what features they offer to image galleries to activity calendars and even virtual tours for most. However, websites can’t tell you everything so to truly get a sense of the experience in specific communities we also recommend following their social media, checking online review sites, and, perhaps best of all, checking with those who have firsthand experiences such as friends, neighbors, colleagues, those in the industry like your doctor or financial planner as well as current residents and their families if possible.

For more information to help with your senior living decision, download our Family Decision Toolkit. Or contact us today to schedule a tour.

Click here to download our Family Decision guide

Written by All American