Thought Leadership

The right time to think about a senior living community



A senior community? Oh, I don’t need that – yet.

Most people feel this way when they initially consider senior living communities. Thinking about living choices as older adults often gets put off due to inaccurate assumptions. The stereotype of the old nursing home is truly outdated. Don’t believe us? Check out our Facebook page for a glimpse of residents living life to the fullest.

Another obstacle might be thoughts about the overwhelming task of downsizing from the family home and sorting through decades of accumulation, especially the older we get. Making major life changes is not easy.

Why should I consider senior living now?

Because the worst time to make this important decision is when you must, due to a crisis. When a crisis happens, most families do not know what to do and may make consequential mistakes. Those mistakes can be financially and emotionally costly, taking a huge toll on the individuals and family involved. A compulsory move can often be filled with regrets.

Even if a move is not imminent, it is smart planning to think about housing options sooner rather than later to discover the many living options for older adults. This gives you the time and capacity to choose freely and to start organizing. Considering your choices for living in retirement means having a plan and sharing your wishes and expectations with your family.

What if my life changes?

Think about what would be a “trigger” event that would prompt you to consider improving the quality and safety of your life by moving to a senior community. Trigger events are not necessarily crises, but significant changes that open the door to options and choices. Some trigger events happen suddenly, some we expect to happen, and some happen gradually. A trigger event may include:

  • You’re living in an “empty nest.”
  • You don’t want to do home repairs, housecleaning, lawn care or snow removal.
  • You would prefer to do less cooking.
  • Your neighborhood has changed, and your friends are no longer nearby.
  • Your health changes, requiring safety adaptations in your living space.
  • Your spouse dies and you don’t want to live alone.
  • You reduce or stop driving.
  • Your extended family members move away or are not available to offer daily support.
  • You’re concerned about inflation and rising housing loan interest rates that might “cool” the housing market.

How do I start?

Deciding if and when you might move to a senior living community takes considerable research and thought. A senior living community should be a place that works for you today, but also will be suitable in the future. Contact the housing counselors at Presbyterian Homes & Services (PHS) communities. They are good resources as you envision your life and assess your support needs.

Explore senior living communities in the location where you’d like to live. Most older adults choose to stay close to home, where they are familiar with local services, shopping and churches. Whatever your criteria, you can begin to research and compare the various housing options. Above all, plan to visit any of the more than 50 PHS communities in person.

What will I learn?

You’ll learn that there are many living options to choose from, and that honoring your freedom to choose is vitally important to us. Senior living communities offer an array amenities and services that can enrich your life including restaurant-style dining, as well as a specialty café, arts and crafts studio, library, pool, fitness center, theater, computer center, beauty salon and barber shops, banking and health care services. Our senior living communities differ in many ways — from their location and setting to their residents and social environment.

Among the living options offered are:

Independent Living
A private apartment, townhome or brownstone row-style home provides versatility and freedom in a maintenance-free environment. Housekeeping may be available. Restaurant-style dining services may also be available on a meal plan option or pay-as-you-go. Affordable and/or subsidized housing may be available for seniors who qualify.

Assisted Living
An apartment or suite for an older adult who needs additional support for daily living. This option provides assistance with such activities as getting dressed, personal hygiene, medications, transportation, meals and housekeeping in an engaging environment with regular social, recreational activities.

Memory Care
An apartment or suite in a secure neighborhood within an assisted living or long-term care setting. Trained care staff and programming create a community designed to help those with memory loss to function at their highest level. Encouraging independence and providing a sense of purpose, enjoyment and success are our guiding principles.

Long Term Care
Private and semi-private suites with 24-hour nursing care and supportive services. Care centers are often designed in “household” environments where residents determine their daily schedules, activities and dining preferences. Whether long-term or short-term transitional care is needed, a care center offers a full array of personal, dietary, therapeutic, social and recreational services.

Home and Community Services
Valuable support is available that can help you maintain independence wherever you call home. These include but are not limited to in-home health and personal care, therapies, home-delivered meals and hospice. Optage®, the home and community based services division of PHS, can help you remain in your home, Or, if you choose to live in senior independent housing you can access these services as an alternative to higher care housing and services.

What is the nonprofit, faith-based difference?

You’ll also learn that a faith-based, non-profit community differs from a for-profit provider in significant ways. For-profit providers are accountable first to shareholders, and revenues earned over expenses are distributed as dividends. PHS is a non-profit provider driven by our mission rather than profit. We reinvest revenues into the organization for the benefit of residents. As a faith-based organization, PHS understands our service as ministry and offers spiritual care programs and staff. PHS welcomes older adults of all faith backgrounds as well as those who may have no religious practice.

Whatever may be your preferences, the best time to consider, envision and make decisions about your living situation is sooner rather than later. After spending years to plan financially for retirement, why ignore or put off other important life needs, especially where and how you will live? Your decisions today will shape the kind of life you have tomorrow.

Contact us to learn more about the freedom to live well at a PHS community.



Get news, stories and updates weekly on PHS communities, residents and employees, plus resourceful information on living well!

More stories