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5 IMPORTANT QUALITIES OF INDEPENDENT LIVING

Independent living communities for seniors should be active, vibrant centers for residents and visitors.  Staying active and socially engaged is very important for all of us in maintaining a healthy lifestyle.   When searching for an independent living community, the following are a few important things to evaluate.

1. Activities and Entertainment

  • Are the activities scheduled throughout the week, including weekends?
  • Are activities and entertainment age appropriate – geared toward senior, active adults?
  • Is an Activity Calendar provided to each resident and family member?  Are calendars posted in the community as well?
  • Is there a full-time Activities/Lifestyle Director in the community?
  • Are fitness classes, education/information sessions, cards and board games, puzzles and brain games, musical entertainment, craft classes, current movies, and social hours routinely scheduled?

2. Fitness

  • Is the fitness class instructor certified for senior exercise (Silver Sneakers, Senior Zumba, etc.)?
  • Are classes for variable fitness levels scheduled?
  • Is music a part of fitness classes?
  • Are exercise balls, hand weights, stretch bands or other equipment available?
  • Are fun fitness activities and games also scheduled?

3. Security

  • Is there 24/7 staff available onsite?
  • Are doors/entrances secured and do residents and family members have after hours access?
  • Does the community utilize the latest technology in fire and safety systems?

4. Socialization

  • Are the Dining Room or Food Service areas active with residents engaged in conversations and connecting with other residents, staff, and visitors?
  • Are there other conversation and activity areas open to residents to enjoy any time?

5. Meals and Nutrition

  • During meal times, is the Dining Room filled with residents?
  • Do residents receive a pre-planned menu on a weekly basis?
  • Does the menu have a varied selection of entrees, including vegetarian choices?
  • Are there healthy entrée options for each meal?
  • Is there an option to have a specific item individually prepared by Food Service?
  • Are there options for food, snacks, and drinks available to residents on a 24/7 basis?
  • Is the Executive Chef or Food Service Manager available to talk with residents, families and visitors?

Editor’s Note: Article submitted by Debbie Williams, Community Management Team, Emerald Oaks Retirement Community, in north San Antonio.  For more information, visit www.emeraldoaksretirement.com or call 210-960-9039. 

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