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?
- 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?
- 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?
- 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.