Now Hiring Caregivers - Learn More

What Should I Look For When Choosing a Senior Living Community?

people looking at laptops

We love to partner with local referral partners and other businesses in our community. Please take a few minutes to read this blog from our friends at Senior Living Experts and learn how each of our services can overlap and benefit you and your loved ones.

Each senior living community is different. There are several senior living options all over Chicagoland, so it may be overwhelming when you are choosing the best fit for your loved one. There are a few key things that you should pay attention to before making the final decision. It is our responsibility at Senior Living Experts to help you with this process, so we have answered some questions for you.

Since you may need more care as you age, we recommend that you ask questions about your future. Some communities offer care along a continuum, whereas others do not. Make sure you are aware of your next steps prior to moving into a senior living community.

Independent Living

Independent Living is maintenance-free living, and it allows a senior to be independent while also having “A La Carte” care services available, such as dog walking, cooking, and cleaning. When looking at independent living for your loved one, there are a few questions you should be asking prior to choosing this type of care.

What meals will be provided?

Independent living will provide 1-2 meals a day, however, it is important for you to see what time the meals are, what kind of meals they offer, and if they tend to any allergies, or special diets, you may have.

What activities are provided?

There are a variety of activities that are provided at an independent living community. If you are interested in certain hobbies or activities, you should determine if they have those things that you would like to participate in.

Is this the best financial option compared to Assisted Living?

As mentioned above, Independent Living offers “A La Carte” services, so a resident has the opportunity to pick and choose what care and support they need. Once this person has used a certain amount of these services, they may consider moving to Assisted Living because it will be the better financial option for them. So, assess how much care your loved one needs, and determine if Independent Living is the best option for them.

Assisted Living and Supportive Living

Assisted Living is a type of care that offers 24-hour nursing, along with personal care such as bathing, grooming, and dressing. These residents live in a residential apartment and many services such as the barber shop, cafes, and libraries are at their fingertips.

Supportive Living is basically Assisted Living, but the main difference is that Supportive Living is subsidized by the State. Once assets have been spent down, a resident can then be covered by Medicaid.

Are there transportation services?

Most Assisted Living communities have buses that will take you to your destinations, whether that is to a doctor’s appointment, pharmacy, or grocery store. Make sure you know the bus schedule and how the sign up process works.

What services are included in my monthly fee?

It will be a benefit to you to be aware of what you are paying for. This will help you determine the overall cost of your new home. Typically, in Assisted Living, three meals a day, housekeeping, transportation, outings, activities, and utilities except phone are all included.

What are the nursing hours?

It is important to understand how the care works at an Assisted Living community because you might be receiving care currently, or in the near future. It is helpful to know how the staff are trained, the staff-to-resident ratio, and if they regularly check your vital signs.

Memory Care

Memory Care units involve a more specialized form of care geared towards individuals who have some type of cognitive decline. These units are similar to assisted living, but are more secured in case a resident were to wander.

What are the safety precautions?

Because memory care residents may wander, the unit must be safe and secure with locks on doors, codes on elevators, and emergency alert systems. Make sure their safety precautions make you feel safe, so you can trust the staff on their safety process.

What memory-enhancing activities and events are offered?

Staff are trained to take care of Memory Care residents appropriately, while also planning fun events and activities that will stimulate and engage them throughout the day. It is still just as important for seniors to socialize, and participate in fun activities to make sure they are happy and healthy. Determine what kinds of things your loved one will be doing while in the Memory Care unit. Socialization is key to keeping the anxiety that often accompanies memory loss at bay.

How are the staff trained?

Memory Care residents will show much different behaviors compared to those who reside in Assisted Living, so the staff must be trained accordingly to be able to react to those situations. It will be beneficial to know how the staff are trained, so that you can build trusting relationships with them, and know that your loved one is in the perfect location.

In-Home Care

In-Home Care is a type of care that allows you to stay inside your home, with your caregiver coming to give you the care that you need. They can help with cooking, transportation, housekeeping, and more.

How are caregivers trained?

Since the caregiver will be spending a lot of time in your home, it is important to understand how they are trained, if they are friendly and positive, and how they are monitored. Once you get a feel for the home care company of your interest, then you can determine if the caregiver will be perfect for you.

What is the process if I do not like my caregiver?

It would be helpful to understand the process of changing caregivers just in case this situation were to occur. However, many In-Home Care agencies make sure their caregivers are a good fit in personality.

One other important question that you should ask about all of these types of care is the cost breakdown. Depending on your needs and location, the cost of senior living will differ. Choose a community that aligns best with your financial situation so you can feel happy in your new home.

Senior Living Experts is always willing to help you with the senior living process. If you have any questions, please call 773-231-7212 or visit

Related Posts
  • What Types of Food Help With Memory?
  • The Many Benefits of Respite Care
  • 12 Days of Volunteering- Day 12
Ready to Speak with an Expert?
Homewatch CareGivers is Here to Help.
Contact Us Today!