Q: How do I go about choosing a senior living community for my Dad?

A: Choosing a senior living community for your loved one is an important decision that requires careful consideration. Make no mistake: to find the best fit there are many factors to consider.

Specific needs: Consider your senior’s physical health, cognitive abilities and mobility. The level of assistance needed corresponds to specific community types, such as independent living, assisted living, or memory care.

Location: Is the community close to family and friends? Their doctors? What about other places important to your loved one?

Visit in person: Visit multiple communities to get a sense of atmosphere, staff and overall environment. Interact with residents and staff.  How are the residents treated? Do they seem happy and engaged in activities? Is everything (and everyone) clean?

Services and amenities: What is offered? Dining options, recreational activities, fitness facilities, transportation services and housekeeping are common amenities. Can the community provide the support and activities needed to enhance your loved one’s quality of life?

Care and staff qualifications: Confirm the level of care provided and staff qualifications. What is the staff-to-resident ratio? Are there staff training programs? A well-trained and compassionate staff is crucial for ensuring the well-being and safety of your loved one.

Social and recreational activities: Look for a community that offers activities compatible with your loved one’s interests and abilities. Engaging activities promote mental stimulation, social interaction and a sense of purpose –all important for a higher quality of life.

Safety and security: Safety is a top priority. What measures are in place? Are there emergency response systems and 24/7 security? Are medical professionals on site? What are the protocols for handling emergencies and medical situations?

Reviews and recommendations: Read reviews and seek recommendations from friends, family, and healthcare professionals with knowledge of the local senior living scene. All can help you make an informed decision.

Affordability: At the end of the day, the cost of the community has to fit the budget. Ensure you have a clear understanding of ALL the fees and expenses involved: accommodation, care services and any additional charges. Consider all financial resources, including long-term care insurance, assets and savings.

Trust your instincts: What is the overall “feel” of the community? Don’t underestimate your intuition in assessing whether a particular senior living community is the right fit for your loved one.

For additional help with this decision, download the free Senior Living Options Guide at or call 321-751-6771 in Viera.

One Senior Place is a marketplace for resources and provider of information, advice, care and on-site services for seniors and their families. Questions for this column are answered by professionals in nursing, social work, care management and in-home care. Send questions to, call 321-751-6771 or visit One Senior Place, The Experts in Aging.

Lisa Conway is a Registered Nurse and a Certified Care Manager for Senior Partner Care Services, Viera.