Maria Sonnenberg – Special to FLORIDA TODAY

In a perfect world, we would age independently in place. But there is no perfect world, unfortunately.

“Everyone likes the idea of living at home the rest of their lives, but our changing health and care needs means that may not always be possible,” said Eden Cook, director of One Senior Place, which is hosting a special event that explores different housing opportunities for older residents.

“Senior Living Options Day: a Taste of Senior Living,” runs from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Friday, Feb. 10, at the Center for Collaboration at Space Coast Health Foundation, 1100 Rockledge Blvd.(U.S.1), Rockledge.

During the free event, One Senior Place will provide complimentary copies of the “Senior Living Options Resource Guide” to help attendees consider and assess the many types of housing scenarios available for themselves or their loved ones.

“Senior living is the biggest category of need when people come to us for help,” Cook said. “The senior living industry is moving so fast that most people aren’t aware of the range of options available to them. It’s not your parents’ assisted living anymore.”

Dr. Rosemary Laird, chief medical officer of My Memory Clinic, has treated patients with living arrangements negatively impacting their quality of life.

“Our physical surroundings and the people we interact wit day to day are really important,” she said. “During the pandemic, we’ve learned just how important social support is for adults. When we don’t have that comfort and security, we often fall into depression and become less physically active.

“That can be the beginning of a downward spiral leading to more and more frailty and poor quality of life. Doing all you can to find a comfortable and secure location with people who car about your needs can make a big difference in overall well-being.”

For caregivers, choosing the “right” housing for their loved ones can be one of the most important — and stressful — of decisions, decisions that often have to be made quickly.

“It can be challenging to factor in their health, their preferences and financial resources, and family logistics along with facility type and availability.” Laird said. “Making this individualized assessment is critical because it is definitely oot one size fits all. Some seniors need more help with physical activities, while others need supervision or hands-on care support.

“A facility may look like a good fit, but if the services that come along don’t match your loved one’s need, it is not a good fit. A professional who understands this and knows the available facilities in your area can be a great help.”

Waiting until the last minute to make a decision puts the individuals at a disadvantage. Cook notes that many clients who approach One Senior Place for help have reached that critical stage.

“They are overwhelmed,” she said. “Things that were once simple, like managing the house and paying bills, are suddenly anxiety-producing, as are memory issues, safety issues, nutrition and personal care issues, isolation and loneliness.”

During “Senior Living Options Day,” representatives from more than a dozen senior communities will be on hand to answer questions about their specific properties.

To add a fun angle to a serious subject, the event also includes giveaways, door prizes and a tasting of a broad selection of appetizers and desserts prepared by chefs from participating senior communities. The food is yummy, but it also serves as an additional purpose.

“Food is a very important piece of the decision-making process,” Cook added.

If you go

What: One Senior Place’s “Senior Living Options Day”

When: 11 a.m. to 1 p.m., Friday, Feb. 10(registration begins at 10:30 a.m.)

Where: Center for Collaboration at Space Coast Health Foundation, 1100 Rockledge Blvd. (U.S. 1), Rockledge

Admission: Free, but RSVP required online at or by calling 321-751-6771

Participating senior communities

  • Palm Cottages Assisted Living & Memory Care (presenting sponsor)
  • Sonata Viera
  • Sonata East at Viera
  • Alura Senior Living
  • The Brennity of Melbourne
  • Buena Vida Estates, CCRC
  • Autumn House
  • Chateau Madeleine Senior Living
  • Discovery Village at Melbourne
  • The Fountains of Melbourne
  • Inspiritas of West Melbourne
  • Melbourne Terrace Rehabilitation Center
  • Viera Health and Rehabilitation Center
  • Market Street at Viera
  • Serenades Memory Care
  • Victoria Landing Assisted Living & Memory Care
  • Shell Harbor Retirement Community

Other event participants

  • Senior Partner Care Services
  • ClinCloud Research
  • National Cremation
  • Rhodes Law, PA
  • Viera Insurance Professionals
  • VITAS Healthcare
  • Personal Hearing Solutions
  • Florida Health Care Plans