Baltimore Senior Living Communities: What to Look for When Exploring Options
Senior living communities are popular options for adults who don’t want to worry about owning a home or the associated maintenance. The right community can provide the amenities and services you need to live a more fulfilling lifestyle, with time for the activities and people that are most important to you. But choosing a community can be difficult.
What type of community will work for you? There are many options, and not all will have the services or living arrangements you need – now or in the future. Baltimore senior living communities are especially difficult to evaluate because there are so many options in the metro area. This article will break down the major factors you should consider when evaluating communities for yourself or a relative so you can make the best possible decision for your lifestyle.
5 Factors to Consider when Evaluating Communities in Baltimore
1. What Type of Support Services You Need
The first step in making this choice is to identify the type of community you want – or need – to live in. Retirement communities and senior apartments provide different support services depending on the type of community. In general, there are four types of communities that provide different levels of support:
- Independent living
- Assisted living
- Skilled Nursing
- Memory Care
Your motivation might be health-related or lifestyle-related, so it’s important to identify mandatory requirements first. Then factor in important preferences that add to quality of life, followed by preferences that, while appreciated, aren’t necessary to have.
Baltimore has many communities you can choose from in each category, creating hundreds of choices. However, you can narrow your choices by selecting the best service level for your needs. For example, if you prefer assisted living, Baltimore has just over 70 assisted living communities, narrowing your options considerably. Below is a brief description of each type of community and the support level it provides.
This type of retirement community is ideal for those who maintain an active lifestyle with little to no assistance required. Residents are able to handle personal care and medications by themselves, as well as running their own households, but in a much more social environment. Group activities and community amenities help maintain vital social ties.
If your family member needs help with a few daily tasks it may be time to transition to assisted living. An assisted living community offers separate apartments, suites or shared rooms, all with access to a skilled team that can help with everything from bathing to prescription tracking to meal preparation. There is access to all amenities at the community with the added knowledge that assistance is always on hand.
Skilled nursing gives adults access to licensed medical care in a community setting. In addition to help with daily activities, skilled nursing often helps adults with wound care, rehabilitation and other specialized health needs.
Memory care is a separate service for people experiencing forms of dementia like Alzheimer’s disease. Memory care programs are tailored to the individual, but they typically include enriching activities and events that build on your abilities and help you maintain wellness and security.
Tip: Consider the Climate When You Evaluate Support Services
In addition to general support needs, you may want to consider climate and other factors when evaluating services. Many adults who retire in Baltimore seek communities with winter services to help them handle snow or heavy rains, for instance.
Since Baltimore averages more than a foot of snow per year and plenty of rain, many adults prefer communities that include snow removal and transportation services so they don’t have to do physical chores or drive in storms.
2. What’s Included in the Cost
Value for money is another factor to consider. What services come with the monthly cost? If there are a variety of services that mention “additional costs may apply,” you’ll want to ask for a price breakdown. Although additional costs are common, you should factor them into your finances before making a final decision. Here are the most common services included in the cost of Baltimore senior living communities:
- Daily personal assistance
- Laundry services
- Fitness and health programs
- Social and cultural events
- Security and health monitoring
- Emergency call services
- Daily meals
Tip: Review Your Budget for Short- and Long-Term Viability
With the help of a trusted financial advisor, look over current monthly bills to see how they’d change with different senior living options. You’ll also want to review savings and any costs for homeowners’ insurance, mortgages and other household bills.
When reviewing finances consider the cost of senior living versus homeownership in both the short- and long-term. In many cases, short-term evaluations show owning a home to be the most cost-effective option, but when factoring in long-term maintenance, outside support costs and upgrades, senior living is often a more economical solution.
3. What Ratings the Community Receives
Searching for information on local communities online may help you find information on whether the community has experienced any violations or deficiencies during inspections. If your research turns up issues, ask the community about them during your visit and see how the representatives respond. Communities that actively seek to improve and resolve issues are often a good choice, while those that skirt the issue may not be good options.
4. What Amenities the Community Offers
Apart from personal care assistance, quality of life also includes the different amenities and activities available at the community.
For instance, the best communities want residents to be active and engaged, so they create monthly activity calendars with scheduled events that residents will enjoy. Most programs and events address physical, intellectual, social and spiritual needs. Spiritual activities may include religious services, while social events could feature group excursions to local parks, plays or movies. Activities may occur daily or once or twice a month, but the more activities there are, the more opportunities residents have to stay active.
Many communities also offer other amenities including
- Activity and craft rooms
- Beauty salons and barber shops
- Community dining rooms
Tip: Assess Amenities Based on Interests
Not everyone has the same preferences in activities or amenities. Consider the amenities in each community based on you or your family member’s interests. If reading is a passion, an on-site library may be a must-have, while a swimming pool is less important.
5. How Close You’ll Be to Outside Services and Family
If there is a frequent need for medical or doctor visits in and around Baltimore, consider transportation and travel time. What transportation services are available? While many communities offer scheduled trips to shopping centers, not all offer highly flexible transportation for medical purposes. You may need to arrange for outside service.
This is an especially important consideration for anyone with more specialized medical needs. Individuals that need dialysis will likely need a community near a hospital that can handle dialysis and takes their insurance, for instance.
The same consideration is true to be close to family or friends who live in the area. If relatives are in the Park Heights neighborhood, living in a community in that area would make visits easier.
Consider Tudor Heights
There are a lot of factors that go into selecting a senior living community. In addition to the elements above, you will also want to evaluate how comfortable each community is. Do the apartments have enough space? How are the meals?
At Tudor Heights, comfort and lifestyle are our top priorities, as is resident well-being. We provide beautiful apartments that can be personalized with meaningful mementos, along with great food and several different support options for assisted living and memory care.
We’re located in the Park Heights area of Baltimore, and our team members are committed to providing the best support and services available. That also means our activity calendar is always full. We love fostering a strong community and take pride in offering customized care that makes your chosen lifestyle possible. Contact us for more information or come for a visit to see what we can offer you and your family.