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What does 'ready' look like? How to know when it's time to consider senior living

Posted November 29, 2021 3:11 p.m. EST

One of the best ways to understand and learn about senior living is to schedule a visit. Visiting a few communities allows people to get a feel for exactly what they're looking for in a new home, as well as experience firsthand what life there might look like. (Will Page/Will Page Photography)

This article was written for our sponsor, Liberty Senior Living.

How do you know when you're ready to make a move into a senior living community? While it's different for everyone, there are a few common signs, like your home becoming harder to keep up with and increased difficulty in performing daily tasks.

Still, many people struggle to know exactly when they're "ready" to make the move. One of the first steps in the process is understanding what exactly a senior living community is and has to offer.

"When a lot of people say they're not ready, I think sometimes they have this preconceived notion of senior living as your typical nursing home setting — which is not true at all. Once they get in the community and get a feel for it, they realize what it's really like," said Nicol Whitaker, the sales and marketing director for The Templeton of Cary, a senior living community operated by Liberty Senior Living.

"What I hear most often from people is that they don't want to be in a building with a bunch of people who aren't as active anymore, or they don't want to stop their day-to-day life," she said. "Well, you don't have to — if anything, I think senior living frees up your time to do other fun stuff that you want to do. Now someone else deals with the maintenance and the meals, and you get to do all the socialization and fun."

One of the best ways to understand and learn about senior living is to schedule a visit. Visiting a few communities allows people to get a feel for exactly what they're looking for in a new home, as well as experience firsthand what life there might look like.

Many times, the prospective resident drives the decision to begin looking at options. Other times it might be a family member or loved one who begins the initial conversation.

In preparation, Whitaker has a few tips for broaching the topic.

"A lot of times, we see those conversations starting to happen around the holiday season. I have a lot of families that will start the conversation with 'Mom and Dad, I don't live close by, and I want to make sure you guys are okay,'" said Whitaker. "Talking about some of the benefits of moving to the community, how it can make their lives easier, helps a lot to move the conversation forward — not really pushing per se, but definitely encouraging open-mindedness. It's baby steps until you're ready to get to that next point."

At a senior living community like The Templeton of Cary, residents have the opportunity to downsize without sacrificing independence. Units at the community range from around 700 square feet to 1,600 square feet.

Amenities at the community similarly promote independent living, with a full gym and pool, fitness classes, a library, an art studio, a card room and more. Residents also have access to concierge-type services like scheduled transportation and dry cleaning.

With all of the amenities and resources, for many people the move to a senior living community becomes about more than just the convenience and safety — it's also about community.

"Socialization, especially during Covid, has been a huge reason why a lot of people have moved here. Their friends are starting to move out of their neighborhoods, younger people are now moving into their neighborhoods, and they want to be around people their own age," said Whitaker. "The nice part is that the staff in our communities understands that for new residents it can be a bit overwhelming, but are super supportive. We even have a moving coordinator and ambassador committees, so every time someone new moves in, they get partnered with a buddy for their first few weeks."

The Templeton also offers group classes, events and life enrichment opportunities that help residents mix and mingle, such as cooking lessons, downsizing seminars and even outings to Downtown Cary and surrounding areas.

For those looking to take the first steps towards moving to a senior living community, Whitaker recommends doing your research. At The Templeton, for example, people who are interested in moving in often request a brochure or browse through the community's website.

Additionally, speaking with staff at a senior living community can help clear up fears and help people realize what "ready" might look like for them.

"When someone tells me they're not ready, I normally ask them, 'Well, what does ready look like to you?' And they can usually come up with something, like how they need to go through their house or they aren't ready to sell yet," said Whitaker. "But a lot of times, it's just the fear of getting started with the process. What's great here is that we help them through that, from moving in to just enjoying their day-to-day life."

"In my experience, most people move in and one of the first things they say is, 'I wish I would have done this sooner.'"

This article was written for our sponsor, Liberty Senior Living.

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