Steps to Give Dad or Grandpa Senior Living Experience

Step 1: Discover Their Unique Needs and Preferences


Health and Mobility

  • Evaluate Current Health Status: Schedule a comprehensive health assessment with their primary care physician to understand any specific medical conditions, ongoing treatments, and mobility issues.
  • Determine Level of Care Needed: Based on the health assessment, decide if they need independent living, assisted living, or a specialized care unit such as memory care. Consider if they require help with daily activities like bathing, dressing, or medication management.
  • Consult Specialists: If they have specific health concerns (e.g., dementia, diabetes), consult relevant specialists to get a better understanding of their care needs.

Interests and Hobbies

  • Identify Interests: Have a conversation with your grandpa or dad about their favorite activities and hobbies. Do they enjoy gardening, painting, playing cards, or participating in group exercises?
  • Look for Matching Amenities: Research senior living communities that offer programs and amenities aligned with their interests. Look for places with activity calendars that include social events, fitness classes, arts and crafts, and other engaging activities.
  • Check for Special Interest Groups: Some communities have special interest groups or clubs (e.g., book clubs, gardening clubs, music groups) that might be a perfect fit.

Location Preferences

  • Proximity to Family and Friends: Determine if it is important for them to live close to family and friends. Being near loved ones can provide emotional support and make visiting easier.
  • Climate and Environment: Ask if they have a preference for a particular climate or environment. Some seniors may prefer warmer climates, while others might enjoy the change of seasons.
  • Community Environment: Consider the type of community they would feel most comfortable in. Some may prefer a bustling city environment with easy access to cultural events, while others might prefer a quieter, suburban or rural setting.

Gathering Information: Ensuring a Thoughtful Approach

Involve Them in the Process:

    • Regular Discussions: Schedule regular meetings to discuss the progress and gather their feedback.
    • Respect Their Opinions: Make sure to listen actively and show genuine interest in their preferences and concerns.
    • Tour Together: Visit potential senior living communities together, allowing them to experience the environment firsthand and provide their input.

Use Additional Tools:

    • Health Assessments: Consider using professional health assessments to better understand their physical and cognitive needs.
    • Interest Surveys: Utilize interest surveys to match their hobbies and preferences with the activities offered by the community.
    • Family Meetings: Involve other family members in discussions to gather a broader perspective and ensure everyone is on the same page.

Be Patient and Supportive:

    • Take Your Time: Understand that this decision can be overwhelming for them. Give them time to process and make their choices.
    • Provide Emotional Support: Offer reassurance and support throughout the process, addressing any fears or anxieties they might have.

Step 2: Researching Senior Living Options

When looking for the right senior living community for your loved one, it’s essential to conduct thorough research and follow a structured process. Here are several practical tips to help you make an informed decision.

Understand the Types of Senior Living Communities

Independent Living:

    • Description: Ideal for seniors who are self-sufficient but prefer a community setting for social activities and minimal assistance.
    • Services: Typically includes housekeeping, meals, transportation, and social events.

Assisted Living:

    • Description: Best for seniors who require some help with daily activities such as bathing, dressing, and medication management.
    • Services: Provides personal care services, meals, housekeeping, and social activities.

Memory Care:

    • Description: Designed specifically for seniors with Alzheimer’s or other forms of dementia who need specialized care.
    • Services: Offers secure environments, specialized staff, and programs tailored to the needs of those with memory issues.

Evaluate Reputation and Reviews

Online Reviews:

    • What to Look For: Search for reviews on websites such as Yelp, Google, and senior living-specific sites like A Place for Mom or
    • Key Points: Pay attention to comments about the quality of care, cleanliness, staff behavior, and overall resident satisfaction.


    • Sources: Check ratings from reputable sources like Medicare’s Nursing Home Compare or state health department websites.
    • What They Mean: Higher ratings generally indicate better compliance with health and safety standards.

Visit Potential Communities

Schedule Tours:

    • Why: Personal visits provide a firsthand look at the community’s environment, amenities, and staff interactions.
    • How: Contact the communities directly to arrange visits.

During the Visit:

    • Observe: Look at the cleanliness, safety measures, and how staff interacts with residents.
    • Ask Questions: Inquire about staff-to-resident ratios, emergency procedures, the availability of medical care, and the types of activities offered.
    • Engage: Talk to current residents and their families to get their perspectives on the community.


  • Environment: Is the community clean, well-maintained, and inviting?
  • Staff: Are staff members friendly, respectful, and attentive?
  • Residents: Do the residents appear happy, engaged, and well-cared-for?
  • Activities: Are there a variety of activities that cater to different interests and abilities?
  • Dining: Is the food nutritious, appetizing, and suited to residents’ dietary needs?

Step 3: Budget and Financial Planning

Understand Costs and Fees:

  • Monthly Fees: Research the monthly fees associated with each senior living option. These fees typically cover rent, utilities, meals, housekeeping, and basic activities.
  • Additional Charges: Be aware of any extra costs for specialized care, medical services, or exclusive amenities. These can include medication management, physical therapy, or enhanced security features.

Explore Financial Assistance Options:

  • Long-Term Care Insurance: Investigate if long-term care insurance can help cover some of the costs. This type of insurance can provide significant financial support.
  • Veterans’ Benefits: Check eligibility for veterans’ benefits, which can offer substantial assistance for senior living expenses.
  • Government Programs: Look into government programs such as Medicaid, which may cover specific aspects of senior care for those who qualify.

For example, in our communities, we offer comprehensive financial assistance options to ease the financial burden on families. Our financial resources include:

  • Aid and Attendance Benefits for Veterans: This benefit can provide monthly payments to cover the costs of assisted living.
  • Elderlife Financial Services: Offering bridge loans to assist with the transition to senior living.
  • Long-Term Care Insurance: Guidance on leveraging your long-term care insurance to cover senior living expenses.
  • Life Insurance Conversion: Assistance in converting life insurance policies into a means to pay for care.
  • Sell or Rent Your Home Program: Help in managing the financial aspects of selling or renting your home to finance senior living.

You can find more detailed information on our financial resources page here.


Plan Ahead:

  • Financial Forecasting: Consider future financial needs and plan accordingly. This includes estimating potential increases in care costs and planning for long-term sustainability.
  • Savings and Investments: Review savings, investments, and any other assets that can contribute to funding senior living expenses. It’s crucial to have a clear understanding of available financial resources.
Steps to Give Dad or Grandpa Senior Living Experience

Step 4: Smoothly Plan the Transition

Prepare Their Home: Streamline and Simplify

Downsize Smartly: Start by sorting through belongings together. Decide what to keep, donate, or discard. Use the “three piles” method—keep, donate, and discard—to make decisions easier.

    • Tip: Focus on items that bring joy and utility. Encourage them to let go of duplicates and unused items.

Essentials Only: Make a list of essentials to take to the new community. Prioritize comfort and familiarity, like favorite furniture, photos, and personal mementos.

    • Tip: Create a “transition box” with essential items needed for the first few days, like toiletries, clothes, and medications.

Professional Help: If needed, hire professional movers to handle the heavy lifting. Consider companies that specialize in senior moves.

    • Tip: Look for movers who offer packing and unpacking services to make the move less stressful.

Medical and Personal Records: Ensure a Seamless Transfer

Gather Documents: Collect all medical records, including prescriptions, medical histories, and insurance information. Don’t forget important personal documents like IDs and legal papers.

    • Tip: Use a binder or digital folder to keep everything organized and easily accessible.

Communicate with Healthcare Providers: Inform current healthcare providers about the move and get recommendations for new providers in the area.

    • Tip: Schedule introductory appointments with new healthcare providers soon after the move to ensure continuity of care.

Update Information: Ensure the new facility has all necessary information to provide proper care.

    • Tip: Double-check that all medication details are correct and up-to-date with the new care team.

Emotional Support: Be There Every Step of the Way

Frequent Visits: Visit often during the initial transition period. Familiar faces can provide comfort and reduce feelings of isolation.

    • Tip: Arrange visits from different family members and friends to ensure they have constant support.

Encourage Participation: Help them get involved in community activities and social events. Introduce them to neighbors and staff.

    • Tip: Attend a few events with them initially to ease the transition and make introductions.

Listen and Reassure: Be patient and listen to their concerns. Reassure them that it’s normal to feel uncertain and that they have your full support.

    • Tip: Share positive aspects of the new community and highlight the benefits they will enjoy.

Please note that Legacy Ridge at Marietta and its parent company, Atlas Senior Living, use cookies as outlined in Atlas Senior Living’s Privacy Policy, where you can individually opt out of this practice. By continuing to browse Legacy Ridge at Marietta’s website, you agree to its use of cookies.

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