As the Director of Sales of a senior community here in the Charleston area, I have seen many families struggle with the important and life-changing decision concerning what type of community will best suit the desires and needs of their loved one. There are many aspects to take into consideration when choosing a community including cost, location, size of the apartment, safety, cleanliness, amenities and services. This decision is never taken lightly, and would probably be a little easier if it could be made based on only these factors listed above. But there is more to consider. What about the critical components that determine the quality of life in a senior community that are not as discernible? How can you choose the senior community in Charleston that fits you best?
It would be a mistake to assume that most communities are pretty much the same when it comes to mission, daily life experiences and the quality of relationships with people who live and work there. Nothing could be further from the truth.
“What mission is the senior community attempting to serve?”
With so many choices, how do you determine which community is right for you? While some are very clear about what, how and why they do what they do, others are not. A strong sense of community is essential to rewarding life experiences; and establishes trust among one another. After all, you are putting your trust in us to assume many responsibilities regarding a family member or friend that you love! It is my personal belief that the desire to work in this field of providing a safe, healthy and stimulating environment to our senior population stems from the desire to serve. This belief holds us responsible for the way we treat both residents and staff day in and day out. It is the core of our foundation and success; and our residents readily identify with these traits.
“What will my father’s life be like as a resident?”
There is more to “community” than a calendar of events filled with interesting social, physical and spiritual activities. Partnerships must be built with the local Fire & Safety Departments, Medical and Health organizations, Arts & Recreation Services, local businesses, churches and schools. Each plays a major role in making a senior community a safe and vibrant place to live. At my community on Daniel Island, we have been blessed by the way the neighborhood has embraced our residents and staff, providing us with the kind of energy and support vital to establishing and maintaining the strong sense of community we enjoy.
“What is the staff like? How are they trained?”
A critical component to the quality of daily life in a senior community is most definitely found in the staff. Employees that are well-informed, kind, and happy readily convey warmth and comfort to residents, which is especially reassuring during times of stress. Communities that surpass the standard when it comes to educating employees typically provide strong leadership training and direction for their staff and make readily available to their people the kinds of resources requisite to providing the highest quality of care.
Top communities believe people are their greatest asset and constantly recognize the value each staff person brings to the important job they do. As a result, these kinds of communities enjoy the benefits of having long-term, loyal, and committed staff. Length of service is a terrific indicator of a community’s commitment to train and support its employees.
“There’s no place like home.”
While no senior community can completely take the place of family and friends, it can provide the kindness, love, support and encouragement that all people need and desire. Once you have determined which senior community in Charleston will best serve your family’s needs, be sure to stay involved in the life of your loved one. Visit often! Enjoy a meal and a movie together, attend birthday parties, cookouts, shopping trips, and community functions. Just remember, while your mom may have a new mailing address and an exhilarating new chapter in her life, the things she desires and needs from you will remain the same.