Diving in to Senior Housing Amenities
◉ In this article we discuss the different amenities that may be included when living at a retirement community including the resident's board, meals, mail, and social workers.
Retirement Community Resident's Board
There are many clubs and units you can join at a retirement community but one of interest is the Resident's Board. Here you can join a group of active residents who communicate with the community leadership on multiple levels. Board members are often invited to presentations by leaders and receive reports on finances and future plans. If you want to take on more of a leadership position at your retirement community see if a position is available on a resident's board.
The Campus Guest House
Some retirement communities have a guest house on campus. This is a home that residents can reserve and rent for family to stay in when they come for a visit. It is a popular feature on campuses that have a guest house and is quickly reserved during holidays and popular times. Remember your access to the guest home when you first move to campus. Your unit may need another few days to be ready for you, and if so, see if you can stay in the guest house instead of a local hotel. Finally, if you are on the fence about a retirement community, ask if you can stay a night in the guest house before you sign on the dotted line.
How Meals Are Served at a Retirement Community
Different communities have different ways in which they feed you at meal time. Some common methods are cafeteria style, where you go through a line and pick up items you would like to eat, and waiter style, where a wait staff member comes to your table and takes your order. At FindContinuingCare.com we post menus for many senior communities so you can get an idea of what foods they tend to serve. Many communities also have a snack bar where you can pick up some food items in between meals. If you don't feel like making the trip to the eating area, ask if your community will deliver a meal to your independent living home for a fee, as some do this.
Common Food Items On Retirement Community Menus
At FindContinuingCare.com we are very data-focused, indeed our parent company is the Data Focused Marketing Group. We have in our database a large selection of community sample menus. Writing a bit of custom software allows us to find out what the most frequently served meals are at retirement communities in general. And the answer is "chicken" and "salad". These two words come up most often in a frequency based analysis of the menus in our database.
Where To Find Your Postal Mail at Your Retirement Community
Different retirement communities allow you to get your postal mail via different means. If you have a stand alone house or duplex for independent living you might get your mail at a street postal box just for you. If you living in an apartment style independent living home there probably is a set of mail slots for you downstairs that you access with a key. We know of one community that has all the mail come to the central activity building even for stand alone homes and this area is right next to the dining area. Their theory was to strongly help everyone come to the common building both for mail and for meals so people can meet and mingle.
No Tipping Policy at Some Retirement Communities
Many retirement communities have a no tipping policy. This helps promote the concept of staff members giving equal service to all residents. The policy may be difficult for you to adhere to when your community bus driver drops you off and picks you up from your local doctor's appointment or shopping trip. The policy is pretty strict as I can attest to. I once offered a staff member a tip with the phrase "I know you don't accept tips from residents, but I am a family member and I don't live here so please take my tip." The staff member still kindly refused.
Retirement communities do usually maintain a so called "Holiday Fund" where you can make a donation for staff at large. The fund is used as a bonus pool or for staff special needs so that if you do feel like giving a bit more, particularly at holiday time, you are able to do so.
The Campus Social Worker
Many retirement communities have social workers that can help integrate you with what is available both on and off campus. These trained people can help you if you need something but are not sure where to turn to. As you move from independent to assisted to nursing, they may be involved in the process to help you transition and to discuss with your family should they be involved as well.
Retirement communities have different amenities that are available to their residents. Many communities have a guest home available for rent so their residents can invite visitors to stay on campus with them. A social worker may be available for you to help you transition through the different levels of care on campus. We hope this article provided some helpful information about what may be included at your retirement community of choice.