The number of people aged 65 to 74 in Asheville, North Carolina, is expected to increase 21 percent over a five-year period ending in 2020, and the number of people older than 75 is expected to increase 15 percent, according to a report commissioned by Asheville city leaders.

So what do all those seniors know about Asheville? Aside from the temperate climate and abundance of senior services, its unique attractions, such as the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute at the University of North Carolina-Asheville, Asheville Symphony Orchestra, and Diana Wortham Theatre, have made personal enrichment a major part of growing older in Asheville.

Before you or a loved one join in the fun, however, you need to assess senior living options in Asheville. The best ones have the flexibility to match your care needs, the affordability to match your budget, and an environment that matches your goals and expectations.

Defining Your Needs

You have multiple senior living options to choose from: assisted living, memory care, and independent senior living. The difference between assisted living and independent living lies in how much ongoing help residents receive with activities of daily living (ADLs).

To determine your needs, think about an average day. Walk through each activity that you or your loved one perform (e.g., getting out of bed, showering, and dressing). Take note of each one that you or your loved one need help with. Generally, assisted living benefits those who need assistance with two or more ADLs throughout the course of the day.

Meanwhile, memory care provides 24-hour supervision, care, and programming for individuals who suffer from Alzheimer's and other forms of dementia. Many assisted living communities offer memory care within a secure floor or wing. Arbor Terrace of Asheville, for example, offers both assisted living and memory care.

Honing Your Options

After establishing the basic care needs of you or your loved one, it’s time to narrow down options for senior living in Asheville based on price, personal preferences, and programs. Finding a senior living option that offers flexibility ensures it matches not only future residents’ care needs, but also their budgets. Here are a few points to consider:

  • Multiple room layouts ensure senior living residents have the level of privacy they desire as well as more price flexibility.
  • Customizable or tiered care plans help residents maintain their independence while meeting their changing care needs in the most affordable way possible.
  • Personalized activities and events calendars such as Arbor Terrace of Asheville’s Engaged Lifestyle Program ensure residents can pursue activities and events they’re interested in.
  • Assisted living communities that offer memory care ensure specialized care and supervision are available to residents if the need arises down the road, thereby helping to avoid a disruptive move.

It’s important to remember that the more flexibility and personalization a senior living community offers, the more likely it will be able to meet you or your loved one’s care needs.

Visits and Tours

Anybody who has experience with senior living will tell you that it’s the people—staff and residents—that make communities truly special. After identifying your specific needs and narrowing down your options, it’s time to get out there and visit the communities on your list of finalists.

Touring senior living communities can be overwhelming however. Because you have so much to take in and so many people to meet, you or your loved one might leave with your heads spinning. Here are a few key points to consider as you visit senior living options in Asheville:

  • Staff: Are staff members taking an interest in getting to know you or your loved one? Are they asking questions about your past, personal preferences, and other experiences? Doing so demonstrates they honor individuality and personalized care.
  • Meals: Having a meal and talking to the dining director will give you a sense of the nutritional support, food options, and overall dining experience.
  • Programs: Browse events calendars to ensure a wide range of activities is offered; sit in on one and have some fun too.
  • Grounds: Well-kept grounds, cleanliness, and beautiful amenities signal a strong sense of community pride and a sense of home among the residents and staff.

Focusing on the people, both staff and residents, during tours of senior living options in Asheville will tell you a lot. Staff members who have been with the community for a long time and engaged residents are both great signs.

The Wrap-Up

Asheville has become a hotspot for seniors in recent years. Finding the best senior living option mainly depends on personal care needs and personal preferences. Identifying care needs and priorities is a great place to begin your search. From there, narrowing down communities based on price, personal preferences, and programs will make the search more manageable. Finally, visiting senior living communities will give you a sense of the people who make them special. Also, it’s important to remember that senior living communities have senior care coordinators  on hand to answer questions, identify resources, and help sort out financial matters. Learn more by contacting Arbor Terrace of Asheville.

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